Warren Beatty is setting the record straight about the Oscar Best Picture snafu when his co-presenter Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced La La Land as the winner instead of Moonlight. The actor was on The Graham Norton Show, where the host of the BBC talk show called the incident “the TV moment of if not the year, the decade,” which Beatty quipped, “Not the century?”
Recalling the moment when the Best Picture winner was incorrectly announced, Beatty said that he thought there was an error, “I thought well, maybe this is a misprint. And then, I shouldn’t foul up the show just because someone made a little error.”
Norton then chimed in that it looked as if Beatty handed the card to Dunaway so that he wouldn’t be responsible for the mixup, which Beatty denounced.
“No, no. My instructions were take the envelope when I walked out,” he explained. “I couldn’t have it before that. And then I go out, and then I say something, and then I open the envelope and then I give it to Faye and she then says what it says.”
Once the mistake was caught – and the La La Land producers had said their acceptance speeches – Beatty stated, “I guess you could say it’s chaos.”
Norton laughed, explaining that the incident was “all anyone could talk about,” to which Beatty replied, “No, that’s not true, people talk about themselves.”
Since then, PricewaterhouseCoopers took full responsibility for accountant Brian Cullinan’s mistake. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences later confirmed that they were still sticking with the agency for future award shows, but would not use the same accountants.
“It was really a wonderful night and yes, there was a little excitement at the end. It was shock,” said Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, speaking at SXSW in one of her first public appearances since the Oscars Best Picture blunder.
“However, what I thought was so important was how, in a matter of minutes, you saw a humanity and a respect and a graciousness from the La La Land filmmakers and the Moonlight filmmakers in way that I thought was very special,” she said. “I felt with everyone associated… all came together in a beautiful note and a beautiful ending.”