As we approach the Oscars, you’re bound to be inundated with articles and tidbits about the glamour, glitz, celebrities and various minutiae of what is the most important Award Ceremony of them all. We’re going to give you a different spin on the event, as we shed light on the dark side of some Oscar winners and nominees through the years.
Mel Gibson won two Oscars in 1996 for “Braveheart,” taking home the prize for Best Film (as one of the producers) and for directing. Few though have gone from such a high point to becoming a sick joke, as his high profile arrest and horrendously anti-Semitic statements turned him into a pariah.
Gig Young won an Oscar in 1968 for Best Supporting Actor for “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” Ten years later, he shot and killed his new wife and then took his own life. Years of alcohol and drug abuse were said to be to blame.
Few have had a roller coaster career like Robert Downey Jr. He was nominated for Best Actor in 1993 for “Chaplin” and Best Supporting Actor in 2009 for “Tropic Thunder,” but the years in between included a stint in jail for drug possession.
Roman Polanksi has been nominated five times, and finally won in 2003 for directing “The Pianist.” To this day though, he can’t step foot in the United States due to a rape scandal and his fleeing the country to avoid what would have likely been a lengthy jail term.
Although not necessarily a crime per se, one of the oddest moments in Oscar history came in 2000 when Angelina Jolie won Best Support Actress for “Girl, Interrupted.” Upon winning, she gave her brother a full kiss on the lips that seemed to some to be incestuous. Not surprisingly, she denies that it was anything but innocent.
Legendary director Elia Kazan was a seven-time nominee, winning twice, and in 1999 was given a special Honorary Oscar as well. That one caused a great deal of controversy, as many have never forgiven him for his “naming names” during the infamous Hollywood blacklist of the ‘40s and ‘50s, when many film professionals were unable to work due to supposed Communist ties. Think this issue isn’t still current? Bryan Cranston is up for Best Actor this year for playing “Trumbo,” based on the life of blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo.
Nick Nolte has been nominated for an Oscar three times, but for some, the incredibly unflattering mug shot he took following his arrest in 2002 for DUI is the first thing that comes to mind.
The Oscars are a massive international event, and usually pretty entertaining to watch. This year when you watch Leo, Kate, Jennifer, Matt and company bask in their glory, feel free to remember that not all that glitters is gold.