Movies + TV

The Most Awkward Moments of the 2012 Oscars

Let's face it, the Academy Awards can often seem a little sleepy; at the tail end of a long awards season, the speeches blur together, the self-congratulating starts to feel a little...inane. But on live TV, there's always the chance for an errant f-bomb, a wardrobe malfunction, or a painfully awkward dumb quote. We present the Oscars' most uncomfortable, can't-look-but-can't-look-away moments of pure cringe.  

Pain in the Ash:
E!'s red-carpet commentator Ryan Seacrest scrambled to save face, tamp down his irritation, and appear nonchalant after Sacha Baron Cohen—doing interviews in character as the fascist tyrant he plays in the May movie The Dictator—dumped an urn of "my tennis partner Kim Jong-Il's ashes" onto Seacrest's impeccable tuxedo. As Cohen was escorted away by a security guard, he managed to blurt out one of the best-timed punchlines of the evening: "Now, when people ask you who you're wearing, you can say, 'Kim Jong-Il!'" Seacrest was left improvising jokes to approaching A-listers about being "covered in Bisquick."

Going for Joke:
In his opening musical number about each of the nominees, can-do-no-wrong host Billy Crystal tried his luck with a joke about Jonah Hill's yo-yo-ing weight, singing to the actor that "if you lose tonight, I think that you should know . . . they're serving cupcakes after the show." Hill eked out a tight smile and barely managed an "I'm gonna kill you, old man" head nod.

Boob Tube:
Jennifer Lopez has taken many a nip-slip risk and come out unscathed (see: the legendary green Versace from the 2000 Grammys). But when she walked onstage to present a costume design award in a plunging Zuhair Murad gown, you could hear the whole world asking, "Is that . . .? Could that be . . .? It totally is!" And we concur. It totally was. Happy Endings star Adam Pally tweeted one of countless Twittersphere puns: "Jennifer AreoLopez".

Sound of Silence:
When film editors Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall accepted their award for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, they were, well, speechless. After many awkward seconds of bewildered delight mixed with uneasy silence, one of them finally said, "Let's get out of here." Note for next time: wait until the after-party to do whatever drug you two did in the bathroom.

Show Some Leg:
Angelina Jolie is so used to having her picture taken, she apparently thought she was supposed to strike a pose when presenting the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Vamping with a hand on her hip and a bare leg jutting through the slit in her gown, she almost seemed to be joking. But the joke was, awkwardly, on her; while Alexander Payne delivered his acceptance speech (for The Descendants), fellow winner Jim Rash silently, but not so subtly, mimicked Jolie with an identical pose. Mocking Angelina on live TV? Will Rash be working in this town again?

Plus, the most awkward moment that wasn't:
Had Nick Nolte won Best Supporting Actor, we might have been treated to a hilariously incoherent string of grunts and general confusion—rather than the gracious bit of loveliness we got from winner Christopher Plummer. Nolte, don't forget to thank your agent.

— Rachel Rosenblit

Also on
2012 Oscar Predictions: Who Will Win (and Who Should Win)
O-Face Or Oscar Host Face?
The Best-Dressed Men of the Oscars

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