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."
The Silent Oscar Award: To Hal Roach, who received a special honor in 1991 for bringing Laurel & Hardy and many other classics to the big screen. Billy Crystal introduced him, and the audience gave him a booming ovation. But when everyone sat down, Roach, a centenarian, began speaking without a mike. The audience and TV viewers just stared for several moments, unable to hear him. Crystal quipped, "I think that's fitting since Mr. Roach started in silent film." It was Roach's last public appearance. He died six months later.
The Give This Guy Viagra Award: To Roberto Benigni, the 1998 double Oscar winner (Best Actor, Best Foreign Film) for Life Is Beautiful. In broken English he proclaimed, "My body is in tumult … I would like to be … lying down and making love to everybody." He later added, "I am-a so happy, I want to wag-a my tail!"
Hey, Are You Guys Against Me? Award: To 1964 presenter Sammy Davis Jr., who was handed an envelope for the wrong award. Representatives from Oscar's counting unit at Price Waterhouse had to rush onstage to stop him from blurting out a mistake. He quipped, "Wait'll the NAACP hears about this."
The You Can See Me Now Award: To Barbra Streisand. She and Katharine Hepburn tied for Best Actress in 1968. In the excitement, Babs tore her Scaasi bellbottoms on her way to collect the statue. Then, under the spotlight, her outfit appeared distressingly see-through. She raised her Oscar and said to it, "Hello, gorgeous!"
The More Outrageously Dressed Than Cher Award: To costume designer Lizzy Gardiner, who wore a gown crafted out of some 200 American Express gold cards (in her name). Perhaps it was a commentary on her film, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Remarking on the film's $12,000 costume budget, she said backstage, "We absolutely didn't think we would win."
The Excessive Sibling Affection Award: To Angelina Jolie, who won a Best Supporting Actress statue in 2000 for Girl Interrupted. When her name was announced she gave her brother a fulsome smooch with her bee-stung lips. She told the crowd: "I'm in shock. And I'm so in love with my brother right now, he just held me and said he loved me." She later married actor Billy Bob Thornton.
The Inverted Oscar: To Ronald Reagan. In 1947, he narrated a silent montage of past Oscar winners. Much to Reagan's surprise, the crowd was laughing hysterically as he said, "This picture embodies the glories of our past, the memories of our present and the inspiration of our future." What he didn't know: The reel was upside down.
The Oscar Mayer Weiner Award: To Jack Palance, for dropping to the stage floor and doing one-armed pushups to celebrate his Best Supporting Actor award for City Slickers.
The Oscar Imposter Award: To Marlon Brando, who sent "Sasheen Littlefeather" to the stage to reject his Best Actor award in 1973 for The Godfather in protest of Hollywood's treatment of American Indians. Later, it was discovered that her real name was Maria Cruz, that she wasn't an Apache, and that in 1970 she had won the Miss American Vampire contest.
The Oscar Instigator Award: To Vanessa Redgrave in 1978, for using her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress for Julia as a diatribe against "Zionist hoodlums." Dozens of police officers had to quell a protest outside the theater. Playwright Paddy Chayefsky, who followed her onstage, quipped, "A simple 'thank you' would have been sufficient."
The Must-Have-Been-Bottle-Fed Award: To director Bernardo Bertolucci. Accepting an award for The Last Emperor in 1987, he referred to Hollywood as the "Big Nipple." The Big Sister With a Big Mouth Award: To Shirley MacLaine, who presented an award to her brother Warren Beatty for Reds in 1981, saying: "I want to take this opportunity to say how proud I am of my little brother, my dear, sweet, talented brother. Just imagine what you could accomplish if you tried celibacy." Beatty and his then-girlfriend, Diane Keaton, were not amused.
The You Crack Me Up Award: To comedian Marty Feldman, for presenting the 1976 Live Action Short Oscar. Calling the two winning producers to the stage, he threw the statue to the floor, then handed a shard of the award to each one. He said, "It said, 'Made in Hong Kong' on the bottom."
The Where Am I Now? Award: To Alice Brady, who won a Best Supporting Actress award for In Old Chicago in 1937. Brady wasn't present, but a man walked up and accepted the award on her behalf. After the show, neither he nor the Oscar was ever seen again.
The Who Am I Now? Award: To Spencer Tracy, who won Best Actor in 1937 for Captains Courageous. The inscription on his gold statue read "Dick Tracy." Original Oscar Bozo: To Frank Capra. At the first Oscar festivities, in 1934, emcee Will Rogers announced the winner for Best Director by exclaiming, "Come up and get it, Frank!" A jubilant Frank Capra (Lady for a Day) began his trip to the dais. Unfortunately, the real winner was Frank Lloyd (Cavalcade). Capra called his return to his table, "the longest, saddest, most shattering walk in my life."
The Get This Over With Award: To Sir Laurence Olivier. In 1985, the 78-year-old Shakespearean forgot to name the Best Picture nominees. He simply opened the envelope and proclaimed, "Amadeus!"
Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at ABCNEWS.com. The Wolf Files is published Tuesdays. If you want to receive weekly notice when a new column is published, join the e-mail list.