Diversity triumphs over botched announcement at Oscars 2017

Lifestyle Correspondent
Wednesday, March 1st, 2017


Veterans Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty can blame all their errors on Steve Harvey, whom they considered to be the “mother of botched announcements” (according to a recent Hollywood Reporter feature,) after accidentally announcing “La La Land” as Best Picture in this year’s 89th Annual Academy Awards instead of the actual winner, “Moonlight.”


In hindsight, it seemed clear from the moment Warren Beatty opened the envelope that was supposed to contain the winner for Best Picture that something was amiss. Beatty, who has previously received more than a dozen Oscar nominations, is no stranger to the tension and gravity of the moment when a winner is announced on stage. He looked hesitant when he opened the envelope and seemed to be looking for help from his co-announcer, Faye Dunaway. Misreading Beatty’s hesitation as a playful effort to prolong the suspense, Dunaway, herself a three-time nominee and Best Actress winner, looked at the envelope’s contents and blurted out “La La Land.”


Moonlight had actually won. And as the nearly 35 million viewers soon saw, Beatty had been given the wrong envelope.


What made it embarrassing was that the whole crew of “La La Land” was up on stage giving their acceptance speech, when they were interrupted midway by Beatty and given the horrific mix-up.


But this also ensured that diversity reigned supreme on that day, as the story of a young gay African American coming out of the closet (Moonlight) won Best Picture, while one of its protagonists, played by Mahershala Ali, became the first Muslim to receive an award at the Oscars.


And best supporting actress Viola Davis, star of Fences, made history as the first black woman to win an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony for acting. It’s worth remembering, though, that only 12 months ago the #OscarsSoWhite controversy was all Hollywood was talking about. From Loving’s Ruth Negga to Moonlight’s Naomie Harris to Lion’s Dev Patel, the losers were a pretty diverse bunch too. Auli’iCravalho, an actress of Chinese, Irish, Native Hawaiian, Portuguese and Puerto Rican descent, sang a song on stage. And Lion’s Sunny Pawar, an eight-year-old boy who was born and raised in a Mumbai slum, got lifted aloft by Jimmy Kimmel, the ceremony’s host.


According to Fortune, they even chalked up leadership lessons from this ordeal – own your mistakes; fix them; apologize for them; investigate them; and do the best you can to move on and learn from them.

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