The biggest error in Academy Award history: What does it really mean?
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As is the fashion with the dramatic arts, each awards season is unable to shake the inevitable drama that comes with it. In particular, the Academy Awards is an evening rife with shock and spectacle, and in previous years we have truly witnessed some corkers - from Jennifer Lawrence’s fall walking to the stage, Marlon Brando refusing to accept his Best Actor award for The Godfather due to the treatment of American Indians in the film industry, John Travolta’s botching of Idina Menzel’s name to ‘Adele Nazeem’ to Chris Rock’s defamatory speech regarding #OscarsSoWhite and the misrepresentation of black actors in the main award categories just last year. I could go on for hours, but the latter fits in nicely with the main dramatic event of this year’s ceremony. While the 89th Academy Awards had many things occur to make it a memorable evening - the backlash against Casey Affleck’s win due to his sexual harassment allegations, Viola Davis’s wonderfully emotional and uplifting speech - the biggest error in Oscar history is what will define it. In case you missed it, the Best Picture award was falsely presented to La La Land, when in actual fact the winner was Moonlight. This could have all been easily avoided, with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway being given the wrong category card for Best Actress. It became clear throughout La La Land’s producers’ speeches that something had gone awry, before Justin Horowitz explaining to the audience that “there’s been a mistake”, and announcing that Moonlight was the real winner. Horowitz was truly gracious in public defeat, making sure to rectify the mistake and let his friends from Moonlight revel in their awards. It was an excruciating five or so minutes at the end of a ceremony that will now be defined by its last moments, something that not even the witty Jimmy Kimmel could even attempt to salvage. So what does this embarrassment mean? For starters, props to the cast and crew of La La Land. It was not their fault that the wrong film was read out and were humble in their acceptance of the situation, leaving the stage in order for Moonlight to accept its awards in the usual way. It must have really hurt to give those acceptance speeches only to be told that you didn’t actually win in front of millions of people.
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