Oscars upsets! The Academy Awards’ most shocking wins over the years, from THAT Moonlight mix-up to Olivia Colman defeating Glenn Close and Lady Gaga
- The Academy Awards will be broadcast on ABC on Sunday, March 12, at 8 p.m. EST and 5 p.m. PST
The Oscars are the biggest awards show of the year, but the glittering night has served up almost as many upsets as it has triumphs over its 94-year history.
Tonight, viewers will be tuning in in their millions to see if Everything Everywhere All At Once can continue its award-season dominance, whether Brendan Fraser will cement his career comeback with the Best Actor gong or if Hollywood veterans like Steven Spielberg or crowd pleasers like Top Gun: Maverick can come out on top.
But few can forget past gaffes including the iconic 2017 Best Picture mix-up which saw La La Land mistakenly announced as the winner by presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway – when Moonlight had in fact won.
The Oscars were also accused of getting it wrong when Crash won Best Picture in 2006 over Ang Lee’s blockbuster Brokeback Mountain and Olivia Colman beat Glenn Close to the Best Actress Award in 2019.
Among the directing race, one of the biggest upsets happened in 1973 when the director and choreographer Bob Fosse won Best Director for his dark musical Cabaret over The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola.
And Sylvester Stallone saw his hopes of an acting Oscar snatched away from him in 2016, when he shockingly lost out on the Best Supporting Actor gong to Mark Rylance for Bridge Of Spies – despite dominating awards season with his performance in Creed.
Ahead of this year’s star-studded ceremony, DailyMail.com looks back on the biggest Oscars upsets…
2017 – LA LA LAND ‘WINS’ BEST PICTURE (BUT MOONLIGHT ACTUALLY TRIUMPHS)
Surprises ahead: 2017’s mix-up saw La La Land initially labeled Best Picture; Jordan Horowitz, Warren Beatty and Jimmy Kimmel were shocked to discover the actual winner was Moonlight
Whoops! Beatty and fellow presenter Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced La La Land as the winner over Moonlight after they were handed a second copy of the envelope for Emma Stone’s Best Actress win for La La Land; seen in 2017
The drama unfolded when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway hit the stage to announce the Best Picture winner – with La La Land hotly tipped to take the biggest award of the night after scooping six trophies including Best Actress and Best Director.
Beatty took an inordinately long pause before Dunaway took the envelope off him and announced La La Land as the winner – with the cast and crew celebrating on stage and delivering their acceptance speeches.
In a heart-stopping moment, the stars and producers of La La Land were stopped midway through their acceptance speeches and forced to hand their trophies to the stars of Moonlight after their film was announced as Best Picture in one of the biggest blunders in Oscar history.
The musical’s producer Jordan Horowitz set off gasps when he informed the audience that his film had not, in fact, won, and it was the critically acclaimed drama Moonlight that had earned the top prize of the night instead.
The terrible end to an otherwise triumphant show left the audience gasping in horror as Beatty then revealed he had incorrectly read La La Land as the winner.
An oral history of the mix-up later compiled by The Hollywood Reporter indicated that Beatty and Dunaway had accidentally been given a copy of the envelope announcing Emma Stone’s Best Actress win for La La Land, rather than the correct Best Picture envelope, which Horowitz subsequently held up on stage, allowing cameras to zoom in so that viewers at home could see the true winner clearly.
Both films are already on their way to becoming modern classics, but the shocking moment robbed Moonlight director Barry Jenkins and his producers of their moment of triumph, while La La Land’s constituents had to deal the disappointment of having their glory snatched away within minutes.
2016 – SYLVESTER STALLONE LOSES BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR GONG TO MARK RYLANCE
Down goes Rocky: Acting icon Sylvester Stallone was the odds-on favorite to take home his first acting Oscar for his signature role as boxer Rocky Balboa in Creed – but was denied his victory by Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies
Shocking win: Rylance was the shock winner after Stallone had dominated awards season
Acting icon Sylvester Stallone was the odds-on favorite to take home his first acting Oscar for his signature role as boxer Rocky Balboa in Creed – but was denied his victory by Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies.
It was quite a shocking result as he already had won a string of accolades including Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice awards
The heartbreak could be seen in Sly’s face when the Englishman’s name was called instead of his at the event held in the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California.
Despite the disappointment, the Rocky star was a fantastic sport as he clapped for his fellow actor while seated next to his beautiful wife Jennifer Flavin.
During his acceptance speech, Rylance thanked his director Steven Spielberg before adding: ‘If you ever asked if acting with Tom Hanks helps [your career] the answer is “yes it does!”‘
Rylance was a first time nominee and won for his portrayal of Russian spy Rudolf Abel, who becomes part of a high-stakes prisoner exchange during the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union.
Meanwhile, it was the first time Stallone had been in Oscar contention since 1977 when Rocky, which he starred in, wrote and produced, was nominated for 10 statuettes and won three, including Best Picture and Best Director for John G. Avildsen.
Stallone had received some of the best reviews of his career when he returned to portraying his Rocky character in the Michael B. Jordan–starring spinoff Creed, but Oscar voters didn’t see it that way.
2006 – CRASH BEATS BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN TO BEST PICTURE
Missed the mark: Crash (pictured) is widely considered one of the Oscars’ worst mistakes, as the overheated social melodrama beat out Ang Lee’s gay cowboy drama Brokeback Mountain
Iconic: Brokeback Mountain won three Oscars in 2006 for director Ang Lee, best screenplay and best achievement in music, but actors Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal were snubbed
In one of the biggest Best Picture upsets of all time, overheated social melodrama Crash beat out Ang Lee’s gay cowboy drama Brokeback Mountain – what what is widely considered one of the Oscars’ worst mistakes.
Brokeback Mountain won three Oscars in 2006 for director Ang Lee, best screenplay and best achievement in music, but actors Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal were snubbed in the best actor and supporting actor categories.
In the wake of the controversial victory, it was claimed Crash was seen as a ‘safe’ alternative to Brokeback Mountain.
LA Times critic Kenneth Turan also suggested Crash benefited from homophobia among Academy members, writing: ‘So for people who were discomfited by Brokeback Mountain but wanted to be able to look at themselves in the mirror and feel as if they were good, productive liberals, Crash provided the perfect safe harbor.
‘They could vote for it in good conscience, vote for it and feel they had made a progressive move, vote for it and not feel that there was any stain on their liberal credentials for shunning what Brokeback had to offer. And that’s exactly what they did.’
In 2015 The Hollywood Reporter gave hundreds of Academy members the chance to re-vote on past Oscars upsets, with Brokeback Mountain beating Crash to the win this time.
2019 – OLIVIA COLMAN BEATS GLENN CLOSE TO BEST ACTRESS AWARD
Didn’t see that coming! Olivia Colman shocked audience members when she won Best Actress for The Favourite in 2019, beating frontrunners Glenn Close (The Wife) and Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)
Not to be: Close looked like an Oscar statuette on the night – but the eight-time nominee missed out again
Olivia Colman shocked audience members when she won Best Actress for The Favourite in 2019, beating frontrunners Glenn Close (The Wife) and Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born).
At the time Colman was well-regarded in the UK, but was less well known in the US, so Oscar prognosticators were left scratching their heads after her name was announced for Best Actress.
She won for her critically acclaimed black comedy The Favourite, Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos’ movie about Queen Anne and the two cousins (Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone) who vied for her attention and affection via sexual favors.
Eight-time nominee Close had been the favorite for the award after winning the Golden Globe for her film The Wife, and Lady Gaga was also a strong contender thanks to her lead role in A Star Is Born.
1999 – SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE BEATS SAVING PRIVATE RYAN TO BEST PICTURE
Oh dear: The Academy was faced with backlash over awarding the Best Picture Award to Shakespeare In Love over Saving Private Ryan, along with the Best Actress award to its star Gwyneth Paltrow (pictured with Joseph Fiennes) over Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth
Legendary: Saving Private Ryan is considered one of the greatest films of all time – and won Best Director for Steven Spielberg (pictured Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Edward Burns)
The Academy was faced with backlash over awarding the Best Picture gong to Shakespeare In Love over Saving Private Ryan, along with the Best Actress award to its star Gwyneth Paltrow over Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth.
The Harvey Weinstein produced film made $289.3million at the box office and won a total of seven Oscars – but many speculated the win was due to the film’s aggressive awards season campaign led by now-disgraced sex offender Weinstein.
Former Dreamworks executive Terry Press said Weinstein and his studio Miramax ‘tried to get everybody to believe that Saving Private Ryan was all in the first 15 minutes’.
The Hollywood Reporter’s 2015 re-poll of Academy members saw Saving Private Ryan beat Shakespeare In Love to the Best Picture Award.
Saving Private Ryan – which starred Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Edward Burns – won Steven Spielberg the Best Director award.
1991 – MARTIN SCORSESE LOSES BEST DIRECTOR OSCAR TO KEVIN COSTNER
Actor–director: In 1991, Kevin Costner scored an upset win for Best Director for Dances With Wolves over Martin Scorsese for Goodfellas. Scorsese didn’t win a Best Director trophy until 2007’s The Departed
Oscars fans were left shocked when legendary director Martin Scorsese lost out on the Best Director gong to Kevin Costner for his directorial debut – Dances With Wolves.
Three-time nominee Scorsese had been the favorite to take home the award for Goodfellas but Costner, whose film also won Best Picture over Goodfellas – scored a shock victory.
Scorsese was long considered one of the most oft-snubbed filmmakers at the Oscars, as he was also nominated for Best Director for Raging Bull, The Last Temptation Of Christ, Goodfellas, Gangs Of New York and The Aviator, losing all of them.
It wasn’t until his nomination for his 2007 film The Departed that he finally won Best Director, and by then some critics felt it was more of an honorary award for better films that had been passed over than a legitimate win.
He has subsequently been nominated for directing Hugo, The Wolf Of Wall Street and The Irishman, but the Oscar Best Picture gold has proved to be elusive for Scorsese, who will next reunite with his longtime leading men Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro will return to the fold for his historical thriller Killers Of The Flower Moon.
1995 – FORREST GUMP BEATS THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION AND PULP FICTION TO BEST PICTURE
Crowd pleaser: Forrest Gump’s critical standing has fallen over the years, but it was a shock even in 1995 when it beat out films including Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption
Iconic: The Shawshank Redemption starring Tim Robins and Morgan Freeman received seven Academy Award nominations but did not win anything
Iconic: Quentin Tarantino’s comic thriller — starring John Travolta, Bruce Willis (both pictured) and Uma Thurman — has gone on to influence countless films in numerous genres
Another instance in which the Oscars seemingly picked the less-influential film was when Forrest Gump won Best Picture in 1995 over the crime classic Pulp Fiction and the cable TV staple The Shawkshank Redemption.
The Tom Hanks–starring film from director Robert Zemeckis has seen its critical fortunes diminished over time, while Pulp Fiction’s stature has only increased.
The Shawshank Redemption – which starred Tim Robins and Morgan Freeman as two prisoners intent on freedom – received seven Academy Award nominations but did not win anything.
Pulp Fiction was also nominated for seven Oscars but only won one for Best Screenplay.
1972 – CABARET’S BOB FOSSE WINS BEST DIRECTOR OVER FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA FOR THE GODFATHER
Two classics: Bob Fosse stands out as one of the biggest upsets after he won Best Director for 1972’s Cabaret, while Francis Ford Coppola lost out for directing The Godfather
An offer you can’t refuse: Although both films are now considered classics, The Godfather remains one of the towering achievements of American filmmaking (pictured Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone)
Bob Fosse stands out as one of the biggest upsets after he won Best Director for 1972’s Cabaret, while Francis Ford Coppola lost out for directing The Godfather.
Coppola’s film still received plenty of awards, as it took home Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay (to Coppola and the source novelist Mario Puzo) and Best Actor for Marlon Brando.
Although both films are now considered classics, The Godfather remains one of the towering achievements of American filmmaking.
Coppola managed to earn his directing statuette two years later, when his sequel The Godfather Part II earned even more Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Robert De Niro, who played a young version of Brando’s character Vito Corleone.
1975 – AL PACINO AND JACK NICHOLSON BOTH MISS OUT ON BEST ACTOR TO ART CARNEY
Didn’t see that coming! Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson were the Best Actor frontrunners in 1995 for The Godfather Part II and Chinatown, respectively, but Art Carney pulled out a shocking win for Harry And Tonto; pictured with Francis Ford Coppola (R)
Icon: The following year the Best Actor Oscar was Nicholson’s for his incredible performance as Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
His year: Pacino had a while longer to wait but finally nabbed the Best Actor Oscar in 1993 for his portrayal of blind Army Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman
The year 1975 was set to have a blockbuster Best Actor race in which Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson were frontrunners for their roles in The Godfather Part II and Chinatown, respectively.
However, the Honeymooners star Art Carney shocked audience members when he won for Harry And Tonto, after voters may have been split on the future superstars.
The following year the Best Actor Oscar was Nicholson’s for his incredible performance as Randle McMurphy in 1975 film, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
Pacino had a while longer to wait but finally nabbed the Best Actor Oscar in 1993 for his portrayal of blind Army Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman.
2018 – GREEN BOOK WINS BEST PICTURE OVER FAVORITES INCLUDING BLACK PANTHER, ROMA
Strong contenders: In 2018, Green Book’s divisive portrayal of historical racism won over Black Panther, Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, The Favourite, Roma, A Star Is Born, Vice and Bohemian Rhapsody
Favorite: Roma was the favorite to take home the award – but lost out on the night
In 2018, the feel-good film Green Book, which was lambasted by several critics for its alleged surface-level examination of racism, won Best Picture.
It was up against a strong field including Black Panther, Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, The Favourite, Roma, A Star Is Born, Vice and Bohemian Rhapsody.
The film was centered around a pianist named Dr. Don Shirley and his unlikely friendship with his driver during a road trip in the deep south at a time when segregation was at its peak.
Shirley’s relatives have since condemned the film as they stated they were not contacted by studio executives after development as they claimed the movie misrepresented the musician’s relationship with his family.
Writer and producer of the film Nick Vallelonga also recently had to apologize for a tweet he posted in 2015 as he replied to Donald Trump corroborating a story in which Trump alleged he saw people cheering in Jersey City, New Jersey on September 11, 2001 as they watched the attacks on the Twin Towers.
Lead actor in the film Viggo Mortensen also landed in hot water for using the N-word during a Q&A back in November.
Director Peter Farrelly apologized after articles from the 1990s were unearthed mentioning that he would show his penis during meetings including one with Cameron Diaz before she was cast in 1998’s There’s Something About Mary.
Despite the trials and tribulations, the filmmaker got to address the crowd at the end of the night as during his acceptance speech he said: ‘The whole story is about love.’
Earlier in the night Mahershala Ali proved he was no one hit wonder just two years after he won Best Supporting Actor for Moonlight back in 2017. The actor won the same award for the second time in his career for his role in Green Book.
1942 – CITIZEN KANE LOSES OUT ON BEST PICTURE TO HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY
Snubbed: Orson Welles starred in, co-wrote and directed the widely influential classic Citizen Kane, but he only won a shared Adapted Screenplay prize
Worthy contender: John Ford’s film How Green Was My Valley won Best Picture that year. Although it is not as influential as Kane, it has come to be regarded as a beloved American film in its own right
Oscar upsets aren’t anything new, as a best picture surprise from 1942 demonstrates.
Orson Welles’ debut directorial feature Citizen Kane — which he also co-wrote with Herman J. Mankiewicz and starred in — was applauded by many critics at the time of its release, but a campaign by newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst — the inspiration for the title character — led to consistent attacks on Welles, the film and his subsequent projects.
Although it won an Oscar for its screenplay, Citizen Kane ultimately lost out on the Best Picture trophy amid the controversy while John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley was triumphant.
Though Kane is widely regarded as the more radical and influential film, Ford’s film, about the tragedies that befall a Welsh family in a mining town, is now considered one of the greatest of American films.
Sunday’s ceremony is likely to have upsets of its own, though it stands to be seen whether they will rank among the past’s greatest head scratchers and shockers.
Oscars 2023: Full list of 95th Academy Awards nominations
All Quiet on the Western Front
Avatar: The Way of Water
The Banshees of Inisherin
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Top Gun: Maverick
Triangle of Sadness
Martin McDonagh – The Banshees of Inisherin
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert – Everything Everywhere All at Once
Steven Spielberg – The Fabelmans
Todd Field – TÁR
Ruben Östlund – Triangle of Sadness
Austin Butler – Elvis
Colin Farrell – The Banshees of Inisherin
Brendan Fraser – The Whale
Paul Mescal -Aftersun
Bill Nighy – Living
Cate Blanchett – TÁR
Ana de Armas – Blonde
Andrea Riseborough -To Leslie
Michelle Williams – The Fabelmans
Michelle Yeoh – Everything Everywhere All at Once
Best Supporting Actor
Brendan Gleeson – The Banshees of Inisherin
Brian Tyree Henry – Causeway
Judd Hirsch – The Fabelmans
Barry Keoghan – The Banshees of Inisherin
Ke Huy Quan – Everything Everywhere All at Once
Best Supporting Actress
Angela Bassett – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Hong Chau – The Whale
Kerry Condon – The Banshees of Inisherin
Jamie Lee Curtis – Everything Everywhere All at Once
Stephanie Hsu – Everything Everywhere All at Once
Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson, and Ian Stokell – All Quiet on the Western Front
Rian Johnson – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Kazuo Ishiguro – Living
Screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie, story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks – Top Gun: Maverick
Sarah Polley – Women Talking
Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Martin McDonagh – The Banshees of Inisherin
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert – Everything Everywhere All at Once
Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner – The Fabelmans
Todd Field – TÁR
Ruben Östlund – Triangle of Sadness
Best Animated Feature Film
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Marcel the Shell With Shoes On
Puss In Boots: The Last Wish
The Sea Beast
Best International Feature Film
All Quiet on the Western Front
The Quiet Girl
Best Documentary Feature
All That Breathes
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
Fire of Love
A House Made of Splinters
Best Film Editing
Mikkel E.G. Nielsen, The Banshees of Inisherin
Matt Villa and Jonathan Redmond, Elvis
Paul Rogers, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Monika Willi, TÁR
Eddie Hamilton, Top Gun: Maverick
James Friend – All Quiet on the Western Front
Darius Khondji – Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths
Mandy Walker – Elvis
Roger Deakins – Empire of Light
Florian Hoffmeister – TÁR
Best Costume Design
Mary Zophres – Babylon
Ruth E. Carter – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Catherine Martin – Elvis
Shirley Kurata – Everything Everywhere All at Once
Jenny Beavan – Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Heike Merker and Linda Eisenhamerová – All Quiet on the Western Front
Naomi Donne, Mike Marino, and Mike Fontaine – The Batman
Camille Friend and Joel Harlow – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Mark Coulier, Jason Baird, and Aldo Signoretti – Elvis
Adrien Morot, Judy Chin, and Anne Marie Bradley – The Whale
Best Production Design
Christian M. Goldbeck and Ernestine Hipper – All Quiet on the Western Front
Dylan Cole, Ben Procter, and Vanessa Cole – Avatar: The Way of Water
Florencia Martin and Anthony Carlino – Babylon
Catherine Martin, Karen Murphy, and Bev Dunn – Elvis
Rick Carter and Karen O’Hara – The Fabelmans
Best Music (Original Song)
“Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman, music and lyrics by Dianne Warren
“Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick, music and lyrics by Lady Gaga and BloodPop
“Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, music and lyrics by Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler, and Ludwig Goransson
“Naatu Naatu” from RRR, music by M.M. Keeravaani, lyrics by Chandrabose
“This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once, music by Ryan Lott, David Byrne, and Mitski, lyrics by Ryan Lott
Best Music (Original Score)
Volker Bertelmann – All Quiet on the Western Front
Justin Hurwitz – Babylon
Carter Burwell – The Banshees of Inisherin
Son Lux – Everything Everywhere All at Once
John Williams – The Fabelmans
Viktor Prášil, Frank Kruse, Markus Stemler, Lars Ginzel, and Stefan Korte – All Quiet on the Western Front
Julian Howarth, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Dick Bernstein, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, and Michael Hedges – Avatar: The Way of Water
Stuart Wilson, William Files, Douglas Murray, and Andy Nelson – The Batman
David Lee, Wayne Pashley, Andy Nelson, and Michael Keller – Elvis
Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon, and Mark Taylor – Top Gun: Maverick
Best Visual Effects
Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller, Markus Frank, and Kamil Jafar – All Quiet on the Western Front
Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon, and Daniel Barrett – Avatar: The Way of Water
Dan Lemmon, Russell Earl, Anders Langlands, and Dominic Tuohy – The Batman
Geoffrey Baumann, Craig Hammack, R. Christopher White, and Dan Sudick – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Ryan Tudhope, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson, and Scott R. Fisher – Top Gun: Maverick
Best Animated Short Film
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse
The Flying Sailor
My Year of Dicks
An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake, and I Think I Believe It
Best Live Action Short Film
An Irish Goodbye
The Red Suitcase
Best Documentary Short
The Elephant Whisperers
How Do You Measure a Year?
The Martha Mitchell Effect
Stranger at the Gate
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