Word in Tinseltown today is that Sacha Baron Cohen has had his Oscar invitation rescinded until he can convince the powers that be that he won’t disrupt the red carpet or the ceremony.

While this may sound like a pretty stupid thing to occur, let alone for us to read and learn about, this “controversy” is just one of a handful of “controversies” that have taken place during the Academy Awards. I keep putting quotes around “controversy” because something controversial that takes place during a damn awards ceremony isn’t really a controversy. In fact, it isn’t really anything.

But because I suckle on the botox-ed, turgid tit of the entertainment industry, I give you six other Oscar controversies that really don’t amount to a hill of beans to anyone but a select group of silly people.

Jane Fonda Throws Up A Black Panther Salute

In 1970, Jane Fonda received her first Oscar nod for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, a film that follows one woman as she ascertains whether horses are being shot (That’s almost certainly untrue). Getting out of her limo, making her way to the red carpet, she threw up a Black Panther salute, much to the chagrin of most every non-Black Panther in attendance.

She made up for it by having her acceptance speech translated into sign language when she won ten years later. Which is nice, so long as the signing is real. See below to understand that enigmatic half-riddle.

The Streaker

Robert Opel was able to score a Wikipedia entry for himself by running across the 1974 Academy Awards stage naked, or “streaking” as the kids my father’s age called it. The act was done while David Niven was introducing Elizabeth Taylor. Unfazed, Niven offered, “Well, ladies and gentlemen, that was almost bound to happen... But isn't it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?"

Simpler times, people. Simpler, wiener-filled times.

Fake Deaf Kids

When Debby Boone performed her uber-creepy 1977 hit “You Light Up My Life,” she was courteous enough to have eleven deaf students sign the words for any of the 1978 Oscar audience that may be hearing impaired. Truly a magnanimous gesture. Only the kids weren’t deaf. And what they were signing was complete gibberish. Hmm. That’s hard to weasel your way out of.

Personally, I think it’s more of a controversy that song was nominated anything except the Mrs. Buttersworth Lifetime Achievement in Sap Award, but I don’t have any deaf kids, so I’ll step off.

The Banksy Situation

Last year’s Oscars offered a stupid little mini-controversy in the question of whether or not to honor an invitation to street artist Banksy, as he directed the nominated documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop (which is amazingly interesting and entertaining if you haven’t seen it). The big problem here was that Banksy’s ability to succeed as a street artist was directly correlated to the amount of anonymity he had, so speculation ran amok that he would wear his signature monkey mask or hire a team of impersonators a la Thomas Crown to accept his award.

All the worrying was for naught, as Exit lost to the depressing yet artful and topical Restrepo. Banksy lost the award but maintained his anonymity.

Michael Moore Booed For Being Michael Moore

When Michael Moore accepted his Best Documentary Oscar for Bowling for Columbine, much of America cringed, knowing that this pundit/filmmaker used every opportunity he could get to speak out against the Bush administration. Then this happened (see the clip above).

Even the painfully outspoken, liberal Hollywood set was taken aback. That’s a tough bar to clear, Michael, but if anyone can do it, it’s your cookie dough, baseball hat-wearin’ ass.

Marlon Brando And The Indian. Excuse Me…NATIVE AMERICAN

The 1973 Best Actor Oscar went to Marlon Brando for his iconic turn in The Godfather. The eccentric (that’s what you call it when a rich person’s crazy) actor decided to have American Indian Rights activist Sacheen Littlefeather accept the award on his behalf, due to his objection of the depiction of American Indians by American film and television.

To his credit, American Indians, especially in that era, were little more than caricatures. Though it’s doubtful this spectacle changed that going forward, it did open the eyes of many Americans.

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