The Secret Behind John Cena's Bizarre Oscars Nude Stunt

The Secret Behind John Cena's Bizarre Oscars Nude Stunt
Image credit: ABC, Legion-Media

There was a lot of negotiation between ABC's legal department and the Oscar producers about the bit.


  • John Cena's naked walk at the Oscars was the most memorable moment of the ceremony.
  • At the request of the legal team, producers made sure the actor wasn't actually naked.
  • Network executives were terrified that something could go wrong during the stunt.

The 96th Academy Awards took place a few days ago, but people around the world are still talking about it. From Oppenheimer's highly anticipated wins to Ryan Gosling's I'm Just Ken performance, there was plenty to talk about. However, it's probably John Cena's tribute to the 1974 Oscar streaker that has sparked the most discussion.

The Fast X and Argylle actor somewhat embarrassingly took the stage naked, with only a large Oscar envelope covering his pelvic area, to announce the winner in what was ironically the Best Costume Design category. Poor Things' Holly Waddington won the award, but that's not what people will remember about it.

The FCC Restrictions

Interestingly, ABC's legal department was initially opposed to having a naked John Cena on the Oscars stage, as network executives feared a potential fine from the Federal Communications Commission, which still prohibits nudity on live television. Fortunately, Oscars producers and the Standards and Practices team found some wiggle room. The actor was transformed into a real-life Ken doll without any indecent protrusions.

'A bulge cannot be showing, and you can't show crack. It was also, "What happens if he drops that card?" So, we made sure that, for all intents and purposes, he looked like a Ken doll up front,' Rob Mills, a Walt Disney TV executive, revealed in an interview.

So Cena wore some kind of thong that covered both his crotch and his butt, making him a real-life Ken. And to make it even safer, the envelope was attached to him with Velcro.

A Terrifying Moment

Apparently, the legal team would have preferred Cena to be the Merman Ken he played in Greta Gerwig's Barbie, because that doll definitely doesn't have any naughty features. Jimmy Kimmel, who hosted the 96th Academy Awards, later commented on the stunt, saying that no comedy bit has ever been scrutinized by the authorities more than John Cena's naked walk.

'Once they realized we were not going to take no for an answer, there were intense discussions about the size of the envelope, whether we needed to Velcro it to John's body. And we had to fill his crack and have socks. And various testicalia were discussed,' Kimmel said. 'We taped everything down. We glued everything that can be glued. And when it came time for him to walk out – live, by the way, there's no way to edit this – the executives were terrified.'

Fortunately, nothing shocking happened and the ceremony went smoothly after that. But Cena's somewhat naked appearance spiced up the event.

Sources: Variety, YouTube.

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