Worst Use of Sign Language at an Awards Show

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In 1976, Best Actress winner Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) signed her acceptance speech to her deaf parents. The Academy decided that her presentation was "cute," so during the 1977 ceremony, Debby Boone was scheduled to perform her Oscar-nominated song "You Light Up My Life" accompanied onstage by 11 young girls from the John Tracy Clinic for the Deaf who signed the lyrics as she sang. Eagle-eyed viewers, however, noted that each girl seemed to be signing a different song. It was later revealed that at the last minute a group of (non-Deaf) students from the nearby Torrence Elementary School had been recruited instead, and they had been signing gibberish.

This post was excerpted from Kara Kovalchik's '6 Odd Moments in Oscar History.'

March 7, 2010 - 3:10pm
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