Everyone in show business dreams of one day winning the Academy Award and delivering an uplifting speech at the podium. However, there have been a few instances of winners who did not attend the ceremony. From flat-out refusing to accept the award or being too busy for the show, here are the 15 Oscar winners who did not attend the ceremony:
15. The Beatles
This vast list of accomplishments by rock band Beatles is unsurpassable. Within seven years of the classic line-up of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, the band won countless awards including an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Their song Let It Be won the prestigious award in the 1971 Academy Award ceremony yet there were hardly any reasons to celebrate collectively as a group since the Beatles had broken up a year earlier. Record producer Quincy Jones accepted the award on their behalf as not even a single band member was present in the ceremony.
14. Woody Allen
The acclaimed Woody Allen is an outstanding actor, director, and writer who has been collectively nominated twenty-four times for all the mentioned categories. Despite winning four times, he never attended a single ceremony to collect his awards.
Allen insists that the concept of winning an award is “silly” and refuses to accept others’ judgment. However, he did attend the 2002 Academy Award ceremony to provide an introduction to the movies that were shot in New York to honor the city after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
13. Maggie Smith
The current generation might only know her as the actress who played Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter franchise, but Maggie Smith was one of the biggest British stars in the golden age of Hollywood.
The actress could not attend the 1970 Academy Award ceremony when she won the award for Best Actress since she was in London for a play. Smith did attend the ceremony nine years later when she won the award for Best Supporting Actress.
12. Henry Fonda
With a career spanning five decades, Henry Fonda enjoyed tremendous success as a dependable actor who could always be trusted for outstanding dramatic roles. His performance in On Golden Pond was no exception as it landed him an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Unfortunately, the actor was gravely ill and had to watch the ceremony from his home while his daughter and co-star Jane Fonda accepted the award on his behalf. Fonda passed away a mere five months later due to heart disease.
11. Stanley Kubrick
Among the greatest film-makers who have never won an Academy Award for Best Director, Stanley Kubrick is regrettably among them. However, he managed to win one for Best Special Visual Effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Kubrick did not attend the ceremony and presenter Burt Lancaster jokingly said that his Oscar would be delivered to Mars where Kubrick was scouting locations for 2002: Space Odyssey Revisited.
10. Katharine Hepburn
With four wins for Best Actress, Katharine Hepburn holds the distinction of having the most wins for the said category. However, she declined to arrive for all of her wins and nominations.
The actress has revealed that she does not believe in prizes and the only time she ever attended the ceremony was in 1974 when she presented the Irving B. Thalberg Memorial Award to producer Lawrence Weingarten.
9. George C. Scott
George C. Scott became the first actor in cinematic history to refuse an Academy Award. He firmly believed that he is not in competition with any other actor and requested his name to be withdrawn from the list of nominees upon his nomination for Best Actor for his performance in Patton.
The actor had been harshly critical of the concept of Academy Awards and even called it a “two-hour meat parade.” Despite the heavy condemnation, he still won and as expected, he did not attend the ceremony.
8. Robert De Niro
It was then-rising star Robert De Niro’s very first Academy Award nomination for his astonishing portrayal of Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather: Part II. The actor was not present as he had shooting commitments concerning Italian movie 1900.
Director Francis Ford Coppola accepted the award on De Niro’s behalf and called him an extraordinary actor who would go on to enrich the films that are made for years to come. The prediction indeed came true.