What It Was Like Onstage During the Oscars 2017 Best Picture Mistake
LOS ANGELES —Jordan Horowitz knew something was wrong the moment he saw people in headsets scurrying across the Oscars stage.
Only a minute earlier Faye Dunaway had said the words that Mr. Horowitz had longed to hear — “La La Land” — as she announced the best picture winner for the 2017 Academy Awards. Mr. Horowitz, a producer on that film, and colleagues and cast members raced to the stage. Mr. Horowitz spoke first — “Thank you to the academy,” he began — but his excitement quickly dissipated, as he recalled the shocking end to the night in an interview with The New York Times after the ceremony.
仅在一分钟前，菲·唐娜薇(Faye Dunaway)刚说完霍洛维茨渴望听到的几个字——“《爱乐之城》”(La La Land)——她是在宣布2017年奥斯卡奖最佳影片奖获得者。作为该片制片人的霍洛维茨以及他的同事和演职人员快速登上了舞台。霍洛维茨首先发言——“谢谢学院，”他开头说道——但他的兴奋很快就消散了。颁奖仪式结束后，他在接受《纽约时报》采访时，回忆起了这个夜晚令人震惊的结局。
“I’m holding the envelope and the award, and I had just given my speech, and there are people on the stage with headsets, and I thought, ‘That doesn’t seem right,’” Mr. Horowitz said at the Governors Ball, the official post-Oscars celebration.
“They asked to see my envelope, which I haven’t opened,” he recalled. “Clearly something was wrong. They open my envelope, and it says ‘Emma Stone, “La La Land.”’ So clearly something is not right. The guys in headsets were going around with urgency looking for the other envelope — it just kind of appeared,” he said. “One of the guys opens it, and it says ‘Moonlight,’ and I took it onstage and went to the microphone and said what I said.” What Mr. Horowitz said — “There’s a mistake. ‘Moonlight,’ you guys won best picture” — was one of the most surprising reversals in Oscar history, with apparent human error combining with live television to powerful, jaw-dropping effect. It was also a painful reminder, on the most celebratory night of the year for the film industry, that no system of voting is perfect, and it warped and dampened the euphoria of film executives and artists who had spent years working on the two movies.
And for the academy, which had been criticized last year for #OscarsSoWhite, there might have been something of a missed moment: Instead of a proper celebration of “Moonlight,” with its all-black cast and touching personal narrative, there was a televised scene of confusion, disbelief and astonishment.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that oversaw the academy voting and handled the award envelopes, issued a statement on Monday morning that apologized to those involved with the two movies; the award category presenters, Ms. Dunaway and Warren Beatty; and to Oscar viewers “for the error that was made during the award announcement for best picture.”
The statement added, “We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the academy, ABC and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation,” a reference to the network broadcasting the show and the host of the Oscars ceremony.
PricewaterhouseCoopers prepares two identical sets of sealed envelopes. The two partners from the firm who oversee the voting process, Martha L. Ruiz and Brian Cullinan, each have a briefcase with a complete set of the envelopes inside and stand on opposite sides of the stage.
普华永道准备了两套相同的密封信封。监督投票过程的两位公司合伙人玛莎·L·鲁伊斯(Martha L. Ruiz)和布莱恩·卡利南(Brian Cullinan)站在舞台两侧，每人拿着一个公文包，里面各有一整套信封。
The envelope for best actress, the penultimate award of the night, came from the side of the stage where Ms. Ruiz stood.
After Ms. Stone accepted that honor, Ms. Dunaway and Mr. Beatty came out to present the best picture award from Mr. Cullinan’s side of the stage, where a best actress envelope was still unopened. Mr. Cullinan clearly handed Mr. Beatty the wrong envelope.
After Mr. Cullinan and Ms. Ruiz realized that the wrong winner had been announced, they notified the stage manager, which set in motion a chaotic scene onstage. Those details, provided by two people familiar with the process who were not authorized to speak publicly, helped clarify some of the details of what happened onstage Sunday night.
Yet it still took more than two minutes between Ms. Dunaway announcing “La La Land” as best picture and an announcement from the “La La Land” producers that “Moonlight” was in fact the winner. Three “La La Land” producers had given acceptance speeches before the mistake was announced.
Exactly how the confusion resulting in Mr. Beatty’s being handed the wrong envelope occurred is not fully known. But it could have to do with the design. PricewaterhouseCoopers used a new envelope this year, featuring red paper with gold lettering that specifies the award inside. That may have made the outside of the envelopes more difficult to read than last year’s envelopes, which featured gold paper and red lettering. The academy is responsible for the envelope design.
“I read the card that was in the envelope,” Mr. Beatty told reporters on his way to the Governors Ball. “I thought, ‘This is very strange because it says “best actress” on the card.’ And I felt that maybe there was some sort of misprint.” Pressed further, he said, “That’s all I have to say on the subject.”
PricewaterhouseCoopers declined to comment beyond the statement it put out early Monday morning.
For the filmmakers and actors in “Moonlight,” those final seven minutes of the Oscars ceremony — from Ms. Dunaway’s announcement of “La La Land” to the discovery that “Moonlight” had won to the speeches by its producers, by Mr. Beatty and by Mr. Kimmel — were no less stunning.
“The last 20 minutes of my life have been insane,” Barry Jenkins, the director of “Moonlight,” told reporters backstage after the ceremony. “I don’t think my life could be changed any more dramatically than the last 20 or 30 minutes.”