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Marisa Tomei wasn’t supposed to win an Oscar: Conspiracy theory


Marisa Tomei wasn’t supposed to win an Oscar: Conspiracy theory


Marisa Tomei’s win at the 1993 Academy Awards for her role in “My Cousin Vinny” has long been the subject of a conspiracy theory that suggests she was not the intended winner and that the mistake was covered up by the Academy.

The theory can be traced back to a 1994 article in the Hollywood Reporter, which stated that there were rumors circulating in Manhattan about a supposed scandal involving Tomei’s win.

According to the conspiracy theory, during the ceremony, presenter Jack Palance found himself unable to read the name on the winner’s card.

Momentarily flustered, he instead called out the last nominee name listed on the teleprompter, which happened to be Marisa Tomei.

The theory suggests that Tomei’s win was a mistake and that the Academy subsequently covered it up.

The theory gained further traction when Observer film critic Rex Reed endorsed it in a 1997 interview with Geraldo Rivera.


Reed claimed that Palance was intoxicated during the broadcast and that the Academy assembled a “massive cover-up” for the supposed mistake.

However, the Academy denied the allegations and stated that two representatives from Price Waterhouse, the company responsible for tabulating the Oscar votes, stand ready to intervene during the show in the case of an error.

Footage from the 1993 broadcast, which is now widely available on YouTube, further discounts the theory.

While Palance does pause before announcing Tomei’s name, he is clearly reading from the winner’s card. If anything, he needed a pair of fashionable reading glasses, not a rebuke from the international film community.

Despite being easily debunked, the theory has persisted for years and continues to be included in internet roundups and explainers.

One possible reason for its persistence is that the theory is just plausible enough to be attractive.

Palance’s bumbling presentation, including his mistake in calling an Australian actress British and taking several pauses that are a bit too long, combined with Tomei’s status as a massive underdog in the category, make the theory seem reasonable to those who want to believe it.

Marisa Tomei took home the trophy for Best Supporting Actress at the 1993 Academy Awards for her performance in “My Cousin Vinny”.

At the time, Tomei was a relative newcomer with only five movies on her resume and was not considered the favorite to win.

In fact, many critics were rooting for Joan Plowright in “Enchanted April” or Vanessa Redgrave in “Howards End”.

Tomei’s win was a surprise to nearly everyone.

The rumor that Tomei’s win was a mistake began to circulate a year later and was later called “hurtful” by Tomei.

The theory suggested that there was no way that a performance in “My Cousin Vinny” could have really beaten all the serious actresses in more prestigious films.

The conspiracy theory was investigated by both Snopes and Gawker, with both publications tracing it back to the Hollywood Reporter article from 1994.

The Hollywood Reporter made it clear that it did not support the rumor, and Entertainment Weekly also reported on the theory.

However, by giving voice to whispers that most people likely hadn’t heard, the two publications helped keep the rumor mill running.

Finally, in the 1997 interview with Geraldo Rivera, Reed endorsed the theory and claimed that Palance was intoxicated and that the Academy covered up the supposed mistake.

While the evidence does not support the theory, it has persisted due to its plausible nature and the fact that Tomei was a massive underdog in the category.

In addition, the conspiracy theory has likely been fueled by the fact that other major mistakes, such as the Miss Universe 2015 incident in which Steve Harvey mistakenly announced the wrong winner, have occurred.

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