February 27th, 2017

The Oscars: gaseous glamour and gigantic gaffes

Blame it on Bonnie and Clyde (aka Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty) in their dotage.

Blame it on the Russians, who must have hacked the thing.

Because the f-up at the end of the Oscars—the climax, as it were—was monumental.

But first, the good stuff. Surprisingly, I liked most of the dresses, especially Halle Berry’s, although I think she should go back to her usual short hair because she’s one of the few people in the world who look really really great in that style:

You can find a lot of the other fashions here.

Now for the rest. Jimmy Kimmel was remarkably unfunny, and almost every “joke” he made was political. But he was hardly alone. I expected a lot of liberal self-congratulatory politics from the presenters and from the award recipients. But apparently I underestimated the capacity of Hollywood celebrities to keep up an incessant, repetitive drumbeat of praise for themselves and their devotion to diversity, love of immigration, reverence for freedom, and all those things they have been told that Trump and the right are dead set against. And all of this was delivered as though they were courageously standing up to tanks in Tianamen Square.

Which brings me to the finale of the evening. The monumental error occurred during the announcement of the Best Picture award, and rather than describe it I’ll show it to you. When you watch the video, it helps to know that just a moment earlier, Emma Stone had won Best Actress for her performance in “La La Land,” and also that “for each category, there are two cards waiting in the wings, one on each side”:

In addition to everything else, the award was a Trumpian-magnitude upset, because “La La Land” was considered a shoe-in. As Vox had predicted earlier in the day:

Best Picture

This race isn’t particularly close. La La Land will win, and if the trophy goes to any other film, it will be the biggest Oscar upset ever.

It was YUGE.

39 Responses to “The Oscars: gaseous glamour and gigantic gaffes”

  1. Cornhead Says:

    Obviously a giant screwup in the announcement. How in the world did Faye say “La La Land” if the card read, “Emma Stone, Best Actress?”

    But the award was obviously political. Hollywood had to signal its virtue and reward a picture about a gay black.

  2. Mike K Says:

    Yes, the gay black trumped, so to speak, talent.

  3. Cornhead Says:

    And this:

    “The “In Memoriam” segment of Sunday’s show included a tribute to costume designer and four-time nominee Janet Patterson — but ran a photo of the very-much-still-alive Australian producer Jan Chapman by mistake.”

  4. F Says:

    The producers, cast and crew of La La Land now know how Hillary felt.

  5. F Says:

    La La Land is a perfect description of how Beatty and Dunaway looked and acted. They were clearly beyond their “use-by” date. Bad choice of prisoners.

  6. Stubbs Says:

    Hollywood cannot even get its specialty, self congratulation, right.

  7. Cornhead Says:

    And we should look to these people for political guidance?

  8. GRA Says:

    Though not seen as an yuge upset, Fun House won Best Musical a couple of years ago which featured a *lesbian protagonist, the first in musical theater history. In my city’s newspaper the headline went something along the lines of a “historic win” mainly due to the subject matter, not mentioning any masterful story telling or nuances the musical might have had. In other words the reward was dished out for political reasons.

    *I have a family member who’s a homosexual. I asked if he had seen Moonlight; he replied yes and said it was good to alright. I got the feeling he didn’t share the same sentiments as the professional critics. I then asked about Blue Is the Warmest Color to which he expressed no interest in.

  9. NeoConScum Says:

    MikeK: fyi, in Hollywood studios & networks the personnel offices and “diversity police” quietly call “gay & black” double winners and “gay, black & females” are Triple Winners.
    To my disappointment & amazement, LOVING got nearly ignored on nominations. It should have been up for picture, lead actor, direction, screenplays and wasn’t. The wonderful female lead got the only “Large” nomination.

    The 300-F Words Manchester got massive, undeserved recognition and the best pic released in 2016 got nada. My industry is Idiotic at many awards times. Sad on this one.

  10. Nick Says:

    Heh. Neo, you were wondering if La La Land would have a place in Oscar history, and now it really does.

  11. Frog Says:

    Neo’s posted video of the mal-announcement is all I have seen of the Oscar event. I don’t even know about, nor have seen, any of the movies. Nor do I intend to.

    But the video did show the 1930s-style stage backdrop, and I understand an Iranian honored by the ayatollahs received his 2nd Oscar.

    Under the claims of diversity, peace, freedom, Hollywood is marching to a new Fascism. The Beattys and Dunaways would be caricatures in a healthy society, not wealthy, “honored” doyens in their dotage.

  12. London Trader Says:

    To be fair to Warren Beatty he clearly realized there was a problem. After opening the envelope he looks inside to check if there is a second card and then is reluctant to read what the card says.

  13. ken Says:

    If it weren’t for Hollywood celebrities , we’d have no decency or morals at all.


  14. Llwddythlw Says:

    I was playing the Academy Award Politicization Fantasy League, courtesy of HWX and Ricochet. Unfortunately, you couldn’t nominate Jimmy Kimmel, otherwise I would have racked up a lot of points for his turgid invective.

    The whole thing reminded me of Blackadder’s description of Baldrick’s war poem. “It started badly, it tailed off a little in the middle and the less said about the end the better — but apart from that it was excellent.”


  15. Llwddythlw Says:

    I have not yet seen “Arrival” which won the Oscar for best sound editing, but I can recommend the short story on which it’s based, Story of Your Life, by Ted Chiang.

  16. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Perfect. The ending could not have been scripted any better.

    I imagine that the technical competence is at an all time high. Since nature must balance, it’s no surprise that the depravity, hubris, ignorance and stupidity match Hollywood’s technical capabilities.

    Children pretending to be adults. Imagining that reality is whatever they wish it to be.

  17. Yancey Ward Says:

    I will defend Beatty, too- he clearly realized something was wrong- it was Dunaway who took the fatal last step. However, whoever was in charge of giving out the cards is the real cretin.

  18. Nick Says:

    Two old white people trying to keep black film artists down!

  19. neo-neocon Says:

    I don’t actually blame either Beatty or Dunaway. The mistake was by the person giving the card. If Emma Stone hadn’t been acting in La La Land, but in some more obscure film that wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture, Beauty and Dunaway would have almost certainly realized what had happened. Problem was, the card also said “La La Land.” That’s what misled them.

    Beatty realized that something was off. But instead of Questioning Authority (ha!), he passed the buck to Dunaway, who thought he was just being funny and read it as “La La Land,” perhaps because she was becoming embarrassed by the length of the delay.

    Movie stars get nervous, too, especially when doing something live.

  20. Cornhead Says:

    Accountants at PriceWaterhouse are at fault.

  21. Montage Says:

    From my perspective, on the left coast, this gaffe was more entertaining than shocking. And not at all upsetting. I feel the media is making a bigger deal out of this than it was. After all it was an awards show.

    And despite the protests by Cornhead and Mike K, Moonlight is an excellent film. Is it a political choice? Sure. What isn’t a political choice in entertainment? That’s the world we live in now. More importantly, who cares? If the Oscars truly mean nothing to you then you should not care what wins or loses.

  22. neo-neocon Says:


    I don’t think all the interest has much to do with caring about who won the award, although I’m sure that it matters a great deal to the winners and losers.

    The interest is in the public nature of the gaffe on live TV, especially occurring at the absolute apex, the climax of what is a self-congratulatory ceremony, hyped to the skies. And it’s about something very very simple that most people can understand: putting the right card in a person’s hand. How difficult can that be? How incompetent does one have to be to get that wrong?

  23. Lowell Says:

    I love to nit-pick, so here goes. I counted at least 5 separate mistakes in the Best Picture Oscar fiasco. 1 – Price Waterhouse gave Beatty the wrong envelope. 2 – Beatty, after being confused about what the card said, didn’t bother to look at the outside of the envelope which clearly stated Leading Actress. 3 – Beatty didn’t immediately question the card, but simply gave up any further analysis and gave the card to Dunaway. 4 – Dunaway immediately announced “La La Land”. And, most interesting of all, 5 – Price Waterhouse, who allegedly had memorized all of the winners, let the farce go on for several minutes while LaLaLand accepted the award.

  24. Artfldgr Says:

    OSCARS WARREN AND FAYE FOUGHT Over Who Announces Best Picture

    Warren Beatty gave Faye Dunaway what she demanded during rehearsal … the honor of reading the winner of Best Picture, and he watched as she failed in spectacular fashion.

    Sources who were present at Saturday’s rehearsal tell us, both Faye and Warren wanted to announce the winner and went back and forth, but eventually Warren backed off and Faye got her way.

    In fact, we’re told their rehearsal was contentious from start to finish … they wouldn’t go onstage together to block their walkout … they did it separately.

    Watch the clip closely … you see Faye angling to get the envelope as Warren tries to make sense of it … as if she fears he might jack the moment and read it himself. Warren didn’t warn her … he just passed the envelope.

    And watch how quickly Faye reads the winner … it’s almost as if she worried Warren would beat her to the punch. It’s pretty apparent … Warren knew something was wrong and she just jumped.

    We’ve reached out to Faye and Warren’s reps for comment … so far, no word back.

    nothing like a demanding lady…
    no, really, there is nothing like a demanding lady
    you cant say no, then your mean
    you give in, she gets worse
    and spite and passive agressive become menu items

    [given the times, not enough is said this way, cause those ladies will get mean if you say the truth or help them, or refuse to help them, or like what hey were, or dont like it, or or or…… ]

  25. miklos000rosza Says:

    I wasn’t aware of this kerfuffle until today, where I saw the video clip above. I haven’t seen any of these films.

    I have, however, been watching a lot of product on Netflix lately. I’ve liked some of it. About half. Selection criteria remain a mystery.

  26. J.J. Says:

    Kudos to neo for doing the job that most conservatives will not do – watching the Oscars.

    I know nothing of fashion, but enjoy your observations on them.

    I know nothing of art. Thus I don’t want to judge whether a movie is worthy of an award. What I do know is that I am watching movies much less and am not enjoying those I do see very much.

    Poor Beatty and Dunaway. I remember when they were handsome and beautiful. Now, like all we old timers they have passed their use by date. Seeing them in the clip made me feel pity – for both them and for myself. We old codgers should know when our prime has passed. But just like Warren Beatty, when I see the old man in the mirror each morning, my mind does this trick that tells me I’m still 39. And so it goes.

  27. M J R Says:

    neo writes,

    “Jimmy Kimmel was remarkably unfunny, and almost every ‘joke’ he made was political. . . . But apparently I underestimated the capacity of Hollywood celebrities to keep up an incessant, repetitive drumbeat of . . . all those things they have been told that Trump and the right are dead set against.”

    I’m reminded of 1990-give-or-take-a-cuppla-years, when Dan Quayle was privileged to occupy what was to become the Distinguished Donald Trump Chair of who is Stoopidest and the Most Like [wait for it . . .] HITLER!

    What I’m reminded of right now, is all the Dan Quayle jokes. It seemed this one colleague had a new one to chuckle over practically every time we-all sat down to lunch in the cafeteria.

    I was struck then, and even now in retrospect, by how all those jokes were essentially the *same* *joke*, merely minor variations on the same “incessant, repetitive” theme. A “drumbeat” indeed. But what also struck me was how this colleague and his left-leaning friends found in themselves the capacity to laugh merrily at this same old same old “joke”.

    And these were the people who fancied themselves the intellectuals of the world, you know, the Michael Dukakises as contrasted with those Bush-The-Inarticulates. (And later, in a successor generation, the Al Gores and John Kerries as contrasted with those Bush-The-Dummies; the Barack Hussein Obamas as contrasted with mere imperfect mortals.)

    It’s so-o-o-o warm and fuzzy to be better than everyone else.

    neo concludes,

    “And all of this was delivered as though they were courageously standing up to tanks in Tianamen Square.”

    Exactly. Snark.

  28. Nick Says:

    It’s compelling viewing, I’ll say that. Kudos to the production people. You can sense disruption onstage, but they didn’t focus on it, but when the real card went up they had a camera right on it, and they didn’t focus on the shocked people on the stage. Interesting to see the deployment of the Price Waterhouse 1st Tactical Squad. It also shows that Jimmy Kimmel is not the man you want on the spot. Most interesting of all is that Warren Beatty and Joe Biden have somehow converged into the same person.

  29. Sam L. Says:

    I looked at the fashions. I recognized NONE of those people. Maybe I should have looked at the names over in the lower left corner.

  30. groundhog Says:

    I think Beatty had the deer in the headlights look.

    Theater actors have to deal with all sorts of mishaps and figure out a way through it without everything falling apart.

    And he’s also old and slow.

  31. Nick Says:

    Halle Berry does look appealing in that dress. That’s a remarkably low bar for a designer, though. I do think the dress is nice, though, and it’d be attractive on just about anyone.

  32. Steve S Says:

    My favorite part of this was at the 3:37 mark:

    “I would like to see you get an Oscar, anyway. Why can’t we just give out a whole bunch of them?”

    In other words, let’s turn the Oscars into participation trophies.

  33. Mac Says:

    Never have cared about the Oscars (or Grammys), and have only seen one of the movies discussed for this year’s awards, but it’s a fine one: Arrival. Somewhat cerebral sci-fi, but more than that, too. Sorry I didn’t get to see it a second time while it was still in theaters. Recommended.

  34. Yankee Says:

    I’m not made out of money, so rather than pay $8.00 for a matinee showing, I can wait and buy the physical media. Then I can get my money’s worth with repeated viewings. And even then, I like to get movies with a good, sweeping feel to them, and an actor or actress that I personally favor.

    This year’s Best Picture, “Moonlight” (a drama about gay black people) is the sort of thing I would watch if it was broadcast on TV, and even then I would be working on other things while it was on. And it makes you wonder how well that movie will hold up, a few years from now.

    It’s also instructive to look back on some past winners for Best Picture, and consider what you might like for repeat viewings:

    Ben-Hur (1959)
    Rocky (1976)
    Gladiator (2000)

    Are you not entertained?

  35. AesopFan Says:

    F Says:
    February 27th, 2017 at 9:14 am
    The producers, cast and crew of La La Land now know how Hillary felt.
    * * *
    Like this?

    Oh, go ahead, and look at the whole set.


  36. parker Says:

    Who cares? I don’t care what the narcissistic holyweird posers spout or how they awarded themselves. I have zero interest in what they wore to their self love feast. They re 10 billion light years from reality experienced on Main Street flyover country. And they remain stupid as to why we cling to our guns, Clueless.

  37. Roy Says:

    Parker, they cling to their guns too. It’s just that their body guards are the ones carrying them.

  38. Michael Says:

    I’ve been traveling so sorry I’m a day late here.

    My biggest observation was during the “Mean Tweets” portion when Robert DeNiro basically told his fans to ‘f’ off. Seems so typical of Hollywood these days, that is, their disdain for the fly-over fans who (perhaps) voted for Trump.

    The ‘Best Picture” SNAFU –and its whole cringe-worthy-ness — pretty much made the evening for me. I hope they all drop dead.

  39. Ymarsakar Says:

    Watching/talking about the Oscars=helping to perpetuate disinformation in the US via culture.

    If you see evil, kill it. Not talk about how great it could be.

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