Academy president addresses ‘shock’ of Oscars best picture mix-up
It hasn’t even been a month since the Oscars were handed out, and the memory of La La Land being mistakenly named best picture instead of Moonlight is likely still fresh in film-lovers’ minds. During an appearance at the SXSW, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs reflected on the events that came at the end of the telecast, calling it a “shock” but also noting that it showcased some of the “humanity” of those in Hollywood.
“It was a bit of a shock,” she said during a conversation with Hidden Figures screenwriter Allison Schroeder at the Austin, Texas festival during a panel that touched on their starts in Hollywood and their respective experiences in the business. “But however, what I thought was so important was how, in a matter of minutes, you saw a humanity and a respect and a graciousness from the La La Land filmmakers and the Moonlight filmmakers in a way that was I thought very special.”
She went on to call the ending a “beautiful moment” and praised host Jimmy Kimmel as the “perfect man for the evening,” along with calling the past year’s crop of films “beautiful and brilliant.”
During last month’s 89th Academy Awards ceremony, Warren Beatty’s co-presenter, Faye Dunaway, announced La La Land as best picture instead of Moonlight, which was the actual winner. Beatty and Dunaway had been given the wrong envelope by PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant Brian Cullinan before walking out on stage; the envelope contained the best actress winner card for La La Land star Emma Stone. Beatty said he was confused by the card and handed it to Dunaway, who erroneously announced La La Land as the winner.
PricewaterhouseCoopers issued multiple statements apologizing for the mistake, writing in part, “We sincerely apologize to Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Jimmy Kimmel, ABC, and the Academy, none of whom was at fault for last night’s errors. We wish to extend our deepest gratitude to each of them for the graciousness they displayed during such a difficult moment.”
The academy also issued a statement apologizing for the mix-up, saying, “To all involved — including our presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, the filmmakers, and our fans watching worldwide — we apologize.”