Oscars Time: "This is Not a Joke"

Update: Steve Harvey must be delighted he's not the only one to blow the announcement of a winner at an awards show. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway just joined the club. They announced the wrong winner for Best Picture. How did it happen? According to a 2016 LA Times interview:

"In an undisclosed location, the partners tabulate votes and stuff two sets of winning envelopes, partly as another security measure and also to aid the show's flow. Stationed with their signature briefcases on opposite sides of the stage, either [PricewaterhouseCoopers partners, Brian] Cullinan or [Martha] Ruiz can dispense envelopes to presenters. At the end of the evening, each accountant will have given out about half of the envelopes.

Another version is here. That would mean the blame would lay with PriceWaterhouse, who dispense the envelopes and bring duplicates on purpose. Here's what I saw, watching it live and re-watching once: [More...]

Beatty and Faye Dunaway's envelope had the card for the winner of Best Actress, which Emma Stone had just won. Beatty knew something was wrong, but he didn't know what. So he gave the card to Dunaway who pronounced LaLa Land the winner of Best Picture.

Apparently, they didn't see the front of the envelope, which says the award they are holding is for Best Actress. Would reading glasses have helped?

Really, why didn't Beatty just say, hey, we have the wrong envelope? Who knows. Anyway, after all the LaLa Land people came to the stage, and several accepted the award in emotional speeches, someone told them they hadn't won. The head guy for LaLa Land told the audience, "This is a not a joke," in a tone reminiscent of "This is not a drill." He added "We didn't win. Moonlight won" and he held up the winning card showing Moonlight, with "Best Picture" in tiny letters at the bottom, to the camera and then he graciously walked the award over to the Moonlight head guy, who was standing right off to the side with their group.

Warren Beatty then took the microphone and wanted to tell people what happened. Jimmy Kimmel, said in a half joking tone, "Warren, what did you do?" Warren said his card read "Emma Stone, LaLa Land" which was why he stalled and looked at the audience and Faye a long time before handing her the card. He said he didn't do it to be funny. (He had just seen Emma Stone win for Best Actress -- why didn't he (and Dunaway) realize they had the wrong card? Did they not have reading glasses, which they probably needed to see the tiny print showing the name of the award under the larger name of the winner? An award card for Best Picture would not list only only one actor. And the front of their envelope said "Best Actress in a Leading Role.")

The stunned group from Moonlight then took the stage but the head guy was too flummoxed to give a speech, other than to say that during the past months while touring, they had become close with the LaLa Land group and the guy that walked the award over was a class act (which he was.) Then a woman from Moonlight spoke and he returned with another even shorter speech thanking the audience (and presumably viewers) for choosing Moonlight (of course, it wasn't viewers or the audience, but the Academy who chose Moonlight.)

Jimmy Kimmel, looking like he wanted to throw up, came back to the microphone and said, "I always knew somehow I'd screw this up."

I knew I would screw this show up, I really did. Thank you for watching. Iím back to work tomorrow night on my regular show. I promise Iíll never come back. Good night!Ē
Of course, Kimmel could not possibly have known there was a mix-up in the envelopes.

So here's the question: Who had the real winner envelope with Moonlight that made it's way to the head LaLa Land guy while they were still on stage accepting the award? Were Warren and Faye given a duplicate of the Best Actress envelope or the already opened envelope someone had put down backstage after Emma accepted her award?

Update: This article says it was the Price Waterhouse people who discovered the mistake while Beatty and Dunaway were onstage and that Emma Stone still had her envelope. That would mean there were two Best Actress envelopes and someone gave Beatty/Dunaway the duplicate.

In any event, Steve Harvey didn't suffer any permanent reputational damage, and either will Warren Beatty or Jimmy Kimmel.

One thing that struck me though was how many presenters seemed to be ad-libbing their remarks. Remember John Travolta at the Golden Globes who said he couldn't see the teleprompter, the writing was too small? I sensed a lot of that tonight. Either people were too vain to use eyeglasses, and forgot their lines, or they skipped the rehearsal and didn't realize how difficult it would be to see the prompter.

The Oscars have begun. Here's a thread to discuss them.

ACLU ribbons were a big hit -- many of the stars wore them.

Some red carpet photos that don't take too long to load. The OJ show won an Oscar (since when do Oscars give awards for TV shows? Since they are called "documentaries." To qualify, the 8 hour series aired in theater for a week in May.) (I didn't see it, I initially confused it with the American Crime Story show which I didn't care for.) The man who accepted the award left no doubt about the bias of the show -- with his shout-out to victims and the Brown and Goldman families. OJ may get out of prison this year. He won't be broke (he has his pension which creditors can't attach.) It's about time. He's done 9 years, more than enough for the crimes he was convicted of. (He's still not guilty of killing his ex-wife. The civil judgment doesn't erase the not guilty criminal verdict.)

Back to the Oscars (pretty boring so far.) (Added: But what an ending, see the update at top.)

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    I am so happy Viola Davis won. (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by caseyOR on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 09:13:50 PM EST
    She is a phenomenal actress, just amazing. And her portrayal of Rose in Fences was incredible.

    I read recently that Denzel has a deal with HBO to produce films of other August Wilson plays. Wilson is one of America's greatest playwrights, right up there with Tennessee Williams and Eugene O'Neill. That his work will reach a broader audience is all to the good.

    Okay, I'm logging off this TL thread ... (none / 0) (#11)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 09:49:41 PM EST
    ... for the duration of Oscar night. The show airs out here in local prime time on a delayed basis due to the time difference, and doesn't begin for another 75 minutes. Thanks a lot, you guys!

    Actually, I figured that Viola Davis already had the Best Supporting Actress award in a headlock heading into tonight's ceremonies, so nothing spoiled.



    OJ Documentary (none / 0) (#1)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 08:31:00 PM EST
    I did see it the other night.

    On the Defense side, it did bring out evidence about Mark Fuhrman beyond the F. Lee Bailey clip.   Fuhrman was a real mess.  And Marcia Clark hated him (or so she says now.)

    It also brought out that the Prosecution thought they were falling flat from the very beginning.  The Prosecution mock jury hated Marcia Clark.

    OJ documentary was at the bottom (none / 0) (#2)
    by caseyOR on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 08:34:08 PM EST
    of my list. I am surprised it won considering the competition.

    And I am so tired of OJ. Enough already.


    OJ made for TV (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Peter G on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 09:19:14 PM EST
    won over "I Am Not Your Negro"? Unbelievable.

    I got it confused with (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 08:35:59 PM EST
    the other OJ show that was serialized. I haven't seen this one.

    The OJ documentary was truly epic (none / 0) (#4)
    by McBain on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 08:49:47 PM EST
    I'm glad it won an Oscar. I thought you caught part of it and commented on how entertaining and articulate Carl Douglas was?  

    I agree with you that O.J. received a ridiculous sentence for the Las Vegas robbery. We shouldn't over charge/sentence people because of perceived injustices that might have occurred in the past.


    The Vegas judge (none / 0) (#6)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 09:11:02 PM EST
    was sipping on a big gulp on the bench when she announced the sentence.

    Armed robbery? (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 09:16:53 PM EST
    He pulled a gun. Ergo, armed robbery. (none / 0) (#12)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 10:01:14 PM EST
    Given the toxic cloud of bad karma surrounding O.J. at that point, I was hardly surprised by the Las Vegas verdict and sentence, nor am I at all sympathetic to his present plight. The guy's entire life story leaves a bad taste in my mouth. May Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman rest in peace.

    no he didn't pull a gun (none / 0) (#29)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 27, 2017 at 01:06:37 AM EST
    His accomplice had the gun. The accomplice got a deal for testifying against him. He was prevented by the judge from cross-examining the accomplice about lying to the police and claiming to be in real estate, when he had also been a p*mp. He did know the accomplice had the gun as witnesses said he called the guy and told him to bring "heat." He was retrieving his personal items he believed the victims were unlawfully holding, not trying to steal the property of others. It was a crime, no doubt, but not a crime worthy of a 33 year sentence.

    you are right (none / 0) (#13)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 10:16:54 PM EST
    I did see it and liked it, especially Carl Douglas. I wrote about it here. I honestly didn't remember that.

    After all the stuff (none / 0) (#5)
    by MKS on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 08:53:15 PM EST
    on Fuhrman that I had never heard, and violations of  evidence protocol, I could see how a downtown LA Superior Court jury could believe the LAPD planted the glove.

    I too was way over the OJ story, but this documentary was really quite good and placed it all in context.  I could not stop watching.  It brought new things.


    True (none / 0) (#10)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 09:22:05 PM EST
    The OJ verdict is a perfect example of jury nullification for the sins of the police over the past years.

    He was lucky he wasn't tried in front of a jury of his peers.


    "OJ: Made in America" clocks in at ... (none / 0) (#14)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 10:20:32 PM EST
    ... over 7 hours, Jeralyn. It was originally developed by the ESPN sports network as part of its acclaimed "30 for 30" sports documentary series, and yet was so well-received by film critics at its premiere that the producers decided to run it for two weeks in an L.A. movie theatre last fall, in order to qualify it for Academy Award consideration.

    It was a very deft move, in my opinion. "OJ: Made in America" is a riveting documentary and definitely worth watching, even if you're as tired and jaded from hearing about O.J. Simpson as I am. In my estimation, it's much superior to last year's Emmy-baiting melodocudrama.

    Fresh on the heels of their Oscar triumph, the folks at ESPN will no doubt be running it again over several nights in the very near future. Or, you can watch it at your leisure via ESPN's website.



    That has to be a first. (none / 0) (#15)
    by jondee on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 11:14:20 PM EST
    It is, at that. (none / 0) (#24)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Feb 27, 2017 at 12:37:59 AM EST
    "OJ: Made in America" is far and away the longest Academy Award-winning film of any type in Oscar history.

    And no doubt, this will be a huge shot in the arm for ESPN, which has been a somewhat beleaguered network of late. But it's a well-deserved triumph, because the film's subject matter ultimately transcended the world of sports where the title character first got his big break, elevating "OJ: Made in America" into a broader study of race, gender, celebrity, wealth and power, and their individual and collective impact upon the human condition.

    "OJ" holds up both a mirror and a backlight to us, and the question it asks of us isn't necessarily whether we like what we see, but whether we can even see ourselves for what we truly are and have become.



    Whoa! I have never seen anything like (none / 0) (#16)
    by caseyOR on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 11:15:16 PM EST
    this at the Oscars. Stunning screw-up. Moonlight wins Best Picture, not La La Land.  La La Land people were so gracious as the Oscars were literally taken out of their hands and given to Moonlight people.

    MOONLIGHT! (none / 0) (#17)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 11:20:07 PM EST
    im so glad it beat La La Land.   i was murmuring "not la la land not la la land not la la land..."

    Moonlight totally deserves to win. its awsum.

    Moonlight did deserve the win. (none / 0) (#18)
    by caseyOR on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 11:22:37 PM EST
    Still, the weirdest thing I have ever seen at the Academy Awards.

    How could such a screw-up happen. Did price Waterhouse mess up with the envelopes?


    it was very strange (none / 0) (#20)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 11:25:55 PM EST
    Yes, they did. (none / 0) (#22)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Feb 27, 2017 at 12:03:22 AM EST
    The P/W folks mistakenly handed a copy of the Best Actress winner card, which read "Emma Stone - La La Land" to Warren Beatty, who first looked puzzled when he opened the envelope before handing it to Faye Dunaway, who then read it as a "La La Land" victory.

    I must say, "La La Land" producer Jordan Horowitz was a profile in graciousness during what had to be one of the most personally embarrassing moments of his entire life, and one which was certainly not his fault. There he is, standing before a worldwide TV audience and thanking everyone for the Academy Award, only to find out mid-speech that there was a huge mistake and he wasn't a winner after all.

    That was certainly a memorable moment.


    I'm not sure it was (none / 0) (#23)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 27, 2017 at 12:25:05 AM EST
    a Price Waterhouse mistake. How would it have been discovered in time? Why would someone else be holding an open envelope with "Moonlights" name?

    The real winning envelope must have been laying backstage, where someone saw it and realized it was unopened -- either a network employee backstage responsible for handing out the cards to the presenters as they took the stage gave them the wrong envelope and realized his or her mistake when he saw the unopened envelope while they were onstage, or he purposely gave them the wrong, already opened and discarded envelope (i.e., what happens to the envelope after the presenters leave the stage? They put it down backstage.) I can't recall if Beatty actually opened a closed envelope or lifted the flap of one that had already been opened. I'd have to watch again.

    So I don't think it's the accounting firm's mistake but either a backstage employee or Academy employee.


    Point taken. (none / 0) (#26)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Feb 27, 2017 at 12:51:54 AM EST
    Regardless, the wrong card somehow made its way into Mr. Beatty's hands. These awards shows are so meticulously choreographed that it's somewhat hard to fathom how this sort of error could have occurred. The question is really whose employees are responsible for the handling of the envelopes and award cards.

    How many hours do you think it will be before some Hollywood columnist brings up long-ago rumors about envelope/card-switching as an explanation for Marisa Tomei's unexpected 1992 win as Best Supporting Actress for "My Cousin Vinny"? (And for the record, no, Tomei's award wasn't a mistake and yes, she really deserved that Oscar.)



    Actually, now there are news reports (none / 0) (#28)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 27, 2017 at 01:00:56 AM EST
    supporting what you said, but also that Emma still had her envelope. So I'm confused now, but I added an update to clarify a bit. Maybe the backstage employee ran up to PW with the unopened envelope when he or she realized it was still there, but if Emma was holding hers, then there was an extra one (one that Beatty/Dunaway had and the correct one) and that would seem to be sabotage -- which would have to be either an employee of PW or the Academy whoever printed the cards (rather than handed them out)

    So your comment may have been correct.


    See my comment below (#30). (none / 0) (#31)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Feb 27, 2017 at 01:23:09 AM EST

    (Sigh!) Now, if only they can find ... (none / 0) (#27)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Feb 27, 2017 at 12:59:11 AM EST
    ... the envelope with Hillary's name on the card.



    UPDATE: Here's another possible explanation. (none / 0) (#30)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Feb 27, 2017 at 01:22:21 AM EST
    It turns out that for each award category, there are actually TWO cards waiting for presenters in the wings, one placed on each side of the stage. So, that may explain how Warren Beatty was handed the envelope containing the card from the previous award.

    Further, according to the L.A. Times last year, handing out those award cards to the show's presenters is indeed the personal responsibility of two of Price-Waterhouse-Cooper's partners, Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz:

    "In an undisclosed location, the partners tabulate votes and stuff two sets of winning envelopes, partly as another security measure and also to aid the show's flow. Stationed with their signature briefcases on opposite sides of the stage, either Cullinan or Ruiz can dispense envelopes to presenters. At the end of the evening, each accountant will have given out about half of the envelopes." (Emphasis is mine.)

    So, unless their protocols have changed significantly from last year, this year's on-air mistake is likely on Price-Waterhouse-Cooper.



    we're reading the LA Times (none / 0) (#32)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 27, 2017 at 01:59:04 AM EST
    at the same time. I just finished typing an update with that quote.
    Mystery solved!

    Great minds think alike. (none / 0) (#33)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Feb 27, 2017 at 02:32:04 AM EST
    We shall not be thwarted in our quest for truth, and may the heavens have mercy on anyone who dares to stand in our way.



    that was a very good oscar show (none / 0) (#19)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 11:25:23 PM EST
    Kimmel was great.  no annoying production numbers, almost.  totally above average,

    i wish Arrival had won more. imo it was the best movie of the year.  one of my FB friends won an oscar!  for Jungle Book.

    i thought (none / 0) (#21)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Feb 26, 2017 at 11:31:51 PM EST
    the tour bus thing was hilarious.

    Gosh wasn't that movie amazing? (none / 0) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Feb 27, 2017 at 12:50:55 AM EST
    That's one I think I will own. It's silly to own movies you don't worship now. Just a disc to get scratched.