The Oscars is always a night to remember, though unfortunately last night’s ceremony proved memorable for all the wrong, though incredibly entertaining reasons.
At the climax of the ceremony, the announcement of the winner of Best Picture, there occurred the greatest blunder in Oscars history since The Titanic was somehow chosen over 1997’s truly seminal piece of cinema, Flubber. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were the stars tasked with opening the envelope and reading its contents, an act of supreme banality which to most of us is simply considered ‘checking the post’.
However, as Warren Beatty opened the envelope and removed the concealed card, he hesitated, staring around as if looking for assistance, before Faye Dunaway chastises him for dallying and, reading the name of the film she’d seen on the card, bellows ‘La La Land!’ to the packed auditorium.
As it transpired PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accountancy firm in charge of counting the votes and administering which envelopes are handed to presenters were at fault. As the ceremony is going on, staff from the company wait in the wings to hand out the envelopes to the presenters going on stage. They have duplicates of each envelope just in case something should happen to the original. They have stated what happened was that Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were erroneously handed the duplicate envelope for the ‘Best Actress’ category which had just been announced, and was awarded to Emma Stone for La La Land, Faye Dunaway say the film’s name on the card and presumed it to be the Best Picture.
As this was frantically being sorted out backstage what was unfolding on stage would prove to be a greater tragedy than Hollywood itself has managed to produce in some years. The entire cast and crew of La La Land were on stage celebrating, with the director and producers rattling through their acceptance speeches before a flurry of ear-piece bedecked men in suits rushed from the wings to spread the word amongst the cast that it was in fact Moonlight that had won Best Picture.
Fred Berger, a producer for La La Land, begins to half-heartedly make a speech, aware of the mix-up while most of the audience and the viewers at home look on in confusion at the chaos on stage, before announcing “We lost by the way”. Jordan Horowitz, another producer of La La Land, then invites the cast and crew of Moonlight up onto the stage telling them that they had in fact won, to the audible gasps of those in attendance.
The casts and crews of the two films, briefly shared the stage together as congratulations were exchanged and the baton, in the form of a tiny golden statuette was passed on to it’s actual winners, before those involved with La La Land were ignominiously ushered away from the limelight.
If last year’s Oscars were defined by the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite this year’s could very much be summed up with #OscarsNotRight.