Kerry Parnell: My all-time favourite Oscars stuff-ups

Forget the show must go on — I love one that goes wrong.

While the organisers of this year’s Oscars must be nervously scanning the A-listers to make sure nobody left their sense of humour at home, Will-Smith-style, the rest of us are secretly hoping they did.

I enjoy a bungled event. It adds a delicious level of spice to something that otherwise threatens to be sickly — like a salted caramel brownie.

The 95th Academy Awards takes place today. This time last year, I lamented how I missed “the days of badly-behaved celebrities; of sore losers at awards ceremonies.”

I don’t know if Will Smith read my column before he slapped host Chris Rock on stage but it’s not my fault, your honour.

This year Jimmy Kimmel has taken the hosting role, saying, “I am grateful to the Academy for asking me so quickly after everyone good said no.”

The ABC appointed him because he was “unflappable and unslappable.”

Kimmel’s only regret is that thanks to last year’s events, his involvement as host of the 2017 awards, when the wrong film was read out, has been knocked down the stuff-up league table. “Yeah, we got knocked down the list,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.

“It’s disappointing in a lot of ways. If you’re gonna be part of a f-up, it might as well be the biggest f-up ever. Being part of the second-biggest f-up doesn’t carry as much cachet.”

There’s everything to play for Jimmy … hopefully.

Here are my favourite Oscar stuff-ups:

The slap: We, and Chris Rock, are still reeling from Will Smith slapping the host around the face for making a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, at last year’s ceremony. Here’s hoping Jimmy Kimmel brings a defibrillator with him this year, for the dying concept of jokes.

The wrong film: You had one job … In 2017, the Oscars made one of its most spectacular fluff-ups, when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced La La Land had won Best Picture, when it had actually gone to Moonlight. It was later revealed they had been handed the wrong envelope – a duplicate of Emma Stone’s Best Actress one.

The mangled name: Proving he’s not a Frozen fan, John Travolta made a monumental mess of introducing the fabulous Idina Menzel to perform Let it Go at the 2014 ceremony. Announcing the “wickedly talented Adele Dazeem” was taking the stage, he later admitted he didn’t rehearse her name. Let it go, John. The following year, Idina got her revenge, introducing her “very dear friend, Glom Gazingo”.

Sit down, Frank: It’s embarrassing when you don’t win – but mortifying if you get up. At the 1934 ceremony, the Best Director Oscar went to Frank Lloyd, for Cavalcade. But when Will Rogers said, “Come on up and get it, Frank,” legendary director Frank Capra got up, thinking he’d won. He had to walk back to his seat, as everyone shouted, “Sit down!” He wrote in his autobiography, it “was the longest, saddest, most shattering walk in my life. I wish I could have crawled under the rug like a miserable worm. When I slumped into my chair, I felt like one. All my friends at the table were crying.”

Kerry Parnell

Kerry ParnellFeatures Writer

Kerry Parnell is a features writer for The Sunday Telegraph. Formerly the Head of Lifestyle, she now writes about a wide range of topics, from news features to fashion and beauty, health, travel, popular culture and celebrity as well as a weekly opinion column.

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