8 Famous Mistakes Made On Oscar Night

When spring is in the air, that usually means that award season has officially begun, and Hollywood stars look forward to perhaps the most important awards ceremony, the Academy Awards. Every A-list entertainer will be dressed impeccably with perfect hair and flawless makeup to match, and for most, the excitement of the evening will come from walking down the 50,000-square-foot red carpet. Those who were fortunate enough to receive an Oscar nomination will wait with bated breath for that special envelope and the announcement of their category's winner. With all their hard work done, now all they can do is wait to find out if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) finds them worthy of a little gold statue.

In addition to all the excitement surrounding the Oscars, there have been some unfortunate mishaps in the past. Here are a few of the biggest mistakes made during the Academy Awards over the years.

John Travolta got Idina Menzel's name wrong

John Travolta is a Hollywood icon. The actor, producer, singer, and dancer has done it all in the entertainment industry. We've watched him transform in roles as the king of the dance floor in "Saturday Night Fever," a high school bad boy in "Grease," a broken-hearted cowboy trying to find his way in "Urban Cowboy," and a hitman in "Pulp Fiction," per his IMDb page.

But Travolta hasn't nailed every project of which he's been a part. In 2014, Travolta was introducing actress and singer Idina Menzel at the Oscars, before the "Frozen" star was set to perform her hit song "Let It Go." Unfortunately, he introduced her as "the wickedly talented, one and only, Adele Dazeem," per Entertainment Weekly.

Fortunately, Menzel turned the flub into a winning situation. "It was the greatest thing that ever happened," she told the New York Post. "He's written so many nice, apologetic emails. He's so kind. To make up for it, he would just fly wherever at this point, he's so sweet. I just always say, 'No worries because it was the best thing that ever happened!'"

Brad Pitt mispronounced Maria Bakalova's name

Brad Pitt has been nominated for seven Academy Awards over the course of his career and has two golden statues to his name. He produced and played Samuel Bass in "12 Years a Slave," which won Best Picture in 2014, and his performance as Cliff Booth in Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" earned him his first Oscar for acting in 2020. So, it makes sense that he'd return to the podium the following year to announce the award for best actress in a supporting role at the 93rd Academy Awards.

The typically calm and cool actor nailed the introductions for most of the nominees but missed the mark when it came to announcing Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova. He mistakenly called her Maria Bakalava, as noted by Hollywood Life. The actress seemed understanding of the error, as she appeared to blush in response to the mishap.

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope

The 89th Academy Awards was another night to remember, with host Jimmy Kimmel keeping the laughs coming. There were a few surprises too — including a plot twist to close out the night. Acting icons Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were on stage announcing the final award of the night: the coveted best picture category. It appeared that everything was going well ... until it wasn't. USA Today reported that Beatty somehow received the envelope for best actress instead of the envelope for best picture, announcing "La La Land" as the big winner. It was "Moonlight" that had actually won.

Beatty was beside himself as he explained the mishap to the crowd after everything was cleared up. "I wanted to tell you what happened. I opened the envelope, and it said, 'Emma Stone, La La Land.' That's why I took such a long look at Faye, and at you. I wasn't trying to be funny."

Sam Smith claimed that 'no openly gay man had won an Oscar'

Singer and songwriter Sam Smith is known for their powerful vocals, and in 2016, Smith won the Academy Award for best original song with "Writing's on the Wall" from the film "Spectre." During their impassioned acceptance speech, they erroneously proclaimed (via The Guardian), "I read an article a few months ago by Sir Ian McKellen and he said no openly gay man had won an Oscar."

In a later interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," the "Stay with Me" singer blamed the incident on an overindulgence of alcohol. "It all started with a hip flask ... of tequila," Smith told DeGeneres. "We thought we had no chance of winning at all, so I was just like, let's get the party started ... and then we won." He continued, "I went up and I mucked up my speech. ... I basically said I was the first gay person to ever win an Oscar. And I obviously know I'm not, but my brain and my mouth didn't work together."

Jennifer Lawrence tripped up the stairs

In 2013, Jennifer Lawrence tripped up the stairs while on her way to the stage to accept the best actress award for her role in "Silver Linings Playbook." She spoke about the Academy Award and the embarrassing moment in 2020 on Heather McMahan's "Absolutely Not" podcast. "I was ready for it. I was very nervous and also very superstitious. I didn't want to acknowledge the possibility that I would win. I didn't want to write down a speech. I had everything in my head. I was very, very nervous but I was ready," she shared. "All of the adrenaline clears out and they call my name and I'm elated and I'm in shock. And then I fell, and it erased everything from my mind. My full brain went blank. I can look back at it now fondly but for a very long time the fall thing was very sensitive."

She is not the only starlet to do this. Barbra Streisand tripped during the Oscars in 1969, when going to accept the best actress award for her role in "Funny Girl" (via Variety). The award was Streisand's first Oscar and was shared with Katharine Hepburn for her role in "The Lion in Winter."

And what goes up, must come down, as Rami Malek took a tumble off the stage after accepting the Academy Award for best actor for his role as Freddie Mercury in "Bohemian Rhapsody" in 2019.

Sammy Davis Jr. announced the wrong winner

According to Esquire, in 1964, the legendary Sammy Davis Jr. was given the wrong envelope before presenting the award for best original score for an adaptation or treatment during the 36th Academy Awards. The "Candy Man" singer erroneously announced John Addison as the winner for "Tom Jones." This category did not even include Addison as a nominee. The award was supposed to go to Andre Previn for "Irma La Douce," as noted by Time.

After realizing the error, the quick-witted crooner showed off his comedic skills with his witty comeback to the egregious error. "They gave me the wrong envelope," he stated. "Wait 'till the NAACP hears about this." The crowd applauded his efforts, as Davis was given another envelope and took out his glasses. He said, "I ain't gonna make no mistake this time." He went on to announce Andre Previn for "Irma La Douce," and all was right in the entertainment world again.

Meryl Streep dropped her acceptance speech

Meryl Streep is no stranger to accepting awards. The actress is a three-time Oscar winner and has received many nominations over the years. Just three years after winning an Academy Award as a supporting actress for her role as Joanna Kramer in "Kramer vs. Kramer," she was back at it again. In 1983, Streep took her second trip to the podium at the 55th Academy Awards for her role as Zofia "Sophie" Zawistowski in "Sophie's Choice."

Presenter Sylvester Stallone announced the marvelous Meryl Streep as the winner. After accepting the award, she quickly realized that she dropped the acceptance speech. Quickly, the actress recovered the prized paper, only for Sylvester Stallone to generously try to take it from her, believing it to be garbage. Streep then exclaimed, "It's my speech," and the two actors shared a laugh, along with the audience. She then composed herself and went on to deliver her acceptance speech.

Neil Patrick Harris had trouble pronouncing some names

In 2015, Neil Patrick Harris hosted the Academy Awards, and the multi-talented entertainer did it all from singing to dancing to stripping down to his underwear. Harris even poked fun at John Travolta for mispronouncing Idina Menzel's name (via Entertainment Weekly), saying, "Benedict Cumberbatch is not only the most awesome name in show business, it's also the sound you get when you ask John Travolta to pronounce 'Ben Affleck.'"

But Harris soon discovered that the task of announcing names on live TV isn't as simple as it seems. Harris botched a handful of names that night — four to be exact: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Chris Pratt, Margot Robbie, and David Oyelowo, according to Entertainment Tonight.

In response to a HuffPost question about one day returning to host, Harris told the outlet months after his hosting gig, "I don't know that my family nor my soul could take it. It's a beast. It was fun to check off the list, but for the amount of time spent and the understandable opinionated response, I don't know that it's a delightful balance to do every year or even again."