Oscars Shocker: What We Know About That Best Picture Gaffe

Oscar best picture flub
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

UPDATED: In the most chaotic conclusion to the Academy Awards ever, Faye Dunaway, on stage with Warren Beatty, announced the wrong best picture winner Sunday, leading the world to incorrectly believe for three minutes that “La La Land” bested “Moonlight.”

Dunaway made the mistaken announcement after Beatty apparently gave her the wrong envelope. Acceptance speeches from “La La Land” producers Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt, and Fred Berger followed before Horowitz stepped in to say “Moonlight” had won.

So, the question is… what in the world happened to the usually meticulously planned Oscar winner announcement?

Related

Jimmy Kimmel Oscars flub reaction

TV Review: Oscars Celebrate Cinema Through the Messy Power of Live Television

Beatty told the audience that they had read the wrong envelope, and that it was in fact the envelope that said Emma Stone won best lead actress for “La La Land,” a prize that had been announced just moments before.

“I opened the envelope and it said Emma Stone, ‘La La Land,'” he explained. “That’s why I looked at Faye, and at you. I wasn’t trying to be funny.” Host Jimmy Kimmel then took to the microphone to ask, “Warren, what did you do?!”

If Twitter can be trusted, it looks like Kimmel should take back his light-hearted blaming of Beatty. Several people, including 2015 host Neil Patrick Harris, posted pictures that proved the presenters were, in fact, given the best actress envelope.

Plus, it’s worth noting that both presenters did look thoroughly confused. As Beatty opened the card, visibly thrown, he handed it to Dunaway, who then said “La La Land.”

Beatty did not elaborate as to how it was that he came into possession of the wrong announcement. Stone added another twist to the mystery backstage, telling reporters, “I was holding my best actress card the whole time.”

That’s actually not too unusual, however. There are always two sets of envelopes: The PriceWaterhouseCoopers accountants bring two briefcases, then stand backstage, one on each side of the stage. They hand the envelopes to the presenters right before they walk out.

Backstage, “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins elaborated further that they were given “no explanation,” but that he did see the famed card. “Things just happen,” he said. “I will say, I saw two cards. And so, things just happen. I wanted to see the card, to see the card. Warren refused to show the card to anybody before he showed it to me. And so he did. He came upstairs and he walked over to me, and he showed the card. And everybody was asking, ‘Can I see the card’? And he’s like, ‘no, Barry Jenkins has to see the card, I need him to know.’ And he showed it to me. I felt better about what happened.”

“The folks from ‘La La Land’ were so gracious,” he went on. “I can’t imagine being in their position and having to do that. We spent a lot of time together over the past six months.”

Reporters didn’t get to hear from “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle, however. He did not go backstage for the customary rapidfire press conference, and left the Governors Ball early, at 10:45 p.m., before any of the other winners.

In a breakdown of the scene, the Associated Press wrote that, as Horowitz and Platt read their speeches, something seemed “amiss” behind the scenes. “There’s commotion among the people standing behind him as a man wearing headphones appears and checks red envelopes being held by producers,” reads the report.

According to another report, from Vanity Fair, as the “La La Land” went to accept the prize, a stage manager whispered, “Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! They read the wrong envelope.” Oscar producer Jennifer Todd reportedly said to a crew member, “But how did they both read the wrong thing?”

“I don’t know what just happened,” said Kimmel, according to the report. “I should probably find out, because people are gonna be asking.” Oscar producer Michael de Luca echoed that he would “leave it to the Academy to comment.” “I still don’t know what happened.”

So where does the blame lie? Not with Beatty, Dunaway, or the Academy, but it seems like PriceWaterhouseCoopers. As “Hacksaw Ridge” producer David Permut noted shortly after the ceremony at the Governors Ball, “The finger is going to be pointed at PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The buck stops with them. I don’t know why someone didn’t get on the speaker to correct it sooner. Wow, that was weird.” Weird indeed.

Early Monday morning, PriceWaterhouseCoopers issued the following statement:

“We sincerely apologize to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for Best Picture. The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred.”

The Academy has yet to officially comment.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 15

Leave a Reply

15 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Barbara Renton says:

    The PriceWaterhouse guy was busy tweeting or taking selfies backstage so HE screwed up by giving Warren the WRONG envelope! Don’t dump the blame on Faye ir Warren!

  2. Nina Hershon says:

    Beatty and Dunaway are stupid…trying very hard to cover their incompetence. Can’t they read? You see the wrong name, you ask for clarification.

  3. If that idiot Warren Beatty suspected something was wrong why did he go on with the presentation. He should of asked for clarification if he suspected something was wrong.

  4. clay bryce says:

    The biggest question I have that no one anywhere seems to be addressing is, if Warren was given the wrong envelope, and he was, and no one could find the actual Best Picture envelope, why did the stage manager pull that envelope from Justin Hurwitz’s hand? He had won roughly an hour before. So did he have the BEst Picture envelope for an hour?

  5. MaryW says:

    That stupidity at the end of the Oscars was the most entertaining TV in years. Complete Hollywood disaster. I Love it.

  6. Brad Young says:

    Like many accidents, a series of errors each have to go unchecked, before the sum leads to disaster. Questions that have yet to be answered: 1. How did a PWC auditor, who meticulously oversees ballot secrecy, hand Warren Beatty a clearly marked duplicate Best Actress envelope? 2. Why Warren Beatty did not recognize that he had the Best Actress envelope–the winner’s name, as we now know, is clearly printed at the top of the card, separated from the name of the production/producers below–Emma Stone was not the name of a Best Picture nominee, nor the producer of “La La Land”. 3. Beatty, who clearly realized something was wrong, should’ve asked for clarification instead of showing the envelope to Dunaway and standing back and going along as she announces what he already is realizing is the wrong name. 4. Faye Dunaway seems to have misinterpreted Beatty’s confusion for some kind of dramatic pause when she says “You’re impossible”. When Beatty shows her the card, she clearly doesn’t pick up on it being wrong, and quickly and decisively announces the wrong name. She didn’t know anything was wrong until she can be heard saying in the background “What?” after Beatty tells her the card says “Emma Stone”. Why didn’t she see or ignore the name “Emma Stone” at the top of the card, and instead read the name below?

  7. Mr Model says:

    The people who run the Oscars gave Warren the wrong card, and, put a picture of a living person up when a dead person was announced – they are totally unqualified to be in charge. Add in the Miss Universe pageant from last year and it begs the question, when did the United States become so dumb?

  8. Horatio says:

    “Haven’t paid to see a movie in over 15 years.”

    Just to clarify: You are proud about that?

  9. Hollyweird Hypocrites says:

    That’s what they get for blasting Trump for incompetence! #Karma #MAGA
    I’m LMFAO over this! Haven’t paid to see a movie in over 15 years. And you couldn’t PAY ME enough money to watch a movie about a gay black drug dealer “discovering himself!”
    My advise: Stop producing filth and STFU about politics!

More Film News from Variety

Loading