All The Most Cringeworthy Award Show Moments In History

There’s a lot to look forward to when award show season rolls around, like red carpet fashion faux pas and award upsets. Between the Grammys, Golden Globes, Oscars, and everything in between, you can always expect at least one moment to make headlines on the internet the next day for all the wrong reasons.

To celebrate award show season, here are all the most awkward, hilarious, and just plain jaw-dropping moments from award show history.

We’re sure this hilarious moment from the 1974 Oscars would have been trending on Twitter…with a nudity warning.

Kanye West Was Gonna Let Taylor Swift Finish

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It’s hard to believe it’s been over a decade since Kanye West stormed the stage at the 2009 VMAs and took over Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech. Taylor was in the middle of thanking everyone for her Best Female Video award, but Kanye wanted the world to know “Beyoncé has one of the best videos of all time.”

Taylor looked like she was about to cry, Beyoncé was speechless, and Kanye went down in award show history. He was drinking a bottle of Hennessy on the red carpet, so we should have seen it coming.

Marlon Brando Refuses His Award

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It would have been one thing for Marlon Brando to simply write to the Academy and refuse to accept the 1973 Best Actor award for his role in The Godfather. It was a whole other thing when Brando chose to send Sacheen Littlefeather in his place to critique the treatment of "American Indians by the film industry."

Littlefeather received both boos and applause from the audience and the moment will forever go down as one of the earliest awkward award show moments.

Natalie Portman Called Out The Men In Hollywood

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At the end of the 2018 Golden Globes, Natalie Portman and Ron Howard took the stage to present the Best Director award. Howard began with "We are honored to be here to present the award for best director" then Portman, with fire in her eyes, adds on "And here are the all-male nominees."

The moment was made even better as Portman—and most women in the room—were wearing black as a symbol of the Times Up movement.

The award show blunder coming up left a stage full of very confused people.

John Travolta Introduces Adele Dazeem

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Imagine being Idina Menzel, AKA one of the most accomplished Broadway stars, AKA a certified celebrity, and hearing another celebrity absolutely butcher your name right before you take the stage.

That’s exactly what happened at the 2014 Oscars when John Travolta was set to introduce Menzel’s Frozen performance. We’re sure that when Travolta arrives on set he reads over his lines a few times so we have no idea why he tried to wing it at the award show.

Michael Jackson Shares The Most Awkward Kiss With Lisa Marie Presley

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The public got their first real glimpse of newlyweds Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley when they walked onstage at the 1994 VMAs to present an award. Halfway through presenting the award, MJ swooped in for what has to be the strangest kiss of all time.

Many remarked it felt like being on the outside looking in at two teenagers’ first kiss. Lisa Marie didn’t look too excited about it either and quickly walked off the stage. After that kiss, no one was surprised their marriage only lasted two years.

And The Winner Is La La Land! No, Wait

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Anytime the award show announcer crowns the wrong winner, it’s incredibly awkward. No one will forget Warren Beatty awarding the Best Picture award at the 2017 Academy Awards to La La Land when it was supposed to go to Moonlight.

An Oscar aide had to run on stage halfway through Emma Stone’s acceptance speech to change the results, and viewers got to watch the full casts of two very different movies awkwardly stand there together.

The moment coming up happened in 1974 but surely would have broken the internet if it happened today.

Winona Ryder’s Rollercoaster Of Emotions

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Most actors are excited to win an award, but when Winona Ryder joined the cast of Stranger Things on stage to accept a SAG Award, she was more than excited. In less than a minute Ryder went through every emotion and facial expression possible, from confusion to happiness and disgust, to shock, and right back to confusion.

Now, in Ryder’s defense, the speech that her co-star David Harbour was giving about politics and modern-day monsters was probably not what she expected to hear. Maybe next time they should all agree on a speech beforehand.

The Mysterious Case Of The Soy Bomb Caper

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No one was more confused than Bob Dylan at the 1998 Grammys, when a random man with the words "Soy Bomb" written on his bare chest crashed the stage. The Soy Bomb man ran out and danced like no one was watching for about thirty seconds before security removed him.

The man was actually a paid extra who was supposed to give off "a good vibe" in the background but he later told a CBS news anchor that he "needed to assert" himself.

The Infamous 1974 Streaker

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It was a gay-rights activist named Robert Opel who forced parents to quickly cover their kids’ eyes when watching the 1974 Academy Awards. Opel made a statement by running across the stage butt-naked just as Oscar host David Niven was about to introduce Elizabeth Taylor.

Opel never gave a reason for the stunt and we’ll never get an answer because only one year later, he was brutally murdered in his own home by two men demanding money and drugs.

Continue reading to see which of Nicole Kidman’s awkward moment turned into a meme.

J-Law’s Slow Motion Fall

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The ultra-relatable actress managed to steal our hearts even more at the 2013 Academy Awards. Jennifer Lawrence must have been overwhelmed with excitement when she won the Best Actress award for Silver Linings Playbook.

Lawrence walked up to the stage in her beautiful ball gown only to trip halfway through the steps. Like anyone else, she took a second to power cry with her head in her hands before getting it together and making it the rest of the way up.

Nicole Kidman Can’t Find Her Husband’s Lips

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Kidman was over the moon when it was announced she won the Golden Globe for her role in the HBO show Big Little Lies. Like most, her first instinct was the hug her partner with joy. Unfortunately, that meant we all had to sit and watch her try not once, not twice, not three times, but four times to kiss Keith Urban.

Before she finally landed on his lips, Kidman kissed his tacky blonde highlights and cringe-worthy soul patch.

Nicole Kidman’s Seal Clap

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In the age of the internet, even a three-second clip can haunt you. That’s what happened when a short video clip of Kidman clapping made the rounds online. She was clapping without letting her fingers touch, which made her look more like a seal than a human.

She later told a radio show it was because she didn’t want to damage her expensive rings. Maybe Kidman should stop attending award shows because she seems to just keep getting more and more awkward.

The moment coming up definitely wouldn’t fly with today’s #MeToo movement.

Frank Capra’s Long Walk Back To His Seat

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Oscar mishaps have happened as far back as 1934. During the Academy Awards, the presenter called out Frank Lloyd for the Best Director award. Frank Capra must have misheard or been too blinded by the light because he walked right up on stage believing he had won for Lady For A Day.

Once he realized his mistake, Capra left the stage and later described returning to his seat as "the longest, saddest, most shattering walk in my life."

Madonna’s Dramatic Wardrobe Malfunction

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Madonna didn’t experience the usual nip-slip wardrobe malfunction during her performance at the 2015 Brit Awards. No, hers involved much less skin and much more falling. During her performance of “Living for Love” a backup dancer was supposed to pull off a cloak and reveal a different outfit.

But when the dancer pulled at the cloak, it didn’t come off, and Madge ended up tumbling down a few stairs on the set. Yikes.

Sofia Vergara Gets Put On A Pedestal

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For some strange reason, the 2014 Emmy Awards thought it would be a hilarious bit to have Modern Family actress Vergara stand and pose on a rotating pedestal while the Academy chairman did a long speech. That alone was cringy to watch, but then the chairman ended his speech with what truly mattered: “always giving the viewer something compelling to watch.”

The Emmys would have made history using the moment to condemn Hollywood’s objectification of women, but instead, they took the creepy route.

Rob Lowe’s Awkward Opening Act

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Enduring a few seconds of awkwardness is fine for viewers, but the opening sequence for the 1989 Oscars was eleven minutes of cringeworthy content. It started with a woman dressed as Snow White walking through the crowd chirping at the stars. Eventually, it transitioned into a dance number and Rob Lowe came on stage to sing “Proud Mary” with Snow White.

The New York Times later described the eleven minutes as deserving a place in a “annals of Oscar embarrassments.”

Onyx Shoots A Real Gun

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The rap group Onyx was scheduled to perform their song “Throw Ya Gunz” at the 1994 Source Awards. Somehow, one of the members, Sticky Fingaz, managed to bring an actual gun into the award show and fired it at the ceiling mid-performance.

While the award show might not have been the most watched of the season, it was definitely the most exciting. Obviously, the Source Awards needed to up their security protocol.

Rashida Jones Defends Her “Tan”

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More and more in recent years, women on award show red carpets have started standing up to the nonsense. When actress Rashida Jones was complimented on her “tan” on the SAG Awards red carpet, she responded with “Well, you know…I’m ethnic.”

We’d like to forgive the reporter’s mistake but it’s not exactly a secret that her father is legendary African-American music producer Quincy Jones. Maybe next time they’ll do a more thorough background check on the celebrities.

The Entirety Of The 2011 Oscars

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It’s hard to turn an entire award show into an awkward flop, but James Franco and Anne Hathaway did just that. The 2011 Academy Awards that they hosted has gone down in history as one of the most cringeworthy of all time.

The two hosts were just complete opposites. Franco took the slacker route with inappropriate jokes while Hathaway looked offended and stuck up the entire time. Overall, every minute they were on stage just felt forced and uncomfortable.

James Franco Keeps Tommy Wiseau In Check

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When the infamously bad movie that made Tommy Wiseau famous, The Room, was parodied by James Franco, it won Franco an award. Being the fun-loving guy he is, Franco invited Wiseau to come on stage with him.

Everyone expected Wiseau to say a word or two but when he tried to reach for the microphone, Franco snatched it back. Apparently no one, not even the man who inspired the character, was allowed to speak over Franco.

Elton John And Lily Allen Square Off

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At the 2008 GQ Awards, it was pretty obvious to the crowd and to Elton John that Lily Allen had a little too much of something. John decided to poke fun at her about it and out of nowhere Allen told Elton to “F*** off!” and that she was “40 years younger” than him.

Well, Sir John wasn’t just going to let a young artist talk to him like that so he responded saying “I can still snort you under the table.”

Judy Finnigan Bares All Of Her Bra

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Wardrobe malfunctions are a common occurrence on red carpets and fashion shows, but it rarely happened on stage in the middle of an acceptance speech. That’s what happened at the 2000 Brit Awards to poor Judy Finnigan.

Just as she and her co-star Richard Madeley were accepting the award for the morning television show, the top of her dress slipped down revealing her bra. The only thing that made this moment more awkward is that Richard thought the audience was cheering for his Ali G impression. Yikes.

Johnny Depp Shows Up Trashed At The 2014 Hollywood Film Awards

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Depp has always had a bay boy image, so showing up drunk to present an award doesn’t seem too awkward at first, right? That is, until no one could understand his words because they were so slurred. Depp was supposed to be introducing a documentary and instead spent most of the time talking about the microphone.

At the time it seemed harmless, but only two years later ex-wife Amber Heard accused Depp of abusing her while he abused drugs and alcohol.

Nicki Minaj Starts Beef With Miley

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After winning the award for Best Hip-Hop Video at the 2014 VMAs, Nicki Minaj used her two minutes of time to call out Miley Cyrus for comments she made in a previous interview. Cyrus had told the New York Times she thought Minaj was “not too kind.”

Well, Cyrus learned the hard way about the not-too-kind side when Minaj pointed right at her and said “Miley, what’s good?” The entire room could feel Cyrus shaking in her boots.

John Travolta Gets Inappropriate WIth ScarJo

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One year after he flubbed Idina Menzel’s name, John Travolta returned to the Oscars and tried to one-up his own awkwardness. This time, it was on the red carpet when he decided to creep up on Scarlett Johansson and give her a quick hug and kiss.

The kiss was totally unannounced and ScarJo looked as shocked and uncomfortable as all of us watching at home. She later said it was not “strange or creepy” but the viewers didn’t agree.

Ving Rhames Doesn’t Want His Golden Globe

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The 1998 Best Actor Golden Globe went to actor Ving Rhames for his role in HBO’s Don King: Only in America. While the Foreign Press might have thought he was worthy of the award, Rhames did not. Instead of going on stage and accepting it, he went up and tried to give away his award to fellow nominee, Jack Lemmon.

What ensued was an awkward “You take it” “No, you take it” back and forth between the actors.

A Puppet Sends Eminem Over The Edge

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Even though Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, A.K.A. just an innocent hand puppet, was teasing everyone at the 2002 VMA’s, rapper Eminem seemed to take it personally. When Triumph later went “face” to face with Eminem, things got physical. Eminem shoved Triumph but really just pushed Robert Smigel’s hand. Either he didn’t realize it was a hand puppet or he didn’t care.

Things got even weirder when Triumph held a news conference saying Eminem deserved some slack because he was “trying to make an honest living stealing black people’s music.”

Kristen Stewart Breaks Her Award On Stage

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The Twilight actress was as awkward in real life as she was on the big screen when she accepted the Best Female Performance at the 2009 MTV Movie Awards. When she was handed the Golden Popcorn statue, she proceeded to drop it and the entire crowd watched it break into two pieces.

At least Kristen was able to joke about it. For her acceptance speech, all she said was: “I was just about as awkward as you thought I was going to be…bye!”

Nirvana’s Bassist Rocks Out Until He’s Knocked Out

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Mid-way through Nirvana’s performance at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards, their bassist, Krist Novoselic, decided to throw his bass into the air. It went so high that he botched the catch, and the guitar ended up landing on his head and Krist stumbled off the stage.

It got weirder though. Kurt Cobain didn’t realize what was happening and began trashing the stage. Then drummer, Dave Grohl, trying to keep up, ran to the microphone and started taunting Axl Rose in the audience. By the time they left the stage, everyone had second-hand embarrassment.

Michael Jackson Accepts A Made Up Award

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At the 2002 VMAs, the award show decided to honor Michael Jackson with a birthday trophy since he was turning 44 that day. In Britney Spears’ speech beforehand, she casually called him “the artist of the millennium.”

The line must have confused MJ because he went up and gave a long-winded speech accepting the fake Artist of the Millennium award. It reeked like a scene out of Zoolander and Britney looked incredibly awkward smiling for three-minutes straight in the background.