Remembering The Time This Hero Streaked At The Oscars

This has to be the biggest cock-up in Oscars history.

Streaker at the Oscars
Streaker David Niven watches on

One of the biggest mix-ups in Oscars history took place last weekend, after La La Land was mistakenly named as the Best Picture winner, but it certainly wasn’t the biggest cock up the Academy Awards has ever seen.

Yes, it was embarrassing, and overshadowed what had been a pretty hilarious ceremony, but it’s by no means the most scandalous thing to ever happen at the awards.

The most notorious moment in Oscars history actually came way back in 1974, when David Niven was presenting the 46th Academy Awards alongside John Huston, Diana Ross and Burt Reynolds.

Niven was introducing Elizabeth Taylor when a naked streaker ran onto the stage behind him.

The man, one Ryan Opell, gained instant notoriety as the ‘Oscars streaker guy’ after appearing on live TV in the buff, stopping Niven in his tracks.

Getting a huge reaction from the crowd, Opell flashed the peace sign before jogging straight back off-stage again.

Ever the professional, Niven hit back with the withering put-down: “But isn’t it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?”

Niven didn’t seem best pleased at the time, but Taylor seemed to find the whole thing hilarious.

It’s a classic Oscars moment that’s sure to live in the memory years after people have forgotten about the La La Land/Moonlight cock-up.

So, when the Academy look back at the mix-up earlier this week they can breathe a sigh of relief – after all, at least no-one got naked and ran around on stage.

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Loaded staff writer Harry Fletcher has covered news, sport and entertainment for several major websites across the UK. Follow him on Twitter at @Harry__Fletcher.