The year was 1973 and Marlon Brando was the obvious front-runner to win the Oscar for Best Actor. His performance in The Godfather had not only provided an important anchor to that sprawling film but it also rejuvenated his career.
No one was surprised when Liv Ullman and Roger Moore announced that Brando had won the Oscar. The shock came when a young woman named Sacheen Littlefeather approached the stage. The rest is Oscar history:
Brando had actually given Sacheen a 15-page speech that he wanted her to read from the stage. However, the show’s producers — realizing what Brando was planning — told Sacheen that, if she stayed on stage for longer than 60 seconds, she would be forcibly removed. Hence, Sacheen improvised her stage comments and then read Brando’s speech backstage. As a result of this incident, the Academy banned proxy acceptances.
As for Brando’s Oscar, Roger Moore took it home with him and kept it until, a few days later, armed guard showed up to take it back from him.