OSCARS 2017: The Day After

Well, THAT happened.

If you turned off last night’s Oscar ceremony when they announced La La Land as winner of Best Picture, boy, did you wake up for a surprise. For the first time in as far back as I can remember, if not in the entire history of the Oscars, the wrong winner for an award was announced. It just happened to be the biggest award of the night.

The award was presented by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty and went down like this (courtesy of Variety):

If you can’t watch that video. Beatty hesitates after opening the envelope. Dunaway thinks he’s goofing around. Beatty shows the envelope to Dunaway, who quickly announces La La Land as the winner.

What happens after is not seen in that video. The producers of La La Land come up to accept their awards. As they are giving their acceptance speeches, men in headsets begin to scurry behind them, collecting envelopes. Soon, it is announced. It was Moonlight that really won Best Picture.

Credit has to be given to Jordan Horowitz. He’s they guy calling the Moonlight people on stage in the above video and a producer for La La Land. He showed a whole lot of class in what was a screwed up situation.

So, what happened? It would be easy to blame the screw up on a shared senior moment between Dunaway, who is 76, and Beatty, who is 79. But Beatty announced on the ceremony that he was handed a card that gave the winner for Best Actress, which was La La Land’s Emma Stone. Stone still had the card that Leonardo DiCaprio read from when he awarded her the statue, but the Academy keeping a duplicate in case of emergency does not seem too out of the question. If you examine a screen cap of the envelope he was holding, it plainly says “Best Actress” on it. How it got into Beatty’s hands is another mystery to be solved.

Hopefully, the Academy will release a statement explaining how the mix-up happened before the conspiracy theories take hold. All I know is I feel sorry for all the people involved. The La La Land people went from the highest highs to the lowest lows right in front of millions of viewers. The Moonlight people had to celebrate their victory with the losers right on the same stage as them. And Beatty and Dunaway come off as doddering old fools for a mistake that most likely wasn’t their fault.

And the worst part of it all is that it came at the end of one of the better ceremonies in the recent past. The show breezed by even thou it was the longest ceremony in ten years. I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of his work up to now, but I think Jimmy Kimmel did a very good job of hosting the show. He was funny, kept the show moving, and ribbed the audience in a good natured way. Well, all of it except Matt Damon, who Kimmel carried the “feud” he has with the actor on his talk show over to the ceremony. The animosity, likely fake but you can’t really tell, became a running gag throughout the night and the funniest part of the show.

Another good bit was the one where a tour bus dropped unsuspecting tourists off at the Dolby Center during the proceedings. It added a unpredictable element to the show that doubled as a quasi-sociological experiment. It was fascinating to see how the celebrities reacted to the normal people and vice versa.

But not all bits fared as well with me. Yes, once again we get a bit where we feed the celebrities, this time with food items dropped from the ceiling. That’s a nice variation on the pizza delivery from the 2014 ceremony or the bit where they bought Girl Scout cookies from last year’s show, but it’s starting to get repetitive.

In the politically charged climate of today, it was expected that politics would make itself known during the ceremony. And it did. But I felt that it was done in a solemn and non-preachy way.

Other notes:

  • It was a night of potential head injuries as Auli’i Cravalho was whacked in the head by a back up dancer’s flag during her performance of “How Far I’ll Go.” Later, Seth Rogen bumped his head on the butterfly door of the DeLorean from Back to the Future as he was leaving to deliver the Best Film Editing award with Michael J. Fox.
  • While Lin-Manuel Miranda lost out on his chance to become and EGOT, Viola Davis is just a Grammy away from becoming one after tonight.
  • We now have to call Suicide Squad, Academy Award-winning Suicide Squad. The Doomsday Clock just clicked one second closer to midnight.


Avatar für William Gatevackes
About William Gatevackes 1982 Articles
William is cursed with the shared love of comic books and of films. Luckily, this is a great time for him to be alive. His writing has been featured on Broken Frontier.com, PopMatters.com and in Comics Foundry magazine.
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