Video: Oscars fumble the Best Picture call

“I wasn’t trying to be funny,” presenter Warren Beatty insisted as the Academy Awards producers tried to unwind the confusion on stage. Beatty’s co-presenter Faye Dunaway had announced La-La Land as the Best Picture at the end of the traditionally interminable Oscars show after Beatty hesitated when looking at the envelope. After taking the stage, La-La Land producer Jordan Horowitz realized Dunaway had named the wrong film. Moonlight actually won the Oscar, and the audience was left stunned. “This is not a joke,” Horowitz said, which was good, because Beatty and host Jimmy Kimmel were the only ones laughing.


Paging Steve Harvey — Mr. Harvey, please pick up the gold courtesy phone

Horowitz looked as chagrined and upset as one would imagine. He yanked the Best Picture card out of host Beatty’s hand to get Moonlight‘s team up to the stage, holding up their win for the camera. Horowitz seemed to be the only one on stage taking it seriously and doing something about the gaffe, while offering graciously to hand the Oscar to the real winners. If nothing else, perhaps the Academy might consider putting Horowitz in charge of next year’s show.

The Washington Post called it “bizarre”:

In a shocking upset combined with a bizarre blunder, “Moonlight,” a spare, quiet character study of a young black man at war with his own sexuality, won best picture at Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony.

Presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway had originally announced anticipated favorite “La La Land” as the winner of the night’s biggest award. But midway into that production team’s acceptance speeches, an Oscars staffer with a headset appeared on stage and whispered news to “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz. Horowitz then rushed to the microphone. “There’s been a mistake,” he said. “ ‘Moonlight,’ you guys won.”

Beatty came to the microphone again and offered an explanation: his cue card, he said, had the name of “La La Land” best actress winner Emma Stone on it, so the duo decided to announce that picture as the winner.

In a surreal scene, the stage filled with cast and crew of both films, as confused viewers at home and in the Dolby Theater tried to figure out if they were privy to an unprecedented foul-up or an elaborate joke.


So what happened? Someone handed Beatty the wrong envelope; the envelope he had on stage was for Best Actress, which Emma Stone won for La-La Land. That award had already been given out, though, so it’s not at all clear as to why an opened envelope got handed out a second time. Beatty tried to explain that he and Dunaway saw Stone’s name on the card, and Dunaway announced that film the winner anyway, rather than ask for the correct envelope. By the time anyone knew something was amiss, the cast and producers of La-La Land were on the stage, just in time for a humiliating climb-down.

Oh, and there are also reports that the Oscars ceremony got political at times, criticizing the new Trump administration. We didn’t need Beatty pulling a card out of an envelope to predict that, but we can now be sure that the big story coming out of Hollywood today won’t be the Bravery Of Speaking Your Mind In An Auditorium Filled With People Who Think Just Like You Do.

That wasn’t the only gaffe last night from the Academy … and this one is actually more embarrassing (via Allahpundit):

An Australian movie producer has said she is “devastated” that her photo was accidentally included in the Oscars’ In Memoriam segment as she is “alive and well”.

An image of Jan Chapman, the producer known for The Last Days of Chez Nous and The Piano, was mistakenly chosen to represent Janet Patterson, the Australian costume designer, BAFTA winner and four-time Academy Award nominee, who died in October 2016.


They couldn’t recognize two members of their own Academy?

Update: Faye Dunaway made the incorrect announcement, not Beatty. Beatty was stuck giving the explanations. I’ve corrected the post above, and thanks to C.T. Rex for the correction.

Update: More careful viewing also shows that Horowitz yanked the card out of Beatty’s hand, not Kimmel’s. Thanks to Tele on Twitter for the correction.

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