Ah, the Oscars. What’s not to love about the most glamorous night of the year? Our favorite celebrities dressed to the nines, the drama over which movies will rake in the most accolades, Jimmy Kimmel making fun of both Donald Trump and Meryl Streep (because let’s face it, nobody’s safe).
And call us predictable, but we can’t help but love that it’s live - blunders and all. In fact, the Oscars are among the highest ad rates for non-sports programming because it is a live event:
“It’s the largest audience relative to any other entertainment program with the exception of sports. It’s a large audience, a live audience and an affluent one — and those are the things that really drive pricing,” Jon Swallen, chief research officer for Kantar Media, told the LA Times.
We obviously weren’t the only ones who witnessed the shocking turn of events on Sunday night’s Academy Awards. Presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were given the wrong envelope for Best Picture, resulting in the incorrect announcement that La La Land had won the coveted award. La La Land’s cast and producers flooded the stage, thanking friends and family while savoring a heavily anticipated win.
So I think it’s safe to say that jaws dropped all over the country when, less than two minutes later, the Oscar was handed instead to Moonlight, the intended winner.
While it would be so easy for the Academy to pre-record the event, removing bloopers and missteps like this before releasing it to the masses, we appreciate that these A-list events are broadcast live and untouched. After the Best Picture mix-up, we were treated to a rare-for-Hollywood sincerity and incredibly raw act of kindness by La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz, who was willing to put aside an embarrassing defeat and explain to the world what had happened.
“Moonlight won,” Horowitz said immediately into the microphone, amidst the chaos. “Guys, guys, I’m sorry. No. There’s been a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won best picture.”
It was a touching move on the producer’s part, who could have easily left it to Kimmel and the Academy staff to fix. Instead, he was the ultimate bigger person, setting aside his own feelings to make sure Moonlight got their due on the world’s biggest stage. In doing so, Horowitz became a hero overnight, praised for his class and pursuit of the truth.
"The folks from 'La La Land' were so gracious," Moonlight director Barry Jenkins shared with the LA Times. "I can’t imagine being in their position and having to do that. I wasn’t speechless because we won. I was speechless because it was so gracious of them to do that.”
We often tell our customers that mistakes happen while live, which is okay. Whether you trip over your words or say the wrong thing every so often, assume that your audience respects the fact that you aren’t perfect, and might even find you more relatable. And if you happen to fumble in a major way, just tell the truth about what happened. Who knows? Maybe you’ll become the authentic hero your brand needs.
As for the Academy Awards, we suspect this live mistake might be the best thing that could have happened to them, in terms of driving ratings for next year’s event. We’ll be watching - live!