The 43rd Academy Awards were presented on 15 April 1971 in Los Angeles. It was on that occasion that George C. Scott became the first actor in history to reject an Academy Award.
Namely, even though he refused the Oscar nomination for his leading role in the movie Patton (1970), he won it anyway. However, when the Awards were held, he shocked Hollywood and stood by his earlier choice.
In a letter to the Motion Picture Academy, Scott explained this choice by claiming he didn’t feel as being in competition with other actors.
However, elsewhere he claimed that the Awards are “a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons” and that he wants no part of them.
He also once stated “What I hate is the whole superstructure and the phony suspense and the crying actor clutching the statue to his bosom (…) It’s all such a bloody bore.”
Scott, however, didn’t turn down the New York Film Critics Award for his performance in the film. His wife Colleen Dewhurst claimed Scott said it was the only film award worth having.
Scott’s Oscar was later put on display at the Virginia Military Institute museum in Lexington, Virginia. He allegedly gave instructions to have it displayed at the General George Patton Museum of Leadership in Fort Knox, Kentucky, but this did not come to pass since there was no written document that would confirm it.