by Julian Spivey
The Academy Awards should be ashamed of themselves and both the producers of the ABC telecast and the accounting firm in charge of balloting should both immediately be fired and replaced for next year’s broadcast.
The 89th annual Academy Awards had been a terrific ceremony and one of the most entertaining in years with comedian/late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel providing one of the best hosting stints in recent memory. Even though the Oscars were approaching almost four hours in length the night seemed to fly by with winners from a multitude of movies and funny and moving bits throughout the evening.
Then came the time for the evening’s biggest honor Best Picture and all hell broke loose. The award was announced by veteran actors Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, celebrating the 50th anniversary of “Bonnie & Clyde,” one of the most notable Best Picture snubs in film history. The nominees were announced and Beatty opened the envelope. He immediately knew something was wrong – though the rest of us watching at home, in the theater and even Dunaway thought it was Beatty perpetrating a comical “old man” bit. Looking back, you can tell Beatty knew there had been a mistake – he would later admit on the telecast after we all realized a mistake had been made that the card read Emma Stone for “La La Land” – but Dunaway seeing “La La Land” on the card announced it as the winner.
The producers, cast and crew of “La La Land” joyously walked upon the stage to receive the biggest honor in the film industry. As producers were giving their acceptance speeches you could see men with headsets enter the fray and immediately astute viewers could tell something had gone wrong. It was then announced that “Moonlight” was the actual winner. Beatty explained the card mistake, Kimmel tried to make light of a very awkward situation and then the producers, cast and crew of “Moonlight” approached the stage for the rightful acceptance speech.
The embarrassment that the biggest flub in Academy Awards history led to for the teams behind “La La Land,” “Moonlight” and Beatty and Dunaway is unforgivable. Heads should roll. I’m not joking in the least. There can be no worse moment for artists behind a film than to think they’ve won the most prestigious award in their business and find out mid acceptance speech that it’s not the case. It’s also embarrassing for the Academy that “Moonlight” didn’t get the true moment it deserved. And, it’s another major embarrassment for two film legends in Beatty and Dunaway who’re being unmercifully blasted and made fun of online for a blunder that in absolutely no way was their fault.
Producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd and the accounting firm of Pricewaterhouse Coopers need to instantly resign from their positions or be replaced. The producers for overseeing the telecast and seemingly not knowing there had been two Best Actress envelopes and a missing Best Picture envelope and Pricewaterhouse Coopers accounting firm for overseeing the balloting and envelopes. These are the people at fault for this truly embarrassing and really for the “La La Land” folks a devastating mistake. It’s a mistake that really shouldn’t just be laughed off or swept under the rug. It’s time for both ABC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to make a change, because a great evening turned into a major joke.