The most toe-curling award ceremony moments

After Zendaya ‘swerves’ Paul Mescal’s gentlemanly gesture, FEMAIL recalls the most toe-curling award ceremony moments

  • FEMAIL has rounded up the most infamous moments from award ceremonies
  • Read more: SAG Awards 2023: Zendaya SWERVES Paul Mescal’s offer of a gentlemanly arm 

Live TV means anything can happen, and with the eyes of the world on them, even the most famous people in the world can get feel nervous.

This is never more apparent than at lavish awards ceremonies, where celebrities are often caught off-guard proving that underneath the glitz and glamour, they really are just like us. 

Last night’s SAG Awards was no exception as a potentially cringeworthy moment was captured between Euphoria actress Zendaya and Normal People’s Paul Mescal.

As the pair took to the stage to present an award Mescal, ever the gentleman, reached out his hand to guide the actress and let her walk in front of him. However as his hand reached out, Zendaya appeared to ‘swerve’ the gesture.

Fans were left cringing at the gaffe after it was caught on camera, but it is far from the most embarrassing moment to have been recorded at an awards ceremony, with many now-infamous incidents going down in history.

From several public tumbles (in which, luckily, no one was harmed) to announcements of the wrong winner, FEMAIL recalls the most toe-curling moments in award ceremonies that were broadcast to the world…

Jennifer Lawrence falls over at the Oscars – 2013

As Jennifer Lawrence walked up to the stage to accept her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Silver Linings, Playbook, she had a little fall which she later blamed on her billowing Dior Couture gown

When Jennifer Lawrence won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2013 for her role in Silver Linings Playbook, all eyes were on the young star.

Excited to make the most of her moment, the actress, who looked dazzling in a white Dior Couture gown, walked towards the stage to receive the gong.

However, audiences at home and in the theatre watched in horror as she stumbled on the steps while walking up to the stage.

Luckily, she was unharmed and made a very quick recovery to ascend the steps to claim her award, but not before she had a good chuckle at her own expense.

At the end of the ceremony as she was being interviewed by the world’s media, Lawrence joked that the dress itself was to blame for her tripping up.

She said: ‘I just think I stepped on the fabric and they wax the stairs…’

Lawrence also joked that, at the moment she fell, the main thing on her mind was a ‘bad word’ that she ‘can’t say’ in an interview.

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the Oscars – 2022

In a moment that will go down in Oscars history for all the wrong reasons, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock after the Oscars host and comedian made a joke likening Jada Pinkett-Smith to G.I. Jane in a dig about her having alopecia

Last year’s Oscars ceremony provided one of the most uncomfortable and shocking moments in award ceremony history, when Will Smith slapped the host Christ Rock on stage.

The Fresh Prince of Bel Air actor, who later went on to accept an award for his role in King Richard, was heard getting increasingly agitated as comedian Rock targeted Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, as the butt of one of his jokes.

He likened Pinkett-Smith to the character G.I Jane, in an apparent reference to her alopecia.

As Smith approached the stage, Rock and the audience laughed along, but before long the laughter stopped as Smith hit the host around the face.

The awkwardness didn’t stop there, after Smith sat back down and was heard screaming: ‘Get my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth!’ in the direction of the stage.

Following the shocking incident, which was widely condemned by voices across Hollywood, Smith resigned from the Academy and later accepted a 10-year ban from the awards. 

He also issued a groveling written apology to the comedian which he posted on Instagram. It read: ‘I deeply regret that my behaviour has stained what has otherwise been a gorgeous journey for all of us. I am a work in progress.’

Liam Payne’s bizarre post-Oscars interview – 2022

Following the shocking moment in which Will Smith slapped Chris Rock, Liam Payne bewildered audiences even further with his bizarre monologue on the red carpet as he chatted to Good Morning Britain

As if audiences at home weren’t perplexed enough by the altercation between Chris Rock and Will Smith, an arguably even more bizarre event happened later that evening when former One Direction star Liam Payne was interviewed on the red carpet.

Appearing live on Good Morning Britain, where UK viewers were watching first thing in the morning, the star launched into a bizarre monologue in which he talked about ‘winners’ and ‘losers’.

Perhaps even more unusual was the fact he appeared to slip into different accents while chatting to the GMB presenter – leaving fans completely bewildered. 

Payne later joked on Instagram: ‘I’m good at accents, I pride myself on them!’ He also admitted he’d had ‘a lot to drink’ before the interview.

La La Land is mistakenly announced Best Picture at the Oscars – 2017

Looking a little bit sheepish, Warren Beatty held up the card which confirmed Moonlight had won Best Picture at the 2017 Oscars, after the cast and crew of La La Land had already walked onto the stage when they thought they had won

At the end of the 2017 Academy Awards and after many stars, directors and crew members had already been celebrated for their achievements, the biggest award of the night was the only one left to announce – Best Picture.

In a year when Hollywood musical La La Land had stormed the awards circuit, many predicted it would also win Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

So when Faye Dunaway announced it had indeed won the accolade, it sounded like a fair win and the cast and crew took to the stage to gleefully accept their award.

However, in an incredibly awkward moment, and after the crew were already clutching the statue in their hands, it was announced that Moonlight had actually won the award.

As confusion ensued, Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel took to the microphone to confirm there had been a mix-up and Moonlight had, in fact, won Best Picture. 

Just to prove Moonlight definitely was the winner of the gong, Beatty held up the card confirming its win to the camera, and looked a little bit sheepish as he did so. 

John Travolta mispronounces Idina Menzel’s name at the Oscars – 2014

Idina Menzel and John Travolta appeared together at the Oscars in 2015, one year on from the Grease star’s blunder in which he announced the singer as ‘Adele Dazeem’

In the year that Disney’s Frozen became a box office sensation, the voice of the character Elsa, Idina Menzel, was in high demand.

It was no surprise that the singer and actress was booked to perform at the Oscars in 2014 – but audiences were somewhat shocked by the way she was introduced.

As John Travolta warmed up the crowd to welcome Menzel on stage, he misread the autocue and seemed unable, in the moment, to pronounce her name.

It resulted in a hilarious mix-up in which he introduced the singer as ‘Adele Dazeem’ – for which he was widely mocked online.

The following year, Travolta corrected his embarrassing mistake as he appeared onstage at the Oscars once again, but this time was joined by the singer. The pair looked friendly as they announced an award together, proving it was all water under the bridge. 

And all these years on, the musical star confirmed she has indeed Let It Go, as she filmed a TikTok video last year jumping on the trend of posting videos alongside the Ting Tings song That’s Not My Name in which she poked fun at the blunder.  

Kanye West upstages Taylor Swift at the VMAs – 2009

Is this the most memorable awards ceremony gaffe ‘of all time’? Kanye West jumped onto the stage as Taylor Swift accepted her VMA for Video of the Year, and proceeded to announce that Beyoncé’s music video for Single Ladies was better

The feud between Taylor Swift and Kanye West seems to have been raging since the beginning of time, but it actually began at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009.

As the nominees for Video of the Year went up against each other, Taylor Swift’s You Belong With Me was pitted against Beyoncé’s Single Ladies.

When Swift was announced winner of the award, she took to the stage while the arena applauded her, but some people in the audience were not quite so impressed by her win.

In a moment that has sealed itself as the most awkward in the history of the VMAs, Kanye West jumped on stage and yanked the microphone from Taylor Swift while she was halfway through her acceptance speech.

He said: ‘Taylor, I’m really happy for you, Ima let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time.’

As members of the audience were baffled by the interjection, Beyoncé herself didn’t appear to appreciate Kanye’s gesture, and looked, frankly, mortified. 

Gemma Collins falls through a trapdoor at the Radio 1 Teen Awards – 2017

Gemma Collins had to be helped back up onto the stage at the Radio 1 Teen Awards at Wembley Stadium in 2017 after she fell through a trapdoor while presenting an award to the stars of Love Island

Beloved TOWIE star and queen of memes Gemma Collins had her very own Jennifer Lawrence moment at the Radio One Teen Awards in 2017 – although her recovery wasn’t quite as quick. 

The fashionista had been enlisted to present an award to stars of Love Island and began walking on stage, only to fall straight through a trapdoor.

Thankfully, Collins wasn’t badly injured and escaped with a little bruising, but she later revealed to TV presenter Keith Lemon in 2020 that she had feared the worst during the fall.

She recalled: ‘I’m at Wembley Stadium, the crowd is screaming. I love Love Island, I was screaming ‘Love Island’, and I got so excited I spun around, not realising they’re coming from the bottom of the stage.

‘I fell on four of the Love Islanders, I nearly killed them and the cameraman started shouting ‘we’re gonna get her legs cut off, get her up!’

Collins later joked the drama had been so intense, she even wet herself. 

Madonna takes a tumble at the BRITs – 2015

Queen of Pop Madonna took a tumble during her long-awaited return to the BRITs after 20 years away, when a wardrobe malfunction meant she couldn’t undo her cape and came crashing down the steps

When the undisputed Queen of Pop was announced to be performing at the BRIT Awards in 2015, Madonna fans were buzzing with excitement.

It was to be her first performance at the ceremony in two decades as she sang new single Living For Love, and all eyes were on her as she cut a sultry figure in a red and black cape.

However, as she walked up the steps midway through her performance, the cape became the popstar’s downfall… literally.

A wardrobe malfunction struck as she failed to untie the cape from around her neck before a backing dancer yanked it away. This meant that, as the cape was pulled down, Madonna went with it and tumbled down the stairs.

Audiences in the arena and at home held their breath as they waited to see if the star was ok and, much to their relief, she soon hopped back up.

She went on to prove she is at the top of her game as she carried on with her performance like nothing had happened. 

Neil Patrick Harris is ‘videobombed’ at the Emmys – 2013 

An official (pictured, left) at the 2013 Emmy Awards was the unwitting recipient of their 15 minutes of fame, after he accidentally got in the camera’s glare while Neil Patrick Harris (pictured, right) was presenting the ceremony

While many of the awards ceremony blunders etched into people’s memories involve some of the world’s biggest stars, others are less recognisable faces.

One such character who enjoyed their 15 seconds of (albeit unwanted) fame was an official at the 2013 Emmy Awards, which were presented by Neil Patrick Harris.

In a moment that may have gone unnoticed among the audience in the theatre, viewers at home would have had a perfect view of the gentleman as he realised he was in the camera shot – but presumably, was not supposed to be.

As he looked straight into the camera while standing behind the host, he was captured making a few unsubtle side steps until he was out of the shot.

All the while, the host had no idea what was happening and carried on as normal – although he was no doubt shown the funny moment later on. 

Nicki Minaj vs Miley Cyrus at the VMAs – 2015

Rapper Nicki Minaj took Miley Cyrus to task during her acceptance speech for Best Hip Hop Video at the VMAs in 2015

Everyone loves to follow a feud between celebrities, but for the most part, they tend to keep their conflicts confined to passive-aggressive social media digs.

This wasn’t the case for rapper Nicki Minaj, who decided at the 2015 MTV VMAs to air her dirty laundry in public.

After the music video for ‘Anaconda’ won the award for Best Hip Hop video, the rapper took on Miley Cyrus during her acceptance speech. 

Turning to another part of the stage where Cyrus was standing, Minaj said: ‘And now, back to this b**** that had a lot to say about me the other day in the press the other day… Miley, what’s good?’

She had been referring to a row that had initially been sparked between herself and Taylor Swift, after which Miley told the New York Times that Minaj was ‘not very polite’. 

Taylor Swift thinks she has won a Grammy – 2014 

Musician Taylor Swift was part of another awkward awards moment in 2014, when she mistakenly thought she had won a Grammy

In another awkward moment for Taylor Swift, the singer was caught on film in a confusing mishap when she was nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys in 2014.

As her record Red was among the nominations, it was up against Daft Punk’s final album, the ever-so-slightly familiar sounding Random Access Memories.

When the winner was revealed, and as is common in awards ceremonies, the camera zoomed in on the faces of each nominee. 

But when Random Access Memories was read out, Swift was caught at an unfortunate moment, in the split second when she thought Red had been crowned winner.

Her face lights up in disbelief as she thinks Red has won, as if it’s all too good to be true.

And unfortunately, it was.

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