The biggest fiasco in Oscars history - but at least it was memorable

February 27, 2017
Source: BBC
The biggest fiasco in Oscars history - but at least it was memorable

It looked like it was going to be the least exciting Oscars ever. In the end, it turned out to be the craziest.

When La La Land's name was read out as the winner of the prize for best picture, that seemed to confirm this year's Oscars as being even more predictable and unmemorable than usual.

But two minutes 22 seconds later, all hell broke loose.

Later, in the Oscars press room, I asked the official Academy Awards historian, who knows everything there is to know about the Oscars and is on hand to answer journalists' questions, if anything like this had ever happened before.

Her eyes glanced down, a sheepish look came over her face, and she replied: "Not that I know of."

This just does not happen. This is the Oscars. And this is best picture - the final and most prestigious prize of the night.

But it has happened - they announced the wrong winner, and 2017 now has an indelible place in Oscars history.

Until that point, the biggest upset was Hacksaw Ridge beating La La Land to the award for best film editing. That's how exciting it was.

But La La Land was hot favourite to win best picture, so no-one was surprised when its name was read out.

Its producers were midway through their well-polished acceptance speeches when hell began to break loose.

Perhaps it was worth the mistake to hear La La producer Jordan Horowitz's line, delivered during that heady two minutes 22 seconds: "There's a lot of love in this room, and let's use it to create and champion bold and diverse work - work that inspires us towards joy, towards hope and towards empathy."

He could have been referring to Moonlight. And when he was told of the mix-up shortly afterwards, his quick and uncomplaining concession to Moonlight was admirable.