Essays · Movies

The Oscar Gaffe Heard ‘Round the Globe

By  · Published on February 27th, 2017

Plus: Remembering the great Bill Paxton, the Razzies announce their winners(?), and the weekend Shot Roundup.

Obviously, the only news that matters today pertains to last night’s Academy Awards, and as usual all anyone is talking about are the last few minutes, however not for the usual reasons. When it came time to name Best Picture, presenter Warren Beatty looked a little confused while reading the envelope so his co-presenter (and Bonnie & Clyde co-star) Faye Dunaway tried to speed things up by taking it from him and announcing La La Land as the winner, much to the surprise of no one. Damien Chazelle’s film was, of course, nominated for 14 awards, tied for the most ever, and already had gathered six of them including Best Actress for Emma Stone and Best Director for Chazelle himself. The film had been a frontrunner in the category since its release, so no one thought too much of it.

Cast and crew flooded the stage, speeches were begun, but within a minute it was obvious something had gone wrong. Ceremony producers and stagehands were seen panickedly milling about the winners, confusion spreading throughout the theater and the world with every step.

Then the unthinkable happened, the absolute worst-case-scenario for an awards ceremony being telecast live to roughly a billion people: it was announced that Beatty, through no fault of his own, had been given the card for Best Actress instead of Best Picture, which wasn’t, it turned out, La La Land at all – it was Moonlight.

Sound like something out of an M. Night Shyamalan film? Yeah, he thought so too.

It was all good, though, the La La team was classy as hell in their handling of the situation, and Moonlight’s team was allowed to take the stage and start celebrating their victory. If there is a downside to this kerfuffle, it’s that the momentary chaos distracted people from the monumental accomplishment of Moonlight snagging the top prize over the more traditional, more popular, and significantly whiter La La Land. Many are calling it the most important Best Picture win in the Academy’s history, and for what it’s worth I myself am inclined to agree.

Believe it or not, though, the above wasn’t the only major flub in the telecast. During the In Memoriam portion of the program, costume designer Janet Patterson was remembered. Problem was, she was remembered with the photo of another woman, producer Jan Chapman. Bigger problem? Chapman isn’t dead, not at all. Bigger, bigger problem? Chapman and Patterson were friends, having worked on The Piano together. This made for a pretty distressful evening for Chapman, who was said to be “devastated” by the mix-up. There’s no explaining this one away other than it was a big mistake for which the Academy has profusely apologized, on top of their profuse apologies for the Best Picture snafu. Now if only they could go back in time and fix what I have always suspected was a situation similar to the latter but never rectified: Crash winning over Brokeback Mountain. I digress…

All in all, the awards ceremony was well-received and when the smoke cleared everyone seemed satisfied with the results, which you can scan in their entirety right here. But the aftermath is just starting. Keep hitting the FSR homepage today for a slew of hot takes from our writers and contributors.

In other news and points of interest…

…Oscar day 2017 kicked off with some very terrible, very sad news: beloved actor Bill Paxton passed away at the age of 61 from complications following surgery. Paxton – who was currently starring in the television adaptation of Training Day and will next be seen in The Circle alongside Tom Hanks and Emma Watson – was best known for his collaborations with director James Cameron, which included The Terminator, Aliens, and Titanic. The director remembered his friend in this post from Vanity Fair

…there was a bat-nanza of news that broke at the end of last week, including the announcement that Matt Reeves will direct The Batman, and after little bit of doubt it was also confirmed that Ben Affleck will remain in the cowl. But the most surprising word out of Gotham last week was the greenlighting of a live-action Nightwing film from the director of Lego Batman

…The Oscars weren’t the only awards given out to Tinseltown this weekend. As per their custom, The Razzies announced their winners the day before. Check out the complete list at the link…

…And not to be outdone, the Independent Spirit Awards were announced this weekend as well, much to the delight of Moonlight fans…

Over in our corner of the internet we’ve had some great stuff come out in the last few days, including Matthew Monagle explaining why you should see Jordan Peele’s Get Out, as well as our Chief Film Critic Rob Hunter’s review of the film, a look at Last Supper, the prequel short film to Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant, and Jake Orthwein diving into the Netflix afterlife drama The Discovery.

And in case you missed them, here are some of the most popular shots we tweeted over the weekend. Want more? You know where to find us.

INCEPTION (2010) Director of Photography: Wally Pfister | Director: Christopher Nolan
DRIVE (2011) Director of Photography: Newton Thomas Sigel | Dir: Nicolas Winding Refn
THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER (1990) Director of Photography: Jan de Bont | Director: John McTiernan
SOLARIS (1972) Director of Photography: Vadim Yusov | Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
THE GODFATHER: PART II (1974) Director of Photography: Gordon Willis | Director: Francis Ford Coppola

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