4. George C. Scott, Best Actor, Patton (1970)
Watch The Speech
Declining awards is a tool sometimes used to raise awareness about a particular issue, as Marlon Brando did upon earning an Oscar for his performance in The Godfather. Scott declined his award as a protest of the Academy itself.
He called the ceremony "a two-hour meet parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons." The second of three winners ever to decline the award, Scott was asleep with his wife on his New York farm when his name was called. When asked about his choice, he once said, ''I have to do what is valuable to me: calling my soul my own.''