There’s no telling what a star is going to say or do once they get up on that stage, but once in a while we get Miley Cyrus acting out at the EMAs, Sacha Baron Cohen pretending to murder someone or Kanye West appearing out of nowhere to interrupt Taylor Swift —andvoilà! We are then left with a moment that becomes one of the most-talked about memories in award show history.
But those are just a few examples. Check out all of these controversial acceptance speeches…
1. Miley Fires Up: The “Wrecking Ball” singer received some heat (no pun intended) for firing up what many thought appeared to be a joint onstage while accepting the award for Best Video at the MTV EMAs.
“I don’t think I’m going to be able to fit that in my purse so I’ll put it right here for now,” Miley said as she clutched the award during. “I couldn’t fit this award in my bag, but I did find this,” she said, before pulling out the joint.
Her defense? “Sometimes in life you just gotta decide to not give AF,” she said on Twitter.
2. Murder at the BAFTAs?: Luckily, that wasn’t the case. But Cohen pulled a fast one on the audience, yet again, with this little trick.
The actor went up to accept the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy with Grace Cullington, the last living actor who had appeared in one of Chaplin’s films, City Lights, in 1931. Cohen was dancing around with a cane to imitate Chaplin when it broke and he fell into Cullington, causing her to fall off the stage head first into the audience and on the floor.
After the gasps, the audience realized it was just a joke—whew!
“Grace Cullington is the oldest, sorry, was the oldest,” Cohen said after the audience started laughing. “I dedicate my award to her. It’s obviously a tragedy, but on the bright side what a great way to go. She’ll probably make the Oscars In Memoriam section…Anyway tonight is not about her, it’s about me.”
3. I’mma Let You Finish…: Those four infamous words will never be forgotten, thanks to Yeezy. Swift won the award for Best Female Video, besting Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Pink,Kelly Clarkson and Katy Perry at the 2009 MTV VMAs, but Kanye disagreed with that decision, and made sure everyone knew how he felt.
West jumped onstage and pulled the microphone from her hand, saying, “I’m really happy for you, I’mma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time.”
4. The F-Bomb Slip: Melissa Leo was so darn shocked and excited that her mouth got the best of her.
Referencing Oscar winner Kate Winslet during her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress in The Fighter during the 2011 Oscars, Leo said, “When I watched Kate two years ago, it looked so f—ing easy.”
5. Brotherly Love: Superstar Angelina Jolie took her brother, James Haven, as her date to the 1999 Oscars, so of course she would thank him when she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Girl, Interrupted.
But it was kind of weird when she started off her speech by saying, “I’m so in love with my brother right now.”
6. Talking About Politics: In 1978, Vanessa Redgrave delivered a controversial speech when accepting the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Julia as an anti-Nazi activist.
The Jewish Defense League objected to her nomination and picketed the Oscar ceremony because Redgrave had narrated and helped fund a documentary entitled The Palestinian, which supported a Palestinian state.
“And I salute you, and I pay tribute to you, and I think you should be very proud that in the last few weeks you’ve stood firm, and you have refused to be intimidated by the threats of a small bunch of Zionist hoodlums whose behavior is an insult to the stature of Jews all over the world and their great and heroic record of struggle against fascism and oppression,” she said.
7. More Politics: Accepting his Oscar for Best Documentary in 2002 for Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore began to rip into President George Bush with the repeated use of the word “fictitious.”
He continued to voice his displeasure with the results of the 2000 presidential election, as well as his opposition to the Iraq War, while audience members either loudly booed or cheered until he finished his speech.
8. Even More Politics: Sally Field was cut off during her acceptance speech for Lead Actress in a Drama Series at the 2007 Emmys, when she began to share her anti-war views.
“Surely this [award] belongs to all the mothers of the world,” she stated. “May they be seen, may their work be valued and raised. Especially to the mothers who stand with an open heart and wait. Wait for their children to come home from danger, from harm’s way, and from war. I am proud to be one of those women.” Field then continued, “If mothers ruled the world, there would be no…”
But the Fox Emmycast cut off her sound and pointed the camera away from the stage, silencing the rest of her sentence: “god-damned wars in the first place.”
9. Brando’s Stand Against the Oscars: Marlon Brando received an Oscar for Best Actor in The Godfather in 1973, but refused to attend the ceremony, and instead sent Native American civil right activist Sacheen Littlefeather, who initially planned to read out a 15-page speech but was told backstage by the producer that she would be ejected from the event.
She instead relayed Brando’s reasoning for declining the Oscar, which was to protest “the treatment of American Indians, today, by the film industry.”
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