Opinion: The Biggest Upset in Oscar History

The title to this article refers to two things. First of all, La La Land was announced as the winner of Best Picture, then suddenly, after all speeches had finished, it was revealed that there had been a production mistake and the Oscar actually went to Moonlight. Looking past who should have won, it should be noted how horrendous this was for the La La Land producers. Men who had just divulged what the award meant to them, emotional and proud, were just told that their film, a film that won 6 Oscars, nearly every precursor and is acclaimed by critics and audiences, was not the winner. That moment was awful to view and must have been absolutely disgusting to feel.

Prior to announcement, the only two people to know who wins the awards are from the accounting firm, Price Waterhouse Cooper. Why Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given these incorrect cards is unknown, but should have the accounts, there just off stage, quickly realised what was happening? Why did it take that long to stop what was occurring? Furthermore, while we can’t blame Beatty or Dunaway directly, they surely should have realised that a card saying ‘Emma Stone’ was not the right card. Both have won Oscars and therefore know the process.

UPDATE: Price Waterhouse Cooper have since apologised.

The second point that the title refers to, is the solid fact that Moonlight won. If you look at the show from an objective perspective, you cannot say that Moonlight deserved the award. La La Land won 6 Oscars (however, that is less than expected) compared to the 3 (including Best Picture) of Moonlight. La La Land won in acting, in direction, in music, in production design and cinematography. That’s momentous, and to then go onto lose Best Picture is the biggest upset in Oscar History.

I won’t blame the Academy for the incident, I will for giving the award to Moonlight, but they will need to consider letting Price Waterhouse go after this mistake. There also needs to be an investigation into how the envelopes were given out and who in the production team is to blame. Even if it was the mistake of one stage hand, this inquiry should still start by looking at the directors/producers. These are the people who are employed to run a smooth ship and stop these events from happening. They should feel ashamed and never work again. Up until that point, it was the best Oscars I have ever watched, but they blew it big time, and those responsible should realise the upset they have caused.

The Academy should also consider making each branch have a similar influence upon Best Picture. It doesn’t seem right that because the actors branch has more members it has a great influence on the overall Best Picture. Obviously if everyone has a vote it’s a more democratic choice but maybe the Oscars should take on a system similar to the electoral college, where one section can not overshadow another. This could be a superficial, generalised comment  but it seems logical that actors will vote for a film that emphasises acting over a film that has complex production design or score that some actors may not appreciate. I’m not saying give every branch the same number of votes but the branches should not be super disproportionate as they seem at the moment. I would increase the influence of the director’s branch, as the constant lack of alignment between Best Director and Best Picture is becoming odd.

I will continue to update this article over the coming as we learn more about occurred.