Awkward awards show moments

I found this clip from the 1975 Country Music Awards, the one where a highly drunk/high Charlie Rich sets fire to the envelope with the winner’s names. There is so much awkward in this clip: Charlie’s rambling speech, reaction shots in the wrong order, people whispering in the audience, and truly awesome hair and outfits. What other award show moments stick in your mind?

1974’s Oscars, when a streaker flashed across the stage while David Niven was presenting. Niven had the presence of mind to deadpan: “The only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping … and showing his shortcomings.”

how about sarah silverman dying onstage at the 2007 VMAs?

or jennifer lawrence falling at this year’s oscars.

then there’s kanye west interrupting taylor swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 VMAs.

what about this lovely offering from fiona apple during the 1997 mtv awards?

hmm, this is fun!

Patty Duke, 1970 Emmys

Anna Nicole Smith
Courtney Love
And some clueless yokel probably ended up with an underground ticket to the Jersey Pine Barrens when he cut off The Chairman of the Board.

Does Letterman’s “Oprah … Uma” thing at the Oscars count? That was pretty cringe-inducing.

Come on, the worst was the 1977 Grammys. Stevie Wonder was to perform remotely, and the connection was quite erratic. After failing to get Wonder to hear him, host Andy Williams became exasperated and asked “Stevie, can you see me?”

Two particular instances immediately come to mind…

When Taylor Swift won Video of The Year at the 2009 VMA Awards and Kanye West came onto the stage, took the microphone from her during her giddy acceptance speech and blurted out that “Beyond had one of the best videos of ALL time!” because Beyonce’s video had lost to the young, country newcomer Swift. He was banned from the VMAs for at least a few years after that…I hate that arrogant asshole!

The other event was at the 2006 CMA (Country Music Association) Awards. Female Vocalist of The Year was being announced and the finalists were Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, Sara Evans, Faith Hill and Gretchen Wilson. All five finalists were shown in five little boxes on the screen as the winner was announced. When newcomer and recent American Idol winner Carrie Underwood was announced as the winner, Faith Hill mouthed “WHAT?” and was visibly very angry! She later tried to claim that she was just kidding, but everyone knew it was bullshit.

Not particularly awkward, but another Taylor Swift moment:

On one awards program a couple of years ago, she was playing the piano. At the end of her song, her face contorted a little, and she seemed to be mouthing something like “What?” No idea what that was all about.

This goes back a way:

At the 1979 Logies awards (Australian TV awards) the host Bert Newton was presenting with Muhammad Ali. After some banter Newton came out with his catchphrase/advertising line: “I like the boy”, not knowing that “boy” could be taken as a racial slur. Ali responded “Did he call me Roy?” and members of the audience, including Don Lane, shouted to Newton to say “Yes, Roy”. Newton looked puzzled and later explained to the media that he did not realise that “boy” was used as a racial slur. Ali at least realised Newton’s use was unintended and they kissed and made up. Newton also made light of the incident by saying: “I’ll change my name, my religion … anything.”, referring to Ali’s change of name from Cassius Clay when he adopted Islam in 1964.

British Comedy Award 2011

Freddy Starr turns up to present the Breakthrough Artist Award and is astoundingly stinking drunk. Despite the horrifically awkward embarrassment of the moment, the winner (Angelos Epithemiou) handles it beautifully.

Not sure what award show this was, but Jamie Lee Curtis and Jon Lovitz groping each other was a true WTF moment.

1985 Emmy Awards - when Betty Thomas is announced as the winner (Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, for Hill Street Blues), some man comes up to the podium and claims that she couldn’t be there and he is accepting the award on her behalf - and when his speech is over, the camera shows Thomas coming to the stage. (The guy was notorious “gatecrasher” Barry Bremen.)

1991 Tony Awards - the winner of the Tony for Choreography is announced as “Lost in Yonkers, by Neil Simon”, followed by something like “Oh, my God!” as the reader realizes that the card in the envelope is for the wrong category (I think what happened was, for some reason, the card had both the correct winner and, for whatever reason, a nominee from a different category on it.)

2006 Kids Choice Awards - as Lindsay Lohan is walking up to the stage to accept an award, she briefly flashes her panties - or at least that’s what would have happened had she actually been wearing anything underneath her dress. (I don’t know if it aired on the live show; it did on David Spade’s show on Comedy Central, but the KCA rerun only showed Lohan from a distance.)

Also, I don’t know how awkward this is, but at a Teen Choice Awards a few years ago, as they were announcing the nominees, one was in his seat, and next to him were three empty chairs; almost needless to say, the one who was present won (I say that because, the way the awards worked back then, the sponsors chose the winners from the top four vote-getters, and one of the criteria was something like “how likely is it that this person will be present?”).

I had always heard that the event was staged by the producers of the show and Niven was aware it was going to happen.

It says right at the beginning it’s the American Comedy Awards from 1995.

This years Daytime Emmy Awards had a number of them from Corbin Bersen saying ‘fuck’ during the tribute to his mother Jeanne Cooper, to Aisha Tyler being handed the wrong envelope (and catching it before reading it) to Wayne Brady’s presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Monty Hall.

Everybody predicted the 2004 Tony Award for Best Musical would go to Wicked. It was a given.

When the presenter opened the envelope, a shocked look came on his face and in a WTF voice he said “Avenue Q?” There was a very awkward moment for both the Wicked people (who were already standing up ready to go on stage) and the Avenue Q people (who were sitting in their seats with mouths just dropped).

1993 VMA (I think I’m beginning to spot a trend.)

Rupaul and Milton Berle decide to go off script.


Any time Liz Taylor presented an award, it was bound to be awkward. She was frequently drunk, and VERY easily amused (her trademark was cracking up laughing for absolutely no reason, every few seconds).

I think it was the 2002 VMAs where Eminem punched Triumph, the insult comic dog.
I’m not sure if it was scripted or not, but I do believe Borat sat on Eminem’s face at, probably another VMAs.