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One week on, and the world continues to act like the something strange happened at the Oscars. Spoiler alert, it didn’t. It was an inconsequential finale of an inconsequential award ceremony.
Years ago, the Best Actor favourite Russell Crowe lost at the final post to Denzel Washington. At the Oscars party I was attending, a friend asked me, “Will Rusty be okay?”
Yeah, he’ll be fine.
Perspective, people. It’s a TV show depicting adults handing each other trophies. Talk about a set of bad circumstances. You make a whimsical musical which is a hit, and people seem to love it, and it scoops awards left and right. Then you get the big one, the biggest one in the industry, only to have it taken back from you a few minutes later, because some accountants literally took their eyes off the prize.
Bad look for the Academy, who made headlines for all the wrong reasons. A bad look for host Jimmy Kimmel, who did a bang-up, snarky job, hosting a zero-sum game of a gig, for it all to fall to pieces at the 11th hour. Bad look for the producers of La La Land, who just experienced entertainment’s most acute case of blue balls. And a bad look for Moonlight‘s producers who got to have their moment in the spotlight tarnished by an administrative cock-up.
It’s not been a good year for Warren Beatty, either. He makes this Howard Hughes passion project in Rules Don’t Apply (which is just a hot mess, which you’d know if you saw it, which you haven’t, and won’t), and then looks like a goose walking out on stage to hand the producers of La La Land a prize for something they didn’t win.
He should have just said, “We’ve been given the wrong card,” and they would have fixed it. Poor old fella (he’s 80) got confused by Emma Stone’s name in the wrong envelope, and looked to Faye Dunaway for answers. Bad move that one, as she seemed keener to show off her new veneers than scrutinise the paperwork. All a bit sad, for the man who Jack Nicholson calls “The Pro”. But then again, if you’ve read Peter Biskind’s Beatty biography, Star, you’d realise that dude’s seen more bumper than a panelbeater, so he’ll be fine.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, well, they look like prize doofuses (doofi?). They send two of their top brass to the Oscars with a pair of satchels containing a pair of envelopes for every category, with the single task of doling them out one at a time.
By the way, you ever wonder why there are two sets of envelopes? It’s to prevent this exact thing from happening. Imagine if you will, Leonardo DiCaprio is in cahoots with Meryl Streep, for some reason. He thinks she deserves another gong, so he opens the Best Actress envelope, reads Emma Stone’s name and thinks, “Fuck it”, says “Meryl Streep”, she clambers up onto the stage, the crowd goes wild and Trump loses his left nut.
Jimmy Kimmel summed it up pretty well, saying as the curtain went down, “It’s just an awards show, folks.” Which kind of belied what had just happened for the past three hours – and 89 years, for that matter. He’s right. It is just glitter and nonsense.
To prevent such shenanigans, while PwC Jackass #1 hands Leo the envelope, Jackass #2 is in the wings opening the duplicate. They see that Emma Stone is the winner and are supposed to spring into action when something goes pear-shaped.
Ergo, the conspiracy theorists who think a senile Jack Palance just read the wrong name on the outside of the envelope when handing 1992’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar to Marisa Tomei for My Cousin Vinny…well, it couldn’t have happened.
Someone would have walked on stage to correct it, had it been wrong. Thankfully, this kind of thing doesn’t happen too often – and you can see by the bejewelled shitstorm that happens when it does, why it’s such a “big deal”.
When things went all Pete Tong last week, the PwC jackassery were too busy with their thumbs up their butts to swing into action soon enough. Jackass #1 (the guy who gave poor Warren Beatty the, wrong, effing, envelope…) had just, minutes earlier, taken his eyes off the prize to Tweet a photo (since deleted) of Emma Stone backstage for his coterie of online followers to gaze at in awe. In a world class example of “You Had One Job!”, this guy (Brian Cullinan) takes the cake. Here’s the skinny on this prize twit: he’s Chairman of PwC’s US Board and Managing Partner of PwC’s Southern California, Arizona & Nevada Market. And, for the love of all things holy, he’s a self-described “Matt Damon lookalike”*. Dude still has his job, for some reason. (*cough)
Hell breaks loose. The favourite gets embarrassed in front of millions, and the (admittedly beautiful; achingly so) tale of a young, gay black man’s lifelong search for love and sense of identity gets put on a list that includes Gone With the Wind and The Godfather. It’s no real loss, at the end of the day, no matter what anyone tells you.
Jimmy Kimmel summed it up pretty well, saying as the curtain went down, “It’s just an awards show, folks.” Which kind of belied what had just happened for the past three hours – and 89 years, for that matter.
He’s right. It is just glitter and nonsense. Moonlight‘s win doesn’t make it a better or worse film than La La Land, or Arrival, Hell or High Water, or any other film nominated for Best Picture – or not. After all, Forrest Gump beat Pulp Fiction, and Dances With Wolves beat GoodFellas. Art’s not a competition and awards shows are nonsense.
It’s just fun and games.