The Oscar goes far north of the border
It's Hollywood's biggest night. The Academy Awards are the most important awards in the entertainment industry and one of the biggest TV events in the world. The stars strut down the red carpet in their finest in anticipation of seeing who'll take home the coveted golden statuette — the Oscar. Since the awards were first handed out in 1929, Canada has enjoyed an impressive track record. CBC Archives pays tribute to a handful of Canadians whose Oscar recognition reverberated back home.
• With an estimated one billion people watching the Academy Awards worldwide, some have chosen that ceremony to make some lasting impressions. Perhaps the most bizarre was when during the 1973 ceremony a streaker, Robert Opal, ran across the stage and flashed a peace sign. David Niven, who was on stage at the time, made light of the situation by commenting on Opal's "shortcomings."
• When Will Rogers opened the Best Picture envelope in 1934, it led to a lot of confusion and humiliation for director Frank Capra. When Rogers announced "Come on up and get it, Frank!" Frank Capra leapt up thinking he'd won it for Lady For A Day. By the time he got to the stage, he realized the winner was Frank Lloyd for Cavalcade. A sheepish Capra returned to his seat, with what was described as the reddest face in the awards' history.
• In 1971, actor George C. Scott became the first actor to refuse an Oscar. He declined his Best Actor award saying the awards were "demeaning" and the ceremony was nothing more than "a two-hour meat parade." When his name was announced, Scott was apparently at home watching a hockey game.
• In 1972, Marlon Brando turned down his Best Actor Oscar for his performance in The Godfather. He was protesting Hollywood's discrimination against Native Americans. Brando sent a woman called Sacheen Littlefeather to decline the award on his behalf.
• In 1935, writer Dudley Nichols became the first person to refuse his Academy Award, for The Informer, because the Writers Guild was striking at the time.
• During the 1982 ceremony, Zbigniew Rybczynski, who had just won for Best Animated Short, was refused re-entry by an over-zealous guard after stepping out for a cigarette. An angry Rybczynski was arrested and thrown in jail after he attacked the security guard.
• After winning the Best Actress award in 1978, Vanessa Redgrave made a controversial speech supporting Palestinian rights.
• In 2003, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore caused controversy when he criticized President George W. Bush for the war in Iraq. Moore, who had won an Oscar for his anti-gun film Bowling for Columbine, berated Bush saying, "we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush. Shame on you."
Broadcast Date: Nov. 23, 1992
Guest(s): Archie Lang
Host: Peter Gzowski
Last updated: April 2, 2012
Page consulted on December 6, 2013
All Clips from this Topic
In the cutting room with one of Canada's most celebrated filmmakers.
The worst dressed list creator critiques Oscar fashions.
A look back at the life of Norman McLaren.
The Quebec director on his strict Catholic upbringing.
Innovative Westcam camera technology wins Canada an Oscar.
Watson Lake, Yukon celebrates its own Academy Awards.
The 11-year-old Winnipegger catapults her uncle into the limelight.
An Oscar nod to Canadian filmmakers and films.
Chippewa residents give the Oscar winning director the red-carpet trea...
The Edmonton native receives the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
The Academy recognizes Canada's Alias/Wavefront and its innovative May...
The Canadian director on being nominated for his third Oscar.
The three-time nominated director chases the golden statuette.
Glowing in the aftermath of Barbarian Invasions' Oscar win.
A behind the scenes look at how the Academy votes.
It's Hollywood's biggest night. The Academy Awards are the most import...