Oscar Scandals: Crowe, Russell

The latest example of damaging effects for negative publicity on Oscar prospects is Russell Crowe. In February 2002, in the midst of an expensive campaign, Crow, then the undisputed front-runner Best Actor for A Beautiful Mind, added to his already notorious bad-boy image by aggressively confronting Malcolm Gerrie, producer of the British Academy Film Awards show, over the way his acceptance speech was edited for British TV.

Crowe was angry that his recital of a poem by Patrick Kavanagh was cut from the BBC broadcast. According to witnesses, Crowe pushed Gerrie up against the wall of a storage room in London's Grosvenor House Hotel, where the aftershow party was held Sunday night, and yelled obscenities at him. While his security men stood guard, Crowe reportedly said: “I don't give a fuck who you are. Who on earth had the fucking audacity to take out the best actor's poem You fucking piece of shit, I'll make sure you never work in Hollywood.”

Crowe's studios, DreamWorks and Universal, also apologized to Gerrie. One witness said, “It was just awful. Crowe was incredibly intimidating.” Gerrie, who heads indie company Initial (which produces the show) was “a complete gentleman.” The problem arose because the show, which started at 6 p.m. overran by 30 minutes to 8:30, and the editors had to choose between Crowe's speech and Warren Beatty's acceptance of his BAFTA Arts Fellowship. That decision was made by BBC executives and not Gerrie. Crowe, who had earlier won acting kudos for his role from the Hollywood Foreign Press, later apologized, but the damage was done.