The glitter, the glamour … and the chance to see the high and mighty fall on their million-dollar, silicone-sculpted behinds — that's why millions of people watch the Oscars.
Sally Field — who won Best Actress honors in 1984 for Places in the Heart — set the standard for big stars who have been reduced to babbling idiots under Oscar's spotlight. "I can't deny the fact you like me," she gushed. "Right now, you like me!"
Need further proof that fame can be more intoxicating than a crack pipe? How about when a hyperventilating Gwyneth Paltrow won the same award in 1998 for Shakespeare in Love, telling the world, "I would not have been able to play this role had I not understood love with a tremendous magnitude."
And, of course, for sheer Hollywood drool, who can forget James Cameron's "I'm king of the world" speech when accepting the Best Director award in 1998 for Titanic?
In a halfhearted attempt to pay some tribute to the real Titanic tragedy, he then asked the audience for a moment of silence "in remembrance of the 1,500 men, women and children who died when the great ship went down." Then, he reverted to hyperventilating hysteria and yelled, "Now let's party till dawn!"
Here now is The Wolf Files' updated list of Oscar blunders, missteps, and downright amusing moments. If this list is lacking, send in your favorites. And, after the broadcast, e-mail us your nomination for new Oscar Bozo.
Oscar Blunder Hall of Fame
The Windbag Award: To Greer Garson. According to Oscar legend, she spent 90 rambling minutes at the podium after winning Best Actress in 1942 for Mrs. Miniver. But cooler heads say it was closer to seven minutes. Predictably, she began her speech by saying, "I'm practically unprepared."
The Fairy Tale Disaster Award: To Rob Lowe. In perhaps the most embarrassing Oscar opening, the 1988 organizers scripted a song-and-dance routine between Snow White and Lowe, who was introduced as her "blind date." Disney was so distressed that it sued.
The Brevity Is the Soul of Wit Award: To Alfred Hitchcock and Joe Pesci. After winning the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award in 1967 in recognition of his illustrious career, Hitchcock muttered "Thank you," and walked offstage. Twenty-three years later, after winning Best Supporting Actor for his work in Goodfellas, Joe Pesci did the same exact thing.
The Oscar D'Amore Award: To Cuba Gooding Jr., who exclaimed "I love you" 14 times — thanking everyone from God to Tom Cruise — after winning Best Supporting Actor for Jerry Maguire in 1996. Even after the orchestra interrupted him, he continued: "Everybody who was involved in this, I love you! I love you! I love you!"
The Nature Calls Award: To Meryl Streep, who left her just-claimed Oscar for Kramer vs. Kramer on the back of a toilet during the 1979 festivities.
The Au Naturel Award: To actor David Niven. In 1974, a streaker ran behind him as he was announcing the Best Picture award. The nudist flashed a peace sign — not to mention the Full Monty — to a shocked audience. Without missing a beat, Niven said the man would always be remembered "for his shortcomings."