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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

Madonna Declared the Undefeated Controversy Queen

Over the years and decades Madonna’s career continues to blossom. It has become evident, too that her name has become synonymous with controversy. The very first controversy that hit her was when she sang Like a Virgin with much gusto. Back then, the word virgin is somewhat taboo and to sing it over the radio and on TV is quite despicable.

During the very first MTV awards, she sang this same song while wearing a white wedding gown. She sang clothed as a bride while writhing on the floor. There was also this Boy Toy belt that she used to wear which made fans and critics take notice.

This was not the actual mother of all controversies as she also appeared nude on Penthouse and Playboy magazines. Madonna Nude 1979 features most of her nude shots and she flaunts these without any remorse.

Another of her albums, Like a Prayer, garnered raves from the public as she sang on her music video wearing a mere slip while she danced in front of a cross that was set on flames. While she did the dancing, she also kissed an African American saint as she continued to sing the lyrics.

This caused the Pepsi company to withdraw their sponsorship of her tour and also her commercial with them. Many religious groups detested her act yet Madonna did not make any apologies. Instead, she realized that controversies spawn Madonna ticket sales so she continued with her acts instead.

Fortunately, her fans loved her for her weird acts and they supported her equally-shocking techniques on her Blonde Ambition Tour way back in 1990 (this tour featured men wearing women’s bras and this was also when Madonna wore bullet-like bras); her 1991 MTV controversy resulted to her being banned from the said show but nevertheless, she was able to sell millions of her Justify my Love album); the Truth or Dare scandal (where Madonna’s sexual acts were displayed and discussed in details); and even her X-rated book. 1992 was also the year that her album Erotica proved to be successful.

Evita, her 1995 film also caused much opposition from the people of Argentina. They clearly did not want Madonna to play the famous first lady’s role yet Madonna, again, came out victorious as she even won a Golden Globe award for her performance. Evita wasn’t the last controversy for her as she soon offended Hindi people who noticed sacred body drawings on her Ray of Light music video (it would have been okay were it not for her visible breasts on the video).

Motherhood and a serious career in acting made her a bit subdued yet this will not change the colorful and playful past of the actress.

October 1, 2008 Posted by | Historic Controversies, hollywood Controversies | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment