Oscar Scandals: Hearts and Minds and Sinatra

An explosive incident occurred at the 1975 show, when Burt Schneider and Peter Davis were cited for their anti-Vietnam documentary, Hearts and Minds. In his acceptance speech, Schneider read a wire from a Vietcong leader: “Please transmit to all our friends in America our recognition of all they have done on behalf of peace for the application of the Paris Accords on Vietnam.”

This blatant propaganda outraged many viewers, who called NBC in anger. Consequently, Frank Sinatra, one of the show's emcees, was asked by the Academy to make the following statement: “We are not responsible for any political references made on this program tonight, and we are sorry that they are made.” This was the first time that the Academy has taken an explicit stand as an organization against propaganda voiced on its platform.

If you would like to know more about this issue, please read my book, All bout Oscar: The History and Politics of the Academy Awards(NY: Continuum International, paperback 2003).