With the Oscars over for another year it seems the right time to reflect on what a murky world it is. The Academy’s voting membership is a secret, and you have to be invited to join. So who votes? Apparently, actors make up the largest voting bloc. But essentially, no one really knows. Our guess is it’s a bunch of good-looking rich people patting other good-looking rich people on the back for being good-looking and rich. And with that, we present the Tods…
Most Ridiculous Acceptance Speech
Winner: After winning Best Actor for the title role in the imaginatively named Ray Charles biopic, Ray, Jamie Foxx said: ‘Thank you Ray Charles for living.’ Yes, thank you for being born Ray Charles. Not because you helped shape the sound that is rhythm and blues, but because you helped some ‘bling’ Hollywood actor feel all special because he won a statue.
Most Impressive Criminal Act
Winner: A random bloke stole an Oscar in front of the entire ceremony’s eyes in 1938. Alice Brady won Best Supporting Actress for In Old Chicago, but was too ill to attend. So, when her name was announced, a chancer took to the stage and accepted the award on her behalf. Brady had no idea who he was and the statue was never recovered. Brady then died before they could give her a replacement. Damn, now we feel bad.
Runner Up: At the 1974 ceremony, presenter David Niven had cause to lose his smooth gentlemanly poise when a moustache-ioed male ran naked across the stage.
Winner: Imagine this: Disney wanted to sue the Oscars. At the 61st ceremony in 1989, a rubbish opening musical number starring Rob Lowe and a woman dressed as Snow White was so badly received that a group of high-profile stars (including, believe it or not, Julie Andrews) wrote a public letter slamming the performance. Disney, miffed that one of their characters had been used without permission for a much-derided purpose, promptly threatened a lawsuit. Mickey was not amused.
Best Anti-Establishment Behaviour
Winner: Marlon Brando boycotted the ceremony in 1973, which was unfortunate since he was named Best Actor for The Godfather. Brando sent two native Americans to relay the message that he refused the award owing to the ‘treatment of American Indians by the film industry’. Odd.
Runner Up: South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker turned up to the 2000 ceremony’s red carpet in drag.
Most Random Host Line-up
Winner: Goldie Hawn, the alliterative Chevy Chase and Paul ‘Crocodile Dundee’ Hogan co-hosted in 1987. No, we can’t picture it either.
Winner: The Academy’s decision in 1994 takes the biscuit. In a year where iconic films Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption were up for Best Picture, they lost out to… Forrest Gump. Once more – Forrest Gump. Look, Forrest Gump has its charms, but Pulp Fiction or The Shawshank Redemption it ain’t.
Daftest Award Category
Winner: Strangely the ‘Best Title Writing’ award only lasted from 1927 to 1928. We all admire the title writing at the start of a film, don’t we?
Runner Up: The proposal of a ‘Best Casting’ award was rejected in 1999. What a shame the visionary who cast Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist in Bond film The World Is Not Enough has been denied their due. Not forgetting whoever cast John Wayne as Ghengis Khan in The Conquerer, of course.
Winner: It’s difficult to have confidence in the Academy when it makes an error like this. In 1944, Barry Fitzgerald was up for the Best Actor and the Best Supporting Actor accolade for the same role in Going My Way. Make up your mind people. Was he an actor or a supporting actor? Can you be both in the same film? Eddie Murphy’s multiple-role playing aside, apparently not, as the following year a rule appeared that said one performance could not receive more than one nomination. He won Best Supporting Actor, by the way. Bittersweet, eh Barry?
Weirdest Best Picture Nomination
Winner: Disney’s Beauty And The Beast got the nod in 1991. Never before had a film featuring a singing tea pot been so critically acclaimed. Thankfully, sanity prevailed and thriller The Silence Of The Lambs grabbed the gong.
Film Within A Film Award
Winner: Cate Blanchett won Best Supporting Actress for The Aviator in 2004. In Martin Scorsese’s biopic of Howard Hughes she played Katharine Hepburn, who won the Best Actress Oscar four times. So Cate Blanchett is an Oscar-winning actress who won the award for playing an Oscar-winning actress. Brain. Has. Melted.