【uno card】The 2003 Oscars revisited and remembered as the 'creepiest' in history
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The 2003 Oscars are coming under scrutiny by entertainment media ahead of Sunday's upcoming ceremony as the "creepiest" in history.
While last year's slap heard round the world was one of the most infamous moments in the ceremony's 94 years, and the controversy over "La La Land" winning and then not winning for Best Picture after actress Faye Dunaway's error may be one of the most awkward, media outlets are arguing those were not the "cringiest" the Oscars have had to offer.
"Harvey Weinstein at the height of his powers. Roman Polanski feted like a king," Rolling Stone Magazine wrote. "The 2003 Oscars was a low point in the ceremony’s 94-year history."
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"20 years later, we look back at a cringeworthy Oscars for the ages," a Los Angeles Times headline similarly said.
Several outlets have noted how much Harvey Weinstein loomed the night of March 23, 2003, years before the #MeToo movement exposed Weinstein as a sexual predator and he was found guilty of rape and sexual assault. That night, three of the five best picture nominees — "Chicago," "Gangs of New York" and "The Hours" — were released by the Disney-owned, Weinstein-led Miramax Films. "Chicago" ended up winning six Oscars.
Former film producer Harvey Weinstein appears in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 4 2022. (Etienne Laurent/Pool Photo via AP, File) (AP)
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"But never again would a single awards season feel quite so overstacked with his movies, or — in retrospect — so queasily emblematic of his chokehold on the industry that he bullied, manipulated and abused for decades," LA Times critic Justin Chang recently commented.
On top of Weinstein's wins, Roman Polanski's film "The Pianist" took home three of the coveted awards. Polanski pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1978. The audience's reaction that night was mixed, with some refusing to applaud, the LA Times noted.
Another moment that's been resurfaced this week is when Adrien Brody planted a smooch on Halle Berry as he came onstage to accept his award for Best Actor for "The Pianist."
Adrien Brody kisses Halley Berry at the 2003 Oscars. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images )
While the audience cheered at the time, Brody has since been chastised for forcing a kiss on Berry. The actress addressed the unplanned kiss during an appearance on Andy Cohen's "Watch What Happens Live!"
"I just f---ing went with it," she said. "I don't know [how the kiss was], I was too focused on what the f--- is going on."
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Other infamous honorable mentions from the 2003 Oscars include when filmmaker Michael Moore went on a tear against President George W. Bush in his acceptance speech for best documentary feature for "Bowling for Columbine." The U.S. invaded Iraq just four days earlier.
"We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reason," Moore said while holding his award. "We are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And anytime you've got the pope and the Dixie Chicks against ya, your time is up."
Roman Polanski, a French-Polish film director, producer, writer, and actor, receives Zloty Glan Award for his outstanding contribution for European cinema during the Final Gala of the 24th Cinergia European Cinema Forum in Helion Cinema, Lodz. ((Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images))
Moore received mixed reactions for the politically charged speech.
While the 95th Academy Awards aren't expected to generate as many breathless headlines, they're not without controversy. The film "To Leslie," for instance, caused a stir for its successful grassroots campaign that catapulted the small indie film to a Best Actress nomination for Andrea Riseborough.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did not directly name Riseborough or "To Leslie" in its announcement on Jan. 27 that it would be "conducting a review of the campaign procedures around this year’s nominees" to ensure campaigning was "conducted in a fair and ethical manner," adding that "social media and outreach campaigning tactics that caused concern."
Yet, Riseborough's "To Leslie" co-star Marc Maron blasted the Academy's investigation.
"Apparently, the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences, or whatever the f--- it is, has decided to investigate Andrea Riseborough's grassroots campaign to get her the Oscar nomination," Maron said on his show. "Because I guess it so threatens their system that they're completely bought out by corporate interests in the form of studios."
The Academy decided not to rescind Riseborough's nomination at the conclusion of the investigation.
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The 95th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, air Sunday on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.