The excitement of award shows comes from never knowing what will happen next. Anything might happen an unexpected winner, a moving acceptance speech from an unlikely candidate, or a humorous gaffe.
Since the Emmys have never been the most exciting awards show, this Sunday’s broadcast could end up being a low-key event, but the fun of it is that we won’t know for sure until it actually takes place. Who can say? It’s possible that Lena Dunham may put a headlock on Giuliana Rancic on the red carpet.
Here are the 18 most startling moments in the history of award shows to honor the impromptu nature of the most memorable ones (and maybe bring about something interesting at the Emmys, The Secret-style). We had no way of anticipating their arrival. View our comprehensive coverage of the Emmy Awards here.
1. Marlon Brando Turns Down an Academy Award
In 1973, the Academy Award for Best Actor went to Marlon Brando. However, he had Native American activist Sacheen Littlefeather withdraw the award on his behalf in order to make a statement against Hollywood’s treatment of indigenous people. The outrage that would have ensued if Leonardo DiCaprio had done this for The Revenant is beyond comprehension.
2. The “Sensational Bass Toss” of Krist Novoselic
Nirvana’s bassist Krist Novoselic tossed his guitar into the air and missed the catch during their 1992 MTV Video Music Awards performance because his amp had gone out. He was hit in the head by the bass, fell to the ground, rolled over, and eventually staggered offstage. The set was then trashed by Kurt Cobain, while Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters ran up to the microphone and mocked Guns N’ Roses frontman, Axl Rose.
3. Onyx is Very Critical of Their Own Work
This is a crazy but less well-known awards show incident that occurred before the widespread availability of television and social media. Sticky Fingaz, a member of the Queens gangsta rap group Onyx, famously brandished a firearm onstage during a performance of “Throw Ya Gunz” at the 1994 Source Awards. The Emmys would never allow such a thing to happen.
4. Apple Encourages Listeners to “Go With Yourself” in her Songs
Iconic singer-songwriter Fiona Apple received a Video Music Award in 1997, but she declined to give an acceptance speech because she felt “this world is bulls—.” She told the young people in the audience not to be tricked by the actress’s seeming elan and to “go with yourself.” The sincerity and intensity of her plea will always stick with me.
5. Tim Commerford’s Rage Takes Flight
During Limp Bizkit’s acceptance speech for Best Rock Video at the 1999 Video Music Awards, Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford stormed onstage, climbed the set, and refused to come down in protest at his band’s loss to the nü-metal knuckleheads. Once security had him under control, he spent the night in jail. There was talk that his antics were a factor in the band’s eventual dissolution the year after they happened.
You can also take a look at other information we have got from Award shows:
- French Thriller Anatomy of a Fall Won the Cannes Film Festivals Palme d Or Award
- 58th ACM Awards 2023: Who Recieves the Maximum Nomination?
6. Michael Jackson “Accepts” an Imaginary Award
On the occasion of the 2002 Video Music Awards, which fell on Michael Jackson’s 44th birthday, MTV presented him with a trophy and had Britney Spears deliver a few words. She introduced him by calling him “the artist of the millennium.” He then stepped forward to accept the title of “Artist of the Millennium.” To be fair, if I were as high as MJ was, I could mistakenly believe I had won an award if someone presented me with a trophy and asked me to do a speech.
7. Britney Spears Makes Everyone Concerned
Previously her possibly terrifying performance of “Gimme More” in 2007, Britney Spears has been shocked at the VMAs previously. Highlights included her dancing with a python and kissing Madonna. The singer was in the midst of a disastrous year that everyone could see.
She had gotten out of shape and was acting strangely. We kept asking, “Where is Britney?” because of her clumsy performance. Is she alright? But now that she’s healed, her performance at the 2016 Video Music Awards was flawless.
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