The 12 Most Awkward Oscars Moments…Ever

The acceptance speeches that can’t be heard through tears. The jokes that really miss the mark. And, of course, John Travolta’s “Adele Dazeem” fiasco. Yes, even the Oscars has its fair share of cringeworthy moments. From Marlon Brando refusing his award to Angelina Jolie pledging passion for her brother, here are 12 awkward Oscar moments that made us look away in discomfort (or laugh so hard that wine came out of our nose).

1. When Marlon Brando Said ‘thanks, But No Thanks' (1973)

Brando sent Sacheen Littlefeather, a Native American activist, to deny his award in an act of protest against the treatment of American Indians in the film industry. The real awkward part was the audience’s rude reaction.

2. When Elizabeth Taylor Was Upstaged By A Streaker (1974)

Host David Niven invited Taylor to the stage and a naked man ran out instead. Oh, the ’70s.

3. When Angelina Jolie Redefined Brotherly Love (2000)

Very, Girl Interrupted.

4. When Adrien Brody Slobbered On Halle Berry (2003)

That’s one way to celebrate. Maybe ask next time.

5. When Jennifer Lawrence Didn’t Stand A Chance Against The Stairs (2013)

Stairs: One. J-Law: Zero.

6. When John Travolta Really Went For It & Failed (2014)

“Adele Dazeem.” We just can’t let it go.

7. When Travolta Descended On Scarlett Johansson (2015)

*Collective cringe*

8. When Dame Helen Mirren Had Her Game Show Moment (2018)

Put The Price Is Right models to shame? Check.

9. When All Hell Broke Loose Over The ‘la La Land’ And ‘moonlight’ Mixup (2017)

This is why we can’t have nice things, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

10. When Spike Lee Was Dubious About Awkwafina’s Friendship (2019)

The Crazy Rich Asians star was itching to meet the famed director, but they didn’t really vibe.

11. When Glenn Close Gave Billy Porter The Look To End All Looks (2019)

What’s happening here, Glenn…?

12. And Finally, When Billie Eilish Showed How She *really* Feels (2020)

When Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph broke into song, Billie Eilish made a priceless face right as the camera panned to her. (#Classic)

Tune in for more Academy Awards mishaps and milestones on Sunday, April 25, at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Greta Heggeness

Senior Editor

Greta Heggeness is a California-based editor at PureWow and has been writing about entertainment since 2015. She covers everything from awards shows to exclusive celebrity...
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