The conclusion of the 89th Oscars will go down in Academy, cinematic and television history, as Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty named “La La Land” Best Picture, only to be corrected a few minutes later when “LLL” producer Justin Horowitz received the correct card stating “Moonlight” as the Best Picture recipient.
The international accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers has been handling Oscar ballots for the past 83 years. As it turns out, there are actually two sets of winners envelopes – one for each of the two people on either side of the stage. Beatty was clearly, accidentally, given the duplicate Best Actress envelope and card. Best Actress winner Emma Stone stated in the Press Room right after the show that she, and her publicist, held and kept the other card (the one presenter Leonardo DiCaprio read from) during this entire situation.
In retrospect, three HUGE mistakes were made:
1) Beatty was given the wrong card.
2) Beatty knew there was a problem, but he didn’t check with anyone (or say, “I have the wrong card.”) He simply let Dunaway read the incorrect card.
3) PWC reps (who are the only ones who know the actual winners ahead of time) waited WAY too long before telling someone of the error so it could be corrected.
It’s not the first time this Awards Season that the wrong envelopes have been given to presenters. This happened multiple times during the Annie Awards (which was streamed online) earlier this month.
Overall, host Jimmy Kimmel did a tremendous job during the telecast – one of the best Oscar hosts of my lifetime. He was sharp, often very funny, and his bit with the tourists, and in particular the moment with Denzel Washington, is an instant classic. Kimmel also handled the Best Picture snafu well with a Steve Harvey “Miss Universe” joke, and he allowed Beatty to tell his side of the story. Kimmel also admitted he predicted he would screw-up The Oscars, and he promises he won’t be back. We’ll see if producers beg him to return in a Harvey-like move.
A Few Other Facts from the night:
- Even without winning Best Picture, “La La Land” still earned the most honors of the night, with six. Last year, “Mad Max: Fury Road” also won six Oscars and not Best Picture.
- Stone won an Oscar for a film that didn’t win Best Picture. Two years ago, she didn’t win Best Supporting Actress for “Birdman”, which did win Best Picture. In the Press Room, Stone said, amidst the chaos, she was thrilled for “Moonlight” winning Best Picture:
“God I Love “Moonlight” so much. I am so excited for “Moonlight”. I think we all [at “La La Land”] would’ve loved to win Best Picture. But we are so excited for “Moonlight”. I think it’s one of the Best Films of All-Time. So I was pretty beside myself.”
- Four of the past five years have seen a Best Picture/Best Director split:
– 2013: “Argo”/Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”
– 2014: “12 Years a Slave”/Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”
– 2016: “Spotlight”/Alejandro G. Inarritu, “The Revenant”
– 2017: “Moonlight”/Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
In 2015, “Birdman” took both Picture and Director (for Inarritu), though many hoped and thought Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” would win at least one of those two categories.
- A24’s Best Picture victory for “Moonlight” is the first for the smaller studio that has really made a name for itself over the past few years with films like “Room”, “Ex Machina”, “The Witch”, “Locke”, “The End of the Tour” and “Amy”.
- Washington’s loss to Casey Affleck in the Best Actor category breaks the 12-year streak of Best Actor SAG Awards winners also earning the Oscar.
- And just take a look at these titles:
Last year’s Best Picture winner: “Spotlight”
This year’s Best Picture winner: “Moonlight”. Movie producers and writers everywhere take notice.