The legendary actress, 82, who presented the Academy Award for best foreign language film earlier in the night, was sitting in the audience when Beatty, 79, and his Bonnie and Clyde costar Faye Dunaway took the stage to present best picture. “I think we’re all processing the horror of it,” MacLaine told USA Today on Tuesday, February 28. “I’m still dealing with it.”
As everyone knows by now, Beatty was accidentally given the wrong envelope — the best actress envelope — and Dunaway announced that La La Land was the winner of the night’s most prestigious award. Two producers from the Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling-led musical gave heartfelt acceptance speeches before the historic error was corrected, and Moonlight accepted the Oscar. The Reds actor later reclaimed the stage to explain what went wrong. “I opened the envelope and it said Emma Stone, La La Land. That’s why I took such a long look at Faye and you,” he said.
The Terms of Endearment actress is so close with her younger brother that she immediately felt his pain. “I’m concerned with how [Beatty] must have felt being so close to him,” she said. “I’m three years older and I’m protective. We know how difficult it was for him, but it was also for me.”
MacLaine reached out to Beatty “immediately” after the awards show concluded on that chaotic note. “He was backstage dealing with what he was going through. He didn’t answer his phone,” she said. “And then I called the home and [his wife Annette Bening] answered and we talked. And that’s all I’m going to say.”
The disaster put a damper on her Oscars evening, too, and she only briefly stopped by the Governors Ball after party. “I just wanted to go home,” she said. “It’s something to really think about, what if it happened to you?”