The 10 Most Controversial, Awkward, and Memorable Moments from the Golden Globes

Let’s admit it: We all secretly want and wait for some kind of controversy, fashion mishap, or embarrassing moment made by the stars. Awards shows, without these moments, are just plain boring.

The Hollywood Foreign Press’ Golden Globes Awards are far looser than the more formal Academy Awards, thanks in part to the copious amounts of champagne being poured. Over the years there have been controversies, missteps and unforgettable moments at the annual honoring of the best that TV and film has to offer.

Check out these 10 most controversial, awkward, and memorable moments of the Golden Globes.

  • 10 Most Controversial, Awkward, and Memorable Moments from the Golden Globes 1 of 11
    golden globesjpg

    Which one do you remember most?


  • 2013 | Did Jennifer Lawrence Really Diss Meryl Streep? 2 of 11
    Jennifer Lawrence seen attending the 2013 Film Independent Spirit Awards held in Santa Monica, Los Angeles

    Meryl Streep is a national treasure, and you just don't diss the grand dame of film. But that's just what people thought Jennifer Lawrence did when she beat out Meryl for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical for her role in Silver Linings Playbook. When the 22-year-old actress won her award she stated, "I beat Meryl!" But as it turns out, Jennifer Lawrence was quoting a great movie line.


    "It's never a good idea for me to wing it, but it was a quote from First Wives Club!" Lawrence said to David Letterman. "Bette Midler was talking about a Globe — I can't believe nobody has ever done it before — where she says, 'Look what it says, it says I beat Meryl.'"

  • 2013 | Jodie Foster Comes Out 3 of 11
    Jodie Foster attends "The Beaver" photo call during the 64th Cannes Film Festival

    After years of public speculation, Jodie Foster finally came out to the world during her acceptance speech at the 2013 Golden Globes.  It was a move she didn't need to do, but it must have been a relief to just end all the gossip and rumors. When she took the stage to accept her Cecil B. Demille award she stated:

    "While I'm here being all confessional, I just have the sudden urge to say something I've never been able to air in public. A declaration that I'm a little nervous about. Not quite as nervous as my publicist, huh, Jennifer? But uh, you know, I'm just going to put it out there. Loud and proud. I'm going to need your support. I am — single! [...] I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago, back in the Stone Age. In those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends, and family, coworkers and then gradually, proudly, to everyone who knew her."

    And while most welcomed her honesty and low-key announcement, making an announcement like this will always be met with some controversy.

  • 2012 | Ricky Gervais Insults Hollywood 4 of 11
    Ricky Gervais during the Millies Awards at The National Maritime Museum in London

    Ricky Gervais was ALL about controversy when he hosted the Golden Globes not once, not twice, but three times.  During his hosting hours he managed to offend not just the stars, but also the producers of the Golden Globes and a large percentage of viewers watching at home.


    "To be the most feared man in Hollywood for three hours is so much fun," he said of the gig. "But to be honest, it was such a tiny part of my life. I looked on it as three hours work. The next morning, I was back writing a show or standup again."


    Ricky Gervais won't be gracing the Golden Globes stage again (unless he is merely presenting or winning an award). The president of the Hollywood Foreign Press said of Gervias' last hosting gig,  "He definitely crossed the line. And some of the things were totally unacceptable. But that's Ricky."

  • 2010 | The Tourist Nominations 5 of 11
    Johnny Depp attends the photocall for his new film "The Tourist" held at the Hotel Excelsior in Rome

    In 2010, award watchers were confused that the Johnny Depp/Angelina Jolie vehicle The Tourist was nominated for three Golden Globes while the more critically acclaimed film True Grit by the Coen Brothers didn't get a single one. In fact, The Tourist was considered a "notorious flop."


    Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais addressed the controversy saying, "I'd like to quash this ridiculous rumor going round that the only reason The Tourist was nominated was so the Hollywood Foreign Press could hang with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. That is rubbish." He then quipped, "That is not the only reason — they also accepted bribes."

  • 2009 | Jack Nicholson Almost Moons the Audience 6 of 11
    Jack Nicholson continues to enjoy his visit to London with a trip to the exclusive San Lorenzo restaurant

    Jack Nicholson is quite the mischievous fellow, so it doesn't come as a surprise that he would do something edgy when being honored with a great big award. In 2009 Jack received the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award and in response he faux mooned the audience. Thankfully he had the good sense to keep his pants on, but the controversial gesture was still there.

  • 2008 | Writers’ Strike Affects Golden Globes 7 of 11
    "CSI" star William Petersen supports the Writer's strike in front of the Universal Studios this afternoon

    In 2008, there was a massive writers' strike, and actors and actresses were very supportive of their co-workers. After all, the writers are the ones that give the stars their words and onscreen personalities. The 2008 award shows was devoid of the stars, who did not attend in respect to the writers. The show was still televised and consisted of hosts reading the names of the nominees and — without fanfare — the winners. Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Jorge Camara said in an announcement:

    "We are all very disappointed that our traditional awards ceremony will not take place this year and that millions of viewers worldwide will be deprived of seeing many of their favorite stars celebrating 2007's outstanding achievements in motion pictures and television. We take some comfort, however, in knowing that this year's Golden Globe Award recipients will be announced on the date originally scheduled."

  • 1998 | Christine Lahti’s Badly Timed Bathroom Break 8 of 11
    Christine Lahti at 'The Avengers' premiere at Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York

    When you have to go, you have to go. But there are moments when it'd actually be better to just hold it for a little bit longer, like when your category is coming up at an awards show. At the 1998 Golden Globes, Chicago Hope star Christine Lahti was in the bathroom when her name was announced as the winner of Best Actress in a TV Series.  Michael J. Fox stalled a bit before Robin Williams took to the stage to fill the time until Lahti could run to the stage to accept the award.

  • 1981 | Was Pia Zadora’s Win Purchased? 9 of 11

    Back in 1981, the actress Pia Zadora won the Golden Globe for New Star of the Year for her role in Butterfly. What makes this win suspicious is that she also won a Razzie for Worst Actress for the exact same role. How could that happen?


    Apparently there has been speculation that her Golden Globe was purchased in a way. At the time she was married to billionaire Meshulam Riklis who not only launched an expensive ad campaign in support of his wife but reportedly gave the Hollywood Foreign Press Association members lavish trips. Zadora addressed the rumors saying: "When Rik (her husband) told me the press claims we bought off the judges, I felt so bad that I was sorry I won. It hurts me terribly, and it's not true."


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  • 1979 | Oliver Stone’s Winning Rant 10 of 11
    Director Oliver Stone attends the premiere of "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" in Madrid

    Director Oliver Stone stirred up some major controversy when he won the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay in 1979 for Midnight Express. When he took the stage he went off on the United States' drug laws declaring that "the U.S. is putting people in jail for being high."  After the audience began to boo Stone and Chevy Chase tried to coax him off the stage, security came and escorted him from the stage. Over the years he won four other Golden Globes, but none of his acceptance speeches were as wild as that one. 

  • 1958 | The Rat Pack Takes Over 11 of 11

    During the first televised Golden Globes back in 1958, the event was getting pretty dull with journalists from the Hollywood Foreign Press doing the hosting honors. The Rat Pack — including Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and the one and only Frank Sinatra — decided to liven up the event and rushed the stage and took over the hosting duties themselves!


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