The 89th Academy Awards last week managed to be potentially the most awkward installment in the event’s history, hotly contested by the Oscars Streaker of 1974.
You’ve most likely heard about the La La Land/Moonlight blunder, but just in case you’ve recently taken up residence on the dark side of the moon, events followed as such: La La Land was announced as Best Picture. The cast and crew flocked to the stage and began to thank the Academy, but there appeared to be quite the commotion going on behind them. Eventually, producer Jordon Horowitz was forced to retrieve the microphone and announce that, in reality, Moonlight had won best picture. There’d been a mix up. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm which counts Oscar ballots, admitted full responsibility for the mixup, explaining that the presenters were given the back-up envelope for the award of Best Actress, which read ‘Emma Stone – La La Land’. This obviously caused a certain degree of confusion, which wasn’t resolved until the damage was already done.
But it’s not just the la-la-lapse in judgement which led to an uncomfortable clearing of throats – there were plenty more cringeworthy moments on the red carpet that night.
People magazine editorial director Jess Cagle managed to merge the names of Hidden Figures and Fences – two big names this awards season, both of which also happen to be about African Americans – into as yet unreleased duo-sequel Hidden Fences. This casually racist Freudian slip cropped up twice at the Golden Globes this year, and while Nouse is sure that every time it’s been but a harmless slip of the tongue, one has to wonder if this isn’t symptomatic of a tendency among high-profile cinephiles to subconsciously sort all films which feature predominantly black characters into one category.
Worse still was the ‘In Memoriam’ blunder. The Oscars attempted to honour costume designer and four-time nominee Janet Patterson, but identified her with the wrong photo. Said photograph was instead of Jan Chapman, a producer who once worked with Patterson, and is currently very much alive. Chapman was understandably upset, describing herself as “devastated” her image was mixed up in what was supposed to be a tribute to a woman she considered a great friend.
We conclude our roast of the 2017 Oscars thusly: Auli’i Cravalho, Moana star, was performing the film’s Oscar-nominated song ‘How Far I’ll Go’, when she was hit in the head by a flag onstage. To her credit, the young singer didn’t even flinch. All in all, though, this provided the cherry on top of a fantastically embarrassing evening.