Hiding forever, bye. The Best Picture mix-up at the 2017 Oscars on Sunday, February 26, was brutal to watch, but it’s not the first time someone accidentally announced the wrong name during a live TV broadcast.
The only other time an Oscars victory was seriously questioned was when Marisa Tomei won best supporting actress for My Cousin Vinny in 1993. The following year, The Hollywood Reporter printed rumors alleging that presenter Jack Palance could have made a mistake. Tomei hadn’t won any awards for her role leading up to the big night.
Tomei addressed the allegations while hosting the October 1, 1994, episode of Saturday Night Live. “Before we start, I wanted to say something, just wanted to clear the air. There’s this crazy rumor, some of you may have heard it, some of you may have not, that when I won the Academy Award for My Cousin Vinny, that I didn’t really win the Oscar, that because Jack Palance accidentally read the wrong name off the teleprompter. But that’s just absolutely not true!” she said at the time. “I won the Academy Award, fair and square, and I was just the happiest I’d ever been, since, um, since I was named Ms. Teenage America, thank you, back in 1987, the year it was hosted by Jack Palance.”
Tomei’s moment may have been a false alarm, but there have been some actual and near-catastrophic mix-ups in TV history. More recently, of course, Steve Harvey mistakenly announced Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutiérrez, as Miss Universe 2015, instead of the real winner, Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach.
“It wasn’t that quick. It was four minutes of pure hell,” he later said during The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. “It was crazy, man, because, look, I’m a smart guy. I can read. I read the teleprompter, but the guy in my ear said, ‘Read the next name,’ and the teleprompter just said, ‘And the new 2015 Miss Universe is,’ and the next thing he said was, ‘Read the next name now, now.’ I said, ‘Miss Colombia.’ Crowd goes crazy. He goes, ‘Great job, Steve.'”
To make matters worse, the results card was a bit confusing. Even though it stated “Philippines” as Miss Universe 2015 in the right corner, “Colombia” was mentioned first on the left.
Harvey apologized profusely after the incident, but he did appear relieved that he wasn’t the only one to make such a blunder on Sunday night. “Good morning everybody! Went to sleep early last night. So … what I miss? #Oscars,” he tweeted on Monday. “Call me Warren Beatty. I can help you get through this! #Oscars.”
Beatty, 79, turned red at the 89th Academy Awards when he realized that he and Faye Dunaway announced La La Land as the Best Picture winner over Moonlight, which actually won the top honor.
His reaction, however, was nothing compared to Australia’s Next Top Model host Sarah Murdoch. In 2010, she crowned Kelsey Martinovich the winner before she realized that Amanda Ware was the real frontrunner.
Murdoch became emotional and covered her face with her hand. “Oh, my God. I don’t know what to say right now. I’m feeling a bit sick about this. No,” she said, while listening to her earpiece. “I don’t know what to say. This is a complete accident, I’m so sorry. It’s Amanda. I’m so sorry. It was fed to me wrong.”
Nothing can top Sunday night’s gaffe, however. La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz, who cut his acceptance speech short when he learned of the mistake, spoke about the incident to Good Morning America.
“It was a surreal moment for sure,” he said via phone. “There was a lot of confusion on stage, and at a certain point it was clear that the wrong envelope had been given … It was like this slow, steady realization that something wasn’t right. It needed to be corrected, so we jumped in and did it.”
Relive the cringeworthy moment in the video above.
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