There's only two ways to be remembered at the Academy Awards — you either look really good or you look really bad.
We all remember who's crowned Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director — and Biggest Oscar Bozo.
A hyperventilating 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!"
The Walk Of Shame
Countless others have taken that Oscar night walk of shame. There are those who are happy to have their award, even if some slip-up sentences them to a lifetime of teasing. David Letterman will probably never make an "Uma-Oprah" joke again. But there are others who probably wish they were home watching the four-hour celebrity lovefest on TV, like the rest of us.
It makes you wonder what Louis B. Mayer and other founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would say if they could see what became of the organization they started "to further the welfare and protect the honor and good repute of the profession" … or so the charter says.
The early ceremonies, in the late 1920s, were held in private. Explaining why they were so low-key, Cary Grant remarked that "there is something embarrassing about all these wealthy people congratulating each other."
But by 1933, the stage was set for tuxedo-clad celebrities to trip over their own egos. Director Frank Capra was so certain he would win for Lady for a Day that he began to rise before Will Rogers finished announcing the winner.
"He kept saying, 'Over here, over here,'" says Hollywood historian Stephen Schochet, "because the spotlight was thrown on the other side of the room and he wanted to bask in his triumph."
Capra was even more confused when, as he was on his way up to the dais, Rogers said, "Come on up and get it, Frank."
It turns out the winner was another Frank — Frank Lloyd for Cavalcade. Capra called his return to his seat "the longest, saddest, most shattering walk in my life."
When the festivities air March 25 on ABC, there's sure to be a new king fool. But where will this person stand in Oscar history? Help The Wolf Files decide. Last year, with the help of some readers and a few experts, we bestowed the following achievements. Take a look at them. Then fill out the form below, to single out your pick for the most outrageous Oscar blunder of all time.
Famous Oscar Blunders
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 Swollen Lips Award: To writer Ernest Thompson, honored in 1981 for On Golden Pond. He made reference to a line from his own movie and shocked the audience by saying, "I'm so proud, and if you would all see me later, I would love to suck face with you all."
The My Kingdom for a Horse Award: To Lee Marvin. In 1965, the star of Cat Ballou proudly acknowledged his onscreen partner, saying, "I think half of this belongs to a horse somewhere out in the [San Fernando] Valley."
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 Straight From the Ole Ticker Award: To Mel Brooks. Accepting the screenplay Oscar for The Producers in 1968, he said: "I'll just say what's in my heart — ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump."
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: Marlon Brando, who sent Sasheen Littlefeather, an apparent Native American, 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. Interestingly, Keaton later dated Woody Allen, who made a point of boycotting the awards.
The Bodily Functions Award: To Kevin Costner, who confessed after the 1990 ceremony, "The Oscars made my pits wet."
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."
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 a producer at ABCNEWS.com. The Wolf Files is a weekly feature. If you want to receive weekly notice when a new column is published, join the e-mail list.