February 27, 2017

What Warren Beatty’s Best Picture Flub can Teach us All.

This year’s end to the Oscars ceremony will go down in history.

After La La Land was announced as the winner for Best Picture by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway last night, and the entire team took the stage and began their acceptance speech, someone backstage realized Beatty had been given the wrong envelope and announced the wrong winner for Best Picture.

In a rather awkward and abrupt turn, Moonlight was announced by La La Land Producer, Jordan Horowitz, as the real winner of the award. There was so much chaos and confusion on stage that Horowitz had to repeat to the audience and viewers, “This is not a joke. Moonlight has won best picture.”

Obviously, tons of fanfare has gone down this morning on every news outlet regarding the mistake, with reactions varying from “How could this happen?” to “How embarrassing,” to Jimmy Kimmel’s good-humored, “This is very unfortunate what happened. Personally, I blame Steve Harvey for this!” Kimmel was referencing Harvey’s announcement of the wrong Miss Universe winner in 2015.

I watched Warren Beatty looking confused when he first opened that envelope. His intuition kicked in, signaling that something wasn’t quite right. And like so many of us do, he pushed that feeling down and carried on. He plowed forward and made one of the biggest mistakes in Oscars history.

So basically, he’s human like all of us and ignored that tiny inner voice telling him to hit the pause button before acting.

And the member of the Oscars production team who handed him the wrong envelope? They are entirely human too.

Haven’t we all messed up, resulting in some havoc that created a whole lot of embarrassment and apologies on our end?

Does this make for some exciting and titillating news this morning? Hell yeah!

Will the late night talk show hosts have a field day with this tonight? Absolutely!

But I invite all of us to take a look at where we ignore that inner voice telling us that something seems off. How often do we really know that something is totally not right—that something bad is about to happen if we move forward?

Yet we convince ourselves that what other people are telling us is the truth, and that we are completely delusional and need to stop being so paranoid.

In doing so, we dishonor ourselves and our intuition and just hit the go button. We say what we’re being told to say. We give a presentation at work we know isn’t going to go over well. We invest in something we aren’t entirely convinced is a smart investment.

We get into a relationship with someone and even go so far as to marry them when our inner siren is screaming, “Warning! Warning! This isn’t right!”

We say things to people we instinctively know shouldn’t be said out loud and as a result destroy a relationship for a lifetime because we didn’t take the time to hit the pause button.

But more importantly, can we all stop looking at this whole Oscars debacle as anyone’s fault?

Blame never solves anything. The massive amount of time, planning and coordination that go into making the Academy Awards one of the most entertaining and celebratory evenings of the year is no small feat.

I say let’s celebrate the fact that we’ve gone this long without any of the presenters announcing the incorrect winner for Best Picture as a win for the Academy producers!

If we look at the upside, the little twist at the end of this year’s Oscars ceremony just shed light on the fact that mistakes happen, people are human, and in the face of it all, we can all be incredibly gracious.

From the way in which La La Land Producer Jordan Horowitz elegantly corrected the mistake in the midst of his acceptance speech and called the Moonlight team onstage to accept the award he was holding, to the humility of Moonlight Director Barry Jenkins who said on stage about the La La Land team: “We have been on the road with these guys for so long and that was so gracious, so generous of them. My love to La La Land. My love to everybody. Man.”

To Jimmy Kimmel who still managed to keep the show funny and end on a high note in the midst of the chaos.

And to all the other Oscar winners who went out of their way to show their support for both films by talking to the press and praising everyone for their incredible work on screen this year.

At the end of the day, it’s not about the flub that was made on national television. It’s really an example of how all of us can find compassion, understanding and even humor when someone makes a mistake and use it as an opportunity to still make people feel alright about it.


Author: Dina Strada

Image: YouTube still

Editor: Caitlin Oriel

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