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!"
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."