Wednesday, April 3, 2002
The Windbag Award: To Greer Garson. According to Oscar legend, she spent 90 rambling minutes at the podium after winning Best Actress in 1942 for Mrs. Miniver. But cooler heads say it was closer to seven minutes. Predictably, she began her speech by saying, "I'm practically unprepared." Source: The Wolf Files
The Fairy Tale Disaster Award: To Rob Lowe. In perhaps the most embarrassing Oscar opening, the 1988 organizers scripted a song-and-dance routine between Snow White and Lowe, who was introduced as her "blind date." Disney was so distressed that it sued.
The Brevity Is the Soul of Wit Award: To Alfred Hitchcock and Joe Pesci. After winning the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award in 1967 in recognition of his illustrious career, Hitchcock muttered "Thank you," and walked offstage. Twenty-three years later, after winning Best Supporting Actor for his work in Goodfellas, Joe Pesci did the same exact thing.
The Oscar D'Amore Award: To Cuba Gooding Jr., who exclaimed "I love you" 14 times — thanking everyone from God to Tom Cruise — after winning Best Supporting Actor for Jerry Maguire in 1996. Even after the orchestra interrupted him, he continued: "Everybody who was involved in this, I love you! I love you! I love you!"
The Nature Calls Award: To Meryl Streep, who left her just-claimed Oscar for Kramer vs. Kramer on the back of a toilet during the 1979 festivities.
The Au Naturel Award: To actor David Niven. In 1974, a streaker ran behind him as he was announcing the Best Picture award. The nudist flashed a peace sign — not to mention the Full Monty — to a shocked audience. Without missing a beat, Niven said the man would always be remembered "for his shortcomings."
The Silent Oscar Award: To Hal Roach, who received a special honor in 1991 for bringing Laurel & Hardy and many other classics to the big screen. Billy Crystal introduced him, and the audience gave him a booming ovation. But when everyone sat down, Roach, a centenarian, began speaking without a mike. The audience and TV viewers just stared for several moments, unable to hear him. Crystal quipped, "I think that's fitting since Mr. Roach started in silent film." It was Roach's last public appearance. He died six months later.
The Oscar Mayer Weiner Award: To Jack Palance, for dropping to the stage floor and doing one-armed pushups to celebrate his Best Supporting Actor award for City Slickers.
The Where Am I Now? Award: To Alice Brady, who won a Best Supporting Actress award for In Old Chicago in 1937. Brady wasn't present, but a man walked up and accepted the award on her behalf. After the show, neither he nor the Oscar was ever seen again.
The Get This Over With Award: To Sir Laurence Olivier. In 1985, the 78-year-old Shakespearean forgot to name the Best Picture nominees. He simply opened the envelope and proclaimed, "Amadeus!"