Prepare to Gasp Over the Biggest Oscars Shockers Ever

As evidenced by Oscars history, pretty much anything can—and has—happened on Hollywood's biggest night. Revisit the most unforgettable moments at the Academy Awards with E! News.

By Samantha Schnurr Apr 25, 2021 10:00 AMTags
Watch: 2020 Oscars: By the Numbers

On Hollywood's biggest night, anything can happen—and it feels like nearly everything has. 

With the 2021 Oscars set to unfold in Los Angeles on Sunday—marking the 93rd time in Tinseltown history—there are, of course, a few things we can expect to take place. Some of Hollywood's brightest, beloved stars will arrive donning designs that will be remembered for years to come. They will pose on the red carpet, perhaps participate in some socially distanced interviews and then head into the ceremony, which is taking place this year from Union Station in Los Angeles and the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. During the show, they may present or win a coveted golden statue. Beyond all that, your guess is as good as our's. 

As evidenced by the decades of Academy Awards to come before this Sunday's big night, pop culture enthusiasts know some Oscar moments are simply and inevitably unpredictable. In the course of the ceremony's eventful history, there have been name flubs and falls, surprise smooches, a streaker and swan dress, double the wins and even the wrong winner called. 

2020 Oscars: First-Time Nominees

There was the time Marlon Brando boycotted, when Kevin Hart stepped down as host and when Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's on-stage chemistry got the rumor mill churning

But, if you can't remember all the details, not to fret! To jog your memory of the biggest shockers in Oscars history, E! News has a cheat sheet for you! All you have to do is just keep scrolling. 

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's Chemistry Sets the Oscars on Fire

The stars of A Star Is Born unforgettably took the stage to perform the Oscar-nominated (and ultimately winning) "Shallow," though it was their chemistry that had people speculating for days after. "Yes, people saw love and—guess what—that's what we wanted you to see," Lady Gaga told Jimmy Kimmel, setting the record straight once and for all. "I guess we did a good job and fooled ya!"

Kevin Hart Backs Out of Hosting

To host or not to host: That is the question. On Dec. 4, Kevin Hart announced on Twitter that he would be hosting the 2019 show. He called it the "opportunity of a lifetime" and that he was "blown away" by the honors. Two days later, he stepped down as the host after facing backlash over resurfaced tweets from 2011. "I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscars....this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists," he tweeted in December 2018. "I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past." Despite pleas from Ellen DeGeneres, Hart said on Jan. 4 that his mind was made and the decision was "done."

La La Land Is Accidentally Named Best Picture in Epic Flub

After La La Land was pronounced the Best Picture winner at the 2017 Oscars, producer Jordan Horowitz revealed that Moonlight was the actual winner—making the incident one of the most memorable in Oscar history.

John Travolta Mispronounces Idina Menzel's Name

John Travolta suffered a bit of a malapropism while introducing Frozen's Idina Menzel to the stage at the 2014 Oscars. Instead of saying her actual name, he called her Adele Dazeem. Oops? The duo reunited a year later and she reciprocated the honors by naming him Glom Gazingo.

Jennifer Lawrence Falls After Winning Best Actress

While taking the stage to accept the award for Best Actress at the 2013 Oscars, the Silver Linings Playbook star stumbled and fell to the ground.

Crash Wins Best Picture Over Brokeback Mountain

With eight nominations, Brokeback Mountain was expected to take home the big prize at the 2006 Academy Awards. So, viewers were surprised when Paul Haggis took the stage to accept the Best Picture Oscar for Crash. Even Haggis later said the drama didn't deserve Best Picture.

Adrien Brody Shockingly Kisses Halle Berry

After he won the Oscar for Best Actor at the 2003 Annual Academy Awards, Brody was so overcome with emotion that he planted a giant kiss on presenter Berry.

Björk Wears Swan Dress on the Red Carpet

Björk's 2001 dress is one of the most memorable in Oscars history. The Icelandic singer-songwriter wore a dress that looked like a swan by Marjan Pejoski.

Angelina Jolie Kisses Her Brother

Angelina Jolie planted a giant peck on her brother James Haven's lips at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in 2000. The actress won the Best Supporting Actress award for Girl, Interrupted earlier in the night and said she was "so in love" with her brother during her acceptance speech. Saturday Night Live even joked about the moment on its show.

Shakespeare in Love Wins Over Saving Private Ryan

Shakespeare in Love entered the 1999 Academy Awards with 13 nominations while Saving Private Ryan went in with 11. Still, many were surprised when Shakespeare in Love ended up being the big winner.

Cher Wears a Headdress

The singer caught everyone's attention when she showed up to the 1986 Academy Awards in this now-unforgettable Bob Mackie ensemble.

Streaker Storms the Stage

Host David Niven got a bit of a shock after a streaker ran across the stage at the 1974 Academy Awards.

Charlie Chaplin Receives 12-Minute Standing Ovation

While the idea of Charlie Chaplin receiving a standing ovation isn't surprising, the duration of the round of applause is. After he returned to the U.S. for the first time in over a decade to receive an honorary Oscar at the 1972 awards, the comedy legend reportedly received a 12-minute standing ovation. 

Marlon Brando Refuses to Accept Best Actor Award

Sacheen Littlefeather, who attended the 1973 ceremony on Brando's behalf, announced that the Godfather star "very regretfully" could not accept the award in protest of the film industry's treatment of Native Americans. 

Barbra Streisand and Katharine Hepburn Both Win Best Actress

In 1969, there were not one but two Best Actress winners: Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand. While Hepburn wasn't there to accept her award, Streisand said she was "very honored to be in such magnificent company as Katharine Hepburn."

Sammy Davis Jr. Announces the Wrong Winner

The 2017 Best Picture mishap isn't the only Oscar mixup. Sammy Davis Jr. received the wrong envelope and read the incorrect name for the winner of Scoring of Music (adaptation or treatment) at the 36th Academy Awards in 1964. "Wait 'til the NAACP hears about this," he said. He then put on his glasses and joked, "I ain't gonna make no mistake this time."

Check out E! News' Oscars blog for a full recap of the 2023 Academy Awards.