Wildest Award Show Fails Ahead of the 2023 Emmys

The Emmys are almost here, bringing together the biggest stars in television for a glamorous night of celebrations. However, things don’t always go as planned at award shows. From awkward jokes to wardrobe malfunctions, live TV opens the door for many memorable fails.

As we anticipate what might go wrong at this year’s Emmys, let’s look back at some of the wildest award show fails from recent years.

Jo Koy’s Controversial Golden Globes Monologue

Comedian Jo Koy hosted the 2023 Golden Globes, delivering a monologue that fell flat with both the audience and viewers at home. Several of Koy’s jokes were criticized as misogynistic, including a remark about the box office hit Barbie. Koy said:

“‘Oppenheimer’ is based on a 721-page Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Manhattan Project, and ‘Barbie’ is on a plastic doll with big boobies.”

Many found this joke to be a reductive take on Barbie‘s cultural impact. Koy also made a joke at Taylor Swift’s expense, blaming his poor material on the writers. Camera shots showed Swift looking unimpressed.

Jo Koy
Jo Koy

Koy later admitted on Good Morning America that he “fell a little short” during his hosting gig. The controversial monologue serves as a reminder that award show hosts need to tread carefully. Off-color humor can tank a performance, as Koy learned the hard way.

Heidi Klum’s Painful Fall at the 2008 Emmys

Supermodel Heidi Klum suffered an embarrassing slip-up at the 2008 Emmys during a sketch with Tom Bergeron. Bergeron was supposed to dip Klum dramatically, but he accidentally dropped her. Klum fell hard on her hip, knocking the wind out of her.

Heidi Klum
Heidi Klum

Though Klum played it off gracefully, photos later showed she suffered a nasty bruise. Klum showed good humor about the incident, but the unplanned fall made for a painful and awkward TV moment. It just goes to show even the most coordinated supermodels aren’t immune to the occasional wardrobe malfunction or embarrassing tumble.

Will Smith Slaps Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars

Will Smith provided the most shocking award show moment in recent memory when he slapped Chris Rock onstage at the 2022 Oscars. The violent outburst came after Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.

Will Smith
Will Smith

Rock said, “Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.” Will Smith initially laughed but then strode onstage and smacked Rock across the face, yelling at him to keep his wife’s name out of his mouth.

The attack left viewers reeling and sparked intense debate about violence and accountability in Hollywood. Smith resigned from the Academy and was banned from the Oscars for 10 years. The slap marked an ugly flashpoint that will live on in Oscars infamy.

Jennifer Lawrence Falls Accepting Her Oscar in 2013

Jennifer Lawrence charmed viewers when she took an embarrassing spill at the 2013 Oscars. After winning Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook, a stunned Lawrence tripped on her voluminous Dior gown on her way to the stage.

Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence

She quickly recovered and got a standing ovation when she finally made her way to the mic. With self-deprecating wit, Lawrence quipped, “You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell.”

Lawrence handled the awkward moment with grace and humor, taking an embarrassing gaffe in stride. Her viral fall was a refreshing display of humanity from a poised superstar.

“La La Land” and “Moonlight” Best Picture Mix-Up

No list of infamous Oscar fails is complete without the unprecedented Best Picture fiasco at the 2017 Academy Awards. Presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway accidentally announced La La Land as the winner instead of the real winner, Moonlight.

As the La La Land producers were giving speeches onstage, the mistake became apparent. Show staff corrected the error, calling the Moonlight team to the stage and clarifying they had won Best Picture.

Beatty had accidentally been handed the wrong envelope by PriceWaterhouseCoopers staff. The mortifying mix-up will live in Oscars lore as the biggest Best Picture fail of all time.

Adrian Brody Kisses Halle Berry at the 2003 Oscars

Adrian Brody
Adrian Brody

When Adrian Brody won Best Actor at the 2003 Oscars, he showed his excitement by dipping presenter Halle Berry for a passionate kiss on live TV. Berry looked stunned as Brody embraced her and smooched her right on the mouth.

Halle Berry
Halle Berry

Years later, Berry admitted she thought, “What the f— is happening?” at that confused moment. Whatever Brody’s intentions, the ill-advised kiss made for an awkward viral sensation and controversial Oscars moment.

Kanye West Interrupts Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs

Kanye West staged one of the most notorious award show disruptions when he interrupted Taylor Swift’s 2009 VMA acceptance speech. When Swift won Best Female Video, West stormed the stage insisting Beyonce should have won for “Single Ladies.”

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift

A stunned Swift didn’t seem to know how to react as West held the microphone and proclaimed, “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ma let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time.”

West came under massive fire for humiliating Swift and hijacking her moment. The rude antics marked one of West’s many controversial awards show incidents over the years.

Britney Spears, Madonna, and Christina Aguilera’s Kiss at the 2003 VMAs

Britney Spears
Britney Spears

A three-way kiss between Spears, Madonna, and Aguilera during a racy 2003 VMAs performance sparked major buzz and backlash. In the middle of singing “Like a Virgin,” Madonna paused to plant kisses on her younger pop protegees.

Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera

Cameras cut to Justin Timberlake looking disgusted. Many criticized the stunt as a ploy for shock value and attention. However, the kiss cemented its place in popular culture as an iconic early 2000s pop culture moment.

John Travolta Mangles Idina Menzel’s Name at the 2014 Oscars

Idina Menzel
Idina Menzel

John Travolta became the butt of endless jokes when he hilariously botched Idina Menzel’s name at the 2014 Oscars. While introducing the singer’s performance of “Let It Go,” he referred to her as “the wickedly talented Adele Dazeem.”

Menzel took the silly gaffe in stride, later laughing about it with Travolta. Travolta’s goof spawned the viral meme phenomenon “Adele Dazeem.” It remains one of the most hilarious presenter fails in Oscar history.


From awkward falls to embarrassing envelope mix-ups, award shows always carry unpredictability and the potential for viral fails. As we look forward to Hollywood’s biggest night at the 2023 Emmys, these cringeworthy moments remind us that anything can happen on live television! imperfections and mistakes all add to the fun and buzz surrounding awards season.

FAQs About Award Show Fails

Q: Why do award show fails go viral?

A: Award show fails capture major awkward moments on live TV, allowing viewers to connect through the shared experience of empathy. Seeing celebrities fumble humanizes them. Fails also create buzzworthy watercooler moments.

Q: What was Will Smith’s punishment for slapping Chris Rock?

A: The Academy banned Will Smith from attending the Oscars for 10 years. He also resigned from the Academy on his own accord.

Q: How did Jennifer Lawrence react to her viral Oscar fall?

A: She handled it with grace and humor, gaining praise for her down-to-earth reaction. Lawrence refused to let the gaffe rattle or embarrass her.

Q: Who is the most controversial figure in awards show history?

A: Kanye West frequently stirred controversy over the years by interrupting acceptance speeches and lobbing insults on stage. His 2009 interruption of Taylor Swift is remembered as one of the most shocking.

Q: What changes were made after the “La La Land” and “Moonlight” Oscar mix-up?

A: PriceWaterhouseCoopers overhauled its protocols to prevent another envelope disaster. New safeguards include having presenters confirm winners before going on stage.

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