Relive the Academy Awards' worst moment

It's around this time of the year, The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, when I start ranting to anyone who'll listen - friends, family, fellow commuters - about how I still haven't gotten over Crash winning Best Picture.

Yes, it's almost Oscar time, and that means the press goes into a frenzy of reminiscing, forecasting, and dredging up precious Oscar memories for all to enjoy. 

Well, kudos to The Hollywood Reporter, who decided to go against the grain and shine pre-Oscar spotlight on the night the Academy Awards would rather forget. 

No, not Roberto Begnini jumping all over the chairs or Melissa Leo swearing, but the opening to the 1989 ceremony, starring Rob Lowe and... Snow White! Produced by beleaguered movie musical impresario Allan Carr, the 15-minute-long "spectacular" (just remember that, a quarter of an hour, if you're finding this weekend's host Seth MacFarlane's three-minute bits begin to grate), the opening number went down in history as one of the movie industry's all-time stinkers. 

If you've never been (un)fortunate enough to experience it, THR's coverage details the slow-motion, star-spangled train crash in its every excruciating detail: 

"In its review, The New York Times declared the show had earned "a permanent place in the annals of Oscar embarrassments." Carr was uniformly shunned at industry canteen Morton's the following day. Disney, which then had no stake in ABC, was furious over the unauthorized use of its copyrighted version of Snow White and filed a lawsuit against the Academy. And 17 Hollywood heavyweights -- among them Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Julie Andrews and Billy Wilder -- signed an open letter deriding the telecast as "an embarrassment to both the Academy and the entire motion picture industry."

They've also run a rather charming reminiscence from Snow White herself, the then-22-year-old aspiring actress Eileen Bowman, but as entertaining as that all is, there's nothing quite like watching it unfold in real time: 

It's like an anxiety dream, isn't it? I can only watch it in short bursts. THR's postscript is suitably bleak: "Carr, hurting from back-to-back flops Can't Stop the Music and Grease 2, never worked in Hollywood again. After years of declining health and alcohol and drug abuse, he died in 1999 of liver cancer at his home in Beverly Hills." Hooray for Hollywood!

So, let that calm you going into this weekend's festivities: as bad as whatever "edgy" gags MacFarlane has up his sleeve will surely be, they'll never, ever be as bad as 1989. 

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