Millions of viewers watched (and cringed) when “La La Land” was mistakenly announced the best-picture winner when in fact “Moonlight” won, and if there’s one guy who could relate, it’s Steve Harvey.
“Warren, I know your pain. I can help Warren Beatty get through this. I’m going to show him how to handle it: with dignity and grace,” Harvey said during his radio show Monday morning.
Beatty and “Bonnie and Clyde” costar Faye Dunaway introduced the final trophy of the night, but they received the wrong envelope. Beatty had a quizzical look on his face and Dunaway announced “La La Land,” apparently having read the title.
“Hello. I want to tell you what happened: I opened the envelope and it said Emma Stone, ‘La La Land.’ I wasn’t trying to be funny,” Beatty told the audience shortly after the mixup. “This is ‘Moonlight,’ the best picture.”
In a statement released about 3 a.m. Monday, PricewaterhouseCoopers apologized for the mess.
“We sincerely apologize to “Moonlight,” “La La Land,” Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for best picture,” said the statement from the firm responsible for tallying Oscar ballots and keeping up with envelopes containing winners. “The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred.
We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation.”
Harvey, you may recall, accidentally crowned the wrong Miss Universe winner in December 2o15.
“I remember it like it happened yesterday,” he said Monday morning. “They handed me a card with three names on it. They put the winner’s name in the corner under my damn thumb.”
In rehearsals, there were only two names on the card, leading to the confusion, he said. Harvey strongly hinted that Beatty received more support in the moment and has faced less criticism afterward than he did.
“Thank God for producers that stand strong with their talent,” Harvey said. “Men and women willing to go out there and put their job on the line. I alone walked the walk of shame. Just a microphone and a look of ‘oh hell no.’ Warren Beatty had the same look.”
Harvey alluded to the strife he faced after inadvertently announcing the wrong winner.
“Because Warren Beatty made this mistake, does he have to die? Should he lose his life? Y’all want to kill him? Huh? Will he need security because of this? Me and Warren handled it great,” he said. “At least the producers of the Oscars on that show walked out and stood with him. They looked irritated, they snatched the card, and they corrected the mistake that night, unlike my situation.”
In closing Harvey quipped that the Oscars goof has exonerated him.
“Call me, Warren Beatty. Me and Warren Beatty gonna take photos together,” he said. “In the words of Martin Luther King: Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty I’m free at last!”
The AJC’s Oscar party team weighed in right after the stunning moment: