And the Oscar goes to…

3000

For a moment there I was feeling a good deal of sympathy for Warren Beatty. As he said, he was handed the wrong envelope. Finding a card saying “Emma Stone, LA LA LAND” he was understandably nonplussed. Had he looked at the ENVELOPE, it would have been clear what had happened, but in the heat of the moment, it’s understandable that he froze and didn’t think to do that.

Except that won’t quite do, because the card doesn’t just say “Emma Stone, LA LA LAND” it also says “Best Actress” or “Best Actress in a Leading Role” or something. Which means it might as well have said “This is the Wrong Card.” Which would be a surprising thing to read, but not actually a confusing one. You might be thrown by it, but you wouldn’t hand the card over to Faye Dunaway to read out.

I don’t blame Faye, who must have thought Warren had lost it, taking so long to read the damn card. So that when she got a look at it, she thought time was of the essence and blurted out the name of the film printed there.

The same thing ALMOST happened in 1985.

Larry Olivier was given the job of presenting. He omitted to read the nominees’ names. Which caused a couple of the organizers a moment of panic — did Olivier read the name of the winner or did he just read the first name, alphabetically, on the list of nominees.

The organizers rushed up to him afterwards and asked him this. “I have absolutely no idea,” Sir Larry blinked. There was then, as I recall, some kind of CAR CHASE to find the only person who actually knew what was supposed to be in the envelope. It turned out that, by luck or good judgement, the right film won. And I think, actually, the best film of those nominated, which God knows is unusual enough

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11 Responses to “And the Oscar goes to…”

  1. I was more saddened by the plastic surgery on display than I am critical of the lack of thinking on one’s feet.

  2. Yeah, the orchestra leader should’ve struck up a chorus of “Put ‘Em Back the Way They Wuz” from Li’l Abner. I knew Dunaway had done away with her natural looks, but it was kind of a shock to see Beatty. He seemed credibly humanoid in the trailer for his last movie, but here…

  3. I’ve seen him up close quite recently. Those wrinkles are real.

  4. Can’t hold the ageing process back forever, I guess. It’s the odd taut bits here and there that make him look disturbing, though.

  5. I meant Dunaway, not Beatty. He just looked a little more befuddled that usual.

  6. But I’m with you about scary Mel Gibson.

  7. Neely Ohara Says:

    Seriously, how stupid does one have to be not to simply have said, “And the Oscar goes to… we seem to have been handed the wrong envelope — may we have the correct one please?”

    And I was on a plane with Beatty recently, and he looked pretty damn good. The legends are aging, and when Dunaway passes it’ll be particularly sad, as parts of her are sooooooooo young…

  8. Randy Cook Says:

    I saw Warren B at John Huston’s memorial service in 1987 and he had just had an eye job, maybe his first. It was startling how startled he looked. He’s obviously been at it since.

  9. Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) talked about walking into Hollywood parties and feeling like a bomb must have just gone off, because everyone looked surprised.

    Dunaway had bone structure to kill for, it’s terrible what she’s done to herself. She would have looked amazing. How do you cast her now? She can only play very rich people in contemporary settings with distracting faces.

  10. Matt Lloyd Says:

    There’s also this screw-up, classily handled by Sammy Davis Jr. A conspiracy theorist might draw attention to the presence of Jack Lemmon on both occasions… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmmi9ksOtt4

  11. Davis had a much easier job, both because John Addison really HAD won, just not in the category under discussion (and like Dunaway, he read what was in front of him without question) and because, in those distant days, foreigners didn’t generally fly in for the ceremony, so there was no Brit composer bounding up to the podium at the wrong time…

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