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Past Oscar Controversies History

Controversy and the Oscars seem to go hand in hand almost every year. Maybe it’s inevitable that such a high profile event as the Academy Awards will attract some controversy.

Let’s take a look back through the history of the Academy Awards, and some of the controversial moments which, amazingly enough, have become memorable moments of Oscar past.

Throughout Oscar history, presenters and even Oscar winners have chosen to use the occasion of the Academy Awards to make some political comments, such as Richard Gere making comments about China’s human rights violations one year, or Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon imploring the United States government to allow a group of HIV positive Haitians to enter the country. But some have stood out as major controversies.

In 1977, when Vanessa Redgrave won her Supporting Actress Oscar for Julia, she used her speech to comment about a bunch of “Zionist hoodlums,” raising scattered boos and applause from the audience.

A short time later, on that same telecast, Paddy Chayefsky came out to present the writing awards, and delivered a speech of his own, saying that he was sick and tired of people exploiting the occasion of the Academy Awards, “for the propagation of their own personal political propaganda. I would like to suggest to Miss Redgrave that her winning an Academy Award is not a pivotal moment in history, does not require a proclamation, and a mere thank you would have sufficed.”

That moment still remains one of Oscar’s most controversial moments.

One year in the mid ’70s, Frank Sinatra responded publicly on an Oscar telecast, rebuking Dustin Hoffman for his criticism of the Academy, saying “and contrary to what Dustin Hoffman thinks, it is not a disgusting evening, it is not garish, and it is not disrespectful.”

Controversy even sometimes erupted by individuals who didn’t want to accept their Oscars. George C. Scott made it known how little he respected the Oscar, saying he would be home watching a hockey game that night, and sure enough, his name was called as the Best Actor of 1970.

The most well known example of an actor refusing his Oscar was Marlon Brando, who was named Best Actor of 1972 for The Godfather. Brando wasn’t at the Oscars either, but instead he sent Sacheen Littlefeather, an actress pretending to be Apache. She delivered the reason why Brando wouldn’t accept his Oscar, due to the poor treatment of American Indians by the film industry, at which point various boos could be heard from the audience.

Recently, controversy erupted before the Oscars, when it was announced that Elia Kazan would be receiving the Academy’s honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement, because some people never forgave him for naming names to the House on Unamerican Activities Committee in the ’50s. Some people whose careers were forever ruined because of it.

Of course controversy has even come from unexpected events, such as:

* The streaker who ran across the stage in 1974, which was as much a sign of the times as anything.
* In 1988, the Academy itself got in hot water with Disney because of the use of Snow White in a very cheesy opening production number, which also co-starred none other than Rob Lowe.
* A Best Documentary winner told the Oscar audience to ban General Electric.
* Barbra Streisand made light of the Academy’s choice to honor women through its theme one year.
* Eddie Murphy commented one year that at first he didn’t want to present Best Picture because of the lack of black actors winning Oscars.

But after a few years have passed, these Oscar moments join the other memories of Academy Awards gone by, and we can’t imagine the awards without those moments.

From now on, controversy and Oscar will continue to hang out together, and hopefully one day they too will become part of Oscar’s colorful past.

In other Oscar news:

The Academy officially announced this week that the 72nd Annual Academy Awards telecast will return to the Shrine Auditorium one last time before holding the Oscars in its own theatre. The date for the telecast has also been announced, Sunday, March 26, 2000. The Academy is again planning on a pre-Oscar arrivals show, much like it did for the first time this year.


January 28, 2009 Posted by | hollywood Controversies | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dog Killing – The Alaska Iditarod Race Controversy

The Alaska Iditarod race held each year in March sparks controversy over the treatment of the dogs. It is a popular event that is intended to commemorate Alaska’s culture and heritage of Alaskan Huskies pulling sleds through mountainous and rough terrain. Mushing was a means of travel in Alaska in the early years with a team of sled dogs pulling a sled with a driver on board.

The route taken for the race is based on the year it is run. Even numbered years, the routes goes from Anchorage to Ruby. This is the northern route. In uneven numbered years, the route is run from Anchorage to Unalakleet, the southern route. The distance of the race is around 1,200 miles and is the longest dog sled race in the world.

The first Iditarod was held in 1973 and reportedly 15 to 19 dogs died during this race. It is estimated that approximately 130 dogs have died since the early days of the race, when there was no official count taken of the number of deaths. Thus, the exact amount of dog deaths during the early years is not exactly known.

The last ten years have shown deaths resulting from strangulation in towlines, internal hemorrhaging, liver injury, heart failure and pneumonia. Also, included as a reason for some deaths is a deterioration of the dog’s muscles and organs during extreme exercise. There have been incidences of racers kicking their dogs to death, striking them with sharp objects and mushing the dogs through dangerous deep water and ice.

During the race, dogs sustain injuries to the spine, bone fractures, sore paws, torn muscles, sore joints, dehydration and diarrhea. About half the dogs who start the race are not able to make it to the finish line.

In training the dogs for the race, it is reported some dogs are injured or die from the grueling paces they are put through. The training is done in remote areas of Alaska and many dogs are forced to pull extremely heavy loads. The strain of pulling these loads can cause hip and spine injuries.

The mushers are also criticized for culling the dogs. They are accused of killing any puppies or dogs that do not meet the standard of a good race dog.

Along the race trail, there are around twenty checkpoints with a veterinarian on duty to provide medical care for the dogs. These checkpoints serve as rest areas for both the dogs and the musher. The dogs are fed and allowed to rest at these checkpoints and any dog that is sick or injured is left off at the checkpoint.

The veterinarians who care for the dogs at the checkpoints defend the treatment of the animals, saying many untruths are told about the dogs running themselves to death. They claim the number of dog deaths is normal when you consider you are talking about 1,000 dogs, so three to five deaths out of 1,000 dogs is not an alarming figure. Kennels that house 1,000 dogs can expect around 3 deaths in a two week period.

Almost all mushers are members of several animal care groups that promote responsible care and humane treatment of the dogs. They say the stories of dogs and whips could not be further from the truth. They are out and out exaggerations and cause protest from animal rights activists.

Mushers love their dogs and contend that the Alaskan Huskies’ instinct is to run and pull sleds. This is what they were bred for, the same as bird dogs who instinctively hunt birds. The Huskies have been used for generations in Alaska to pull sleds, so it is easy for them, whereas it would be very difficult for some other breed of dog. Pulling a one ton sled from a dead stop is what one Husky is capable of doing. Endurance is the Husky’s strong point.

January 16, 2009 Posted by | Animal Controversies | , , , , | 2 Comments

The Patrick Dennehy Murder Controversy

The story started when Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy was reported missing in June 2003. A month later, after teammate Carlton Dotson was charged for murder, Dennehy’s dead body was found in chest-high weeds. The police had been tipped off after Dotson told a cousin of his that he shot and killed Dennehy during an argument.

But the black eye didn’t end there for Baylor University’s basketball program, as Dennehy’s girlfriend reported violations to the NCAA. Investigations revealed that head coach Dave Bliss had been improperly paying for Dennehy’s tuition, had not reported players’ failed drug tests, and had told players and coaches to lie to authorities by claiming that Dennehy had been dealing drugs. The school is now under probation until 2010.

What makes it stranger: In October 2004, Dotson was deemed to be psychologically incompetent and was sent to a mental hospital where he was evaluated. He was returned to jail after doctors doubted his accounts of hallucinations, and a week before his trial was to begin, with no plea bargain in hand, Dotson pleaded guilty in the death of Patrick Dennehy. He is currently serving a 35-year jail sentence.

January 10, 2009 Posted by | basketball Controversy, Sports Controversy | , , , | Leave a comment