Oral History of the Oscar Best Picture debacle.

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Combining all the first person accounts that have appeared in the newspapers, magazines, and tv interviews – its possible to start forming an oral history of the Best Picture error involving La La Land, and Moonlight.
(- collated by Rhett Bartlett)

Warren Beatty, co presenter.
My instructions were, take the envelope when I walked out. I couldn’t have it before that.  Then I go out.  Then I say something.  And then I open the envelope and then I give it to Faye and she then says what it says.  (Graham Norton Show April 2017)

Warren Beatty on stage.
“And the Academy Award … (long pause)  for  Best Picture…”  (long pause)

Faye Dunaway on stage.
‘You’re impossible. Come on. (is giving envelope)  La La Land”

Warren Beatty, caught on microphone seconds after announcement
‘But it says Emma Stone’

Faye Dunaway, caught on microphone seconds after announcement
‘What?’

Gary Natoli –  (Stage Manager)
“I was in the wings stage left with Jimmy [Kimmel] when they announced ‘La La Land.’ We watched for about 10 more seconds, and during that entire time Martha (Ruiz, PriceWaterHouseCoopers) was no more than five feet away from us.   When ‘La La Land’ was announced, she did not try to get my attention, she did not say anything.  And she’s supposed to have memorized the winners.”
The Wrap 

Warren Beatty
I thought well maybe this is a misprint.  And then  I shouldn’t foul up the show just because someone made a little error.  It looked like it said the name of the movie -La La Land.(Graham Norton Show April 2017)

 

Jordan Horowitz – (La La Land Producer)
They just kind of handed us an envelope and the awards and we kind of just started accepting and everybody came up.
CNN 

Gary Natoli – (Stage Manager)
“As I was taking Matt’s (Damon) wife to the side of the house, I heard John Esposito on my headset say, ‘Brian (Cullinan, PriceWaterhouseCoopers) says he didn’t think they said the right winner. Can you have Martha check her envelope?’ That was the first time I heard anything about it, and it was probably a minute, or a minute and 15 seconds, from the time Faye announced the wrong winner.”
The Wrap

Michael De Luca – (Oscar producer)
I literally heard, ‘Oh my God! He got the wrong envelope!’ And then it was slow motion. You perceive things slowly as the adrenaline rises and the cortisol floods your system.”
(KCRW The Business Radio Show)

Gary Natoli – (Stage Manager)
“At this point I didn’t know that they’d been given the wrong envelope.  Brian (PWC) had led us to believe that Faye had just said it incorrectly. So I went looking for the envelope.”
The Wrap

Jim Parsons,  The Big Bang Theory
La La Land was accepting and I heard somebody with a headset really close by say Moonlight!, Moonlight! a little too loud. Why are they saying that? That’s rude, during the speech.’  I thought maybe they played the wrong song, and I thought ‘who cares’.  And then I went ‘No!’  And then I looked at the guy next to me and I said ‘Is this really happening?”. 
ExtraTV

Jimmy Kimmel, host,  moves down into the crowd for one final joke with Matt Damon.
We’re watching and waiting for the camera but suddenly the stage manager wanders on set, which is never supposed to happen and he’s in the shot, which I know is not supposed to happen.
The Hollywood Reporter

Jordan Horowitz (La La Land Producer)
Then there were some people with headsets  who started coming out on the stage. And it was suddenly clear that something wasn’t right.
CNN 

Jimmy Kimmel in crowd next to Matt Damon.
So I really don’t know what’s going on, and I don’t hear very well, so Matt picks up someone saying they have the wrong movie for Best Picture. He says to me, ‘I think they announced the wrong Best Picture’ and I said, ‘what?’ and he said, ‘yeah I heard them saying that it’s the wrong movie,’ and I looked at Matt and I said ‘well I guess I better go out there’ and he said ‘yeah, I guess you better.'”
The Hollywood Reporter

Gary Natoli – (Stage Manager)
“Get the accountants out there!”  ‘We have to announce that ‘Moonlight’ is the winner,’”
The Wrap 

Producer at Governors Ball (either Steve Stabler or Stanley Isaacs)
“Why did the accountants wait for all three ‘La La Land’ speeches before they corrected it?”
New Yorker

Gary Natoli – (Stage Manager)
“John was trying to get Brian (PWC) to go on stage, and he wouldn’t go. And Martha wouldn’t go. We had to push them on stage, which was just shocking to me.”
The Wrap 

Jordan Horowitz ( La La Land producer)
And so they started looking at envelopes, they took the envelope I had and it wasn’t the Best Picture envelope, that was the one that was handed to me.

CNN 

Cheryl Boone Isaacs (President of the Academy)
“Horror. I just thought, What? What? I looked out and I saw a member of Pricewaterhouse coming on the stage, and I was, like, Oh, no, what—what’s happening? What what WHAT? What could possibly . . . ? And then I just thought, Oh, my God, how does this happen? How. Does. This. Happen.” 
New Yorker

Jordan Horowitz (La La Land producer)
Eventually they found the Best Picture envelope and opened it and it said Moonlight.  I guess when I saw that, I just sort of took it and said… as I said I love those guys and I felt like it was sort of my duty to be true to the words I was saying.  This is community. This is all love. This is a wild thing and I wanted to be able to express to them that they had won.
CNN

Barry Jenkins (Moonlight director)
I was speechless. I’ve watched the Academy Awards and I’ve never seen that happened before.  And so it made a very special feeling even more special, but not in the way I expected
ET Canada 

Jordan Horowitz (La La Land producer)
“This is not a joke. ‘Moonlight’ has won Best Picture.”

Alex R. Hibbert, who plays little Chiron in “Moonlight.”
“When they said, ‘You guys won,’ we were, like, ‘Uhhh, nice joke,’ “And they’re all, like, ‘No, you guys really won,’ and I was, like, ‘Oh, my God!’ I’m sorry for this guy, but I jumped right over him and walked onstage. He was, like, ‘What’s up?’ And I was, like, ‘I’m sorry, I just won an award!’ Me and Jaden”
New Yorker

Tom Dolby
“When they said ‘Moonlight’ really won, I thought they meant on an emotional level,”
New Yorker

David Oyelowo
It was like watching the Superbowl. That was crazy. I literally thought it was part of Jimmy Kimmel’s skit.  What made it even more confusing is that the guy who came on with the envelope looks a bit like Matt Damon. So you thought this is an inappropriate moment to do a bit.
ExtraTV

Tim Allen
I thought it was a gag.
ET Canada

Lucia Schultz, Oscar librarian in Press Room responding to queries immediately after the confusion.
“I cannot think of a case where this has happened. There are times when people thought it happened.”
New Yorker 

Viola Davis.
Oh. My.  Goodness. I have to say it was a little bit exciting.
ET Canada

Barry Jenkins
I make movies and so I’ll give an actor a bad direction and it ruins as a take, or the boom might dip into a shot, or the light somehow goes out, these things happened and unfortunately these things happened.  But it wasn’t malicious in anyway . And thankfully because we are so close to La La Land and crew I think it happened amongst friends and peers and in a way its kind of bonded us even more as a family”
CNN

Producer at Governors Ball (either Steve Stabler or Stanley Isaacs)
“Deadline and the Hollywood Reporter are running the story that the Pricewaterhouse accountants gave Emma Stone’s backup envelope to Warren Beatty,”
New Yorker

Warren Beatty 
“I opened the envelope and it said Emma Stone, La La Land, thats why I took such a long look at Faye and at you. I wasn’t trying to be funny”

Emma Stone (to the press)
“I also was holding my Best Actress in a Leading Role card that entire time. So, whatever story—I don’t mean to start stuff, but whatever story that was, I had that card. Congratulations Moonlight”

Leslie Moonves – President of CBS
The accountants have one job to do thats to give Warren Beatty the right envelope, thats what these people are paid alot of money to do.
If they were my accountant I would fire them
ET Canada

Producer at Governors Ball (either Steve Stabler or Stanley Isaacs)
“I thought Warren Beatty just couldn’t read the freaking envelope,”
New Yorker

Michael De Luca (Oscar producer)
“By the time I went back to the green room, Dawn Hudson (Academy CEO) was already in midconversation with the players, just trying to figure out what happened. Everyone was a little shaken. Everybody looked white-faced and the blood was just drained from [them].”
(KCRW The Business Radio Show)

Faye Dunaway
I’m not going to speak about that.  Warren is the right one.
ExtraTV

Warren Beatty, when asked what happened.
I don’t know
ExtraTV

Tom Dolby
“I don’t think it’s embarrassing at all. Filmmaking is full of mistakes.”
New Yorker

Jordan Horowitz ( La La Land producer)
It was a really surreal moment.  I got to be a winner and a presenter in the end.
ExtraTV

Faye Dunaway (as overheard at the Governors Ball)
“I really fucked that up.”
New Yorker

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