Ever since approximately 12:10 am on Monday, #Envelopegate and #Oscarfail were trending on Twitter. The Oscars ended in one of the strangest debacles I’ve ever seen, when Faye Dunaway announced La La Land as the Best Picture winner because someone handed Warren Beatty the back-up Best Actress envelope rather than the Best Picture envelope. People have gone through the footage, and that’s the story that checks out – Beatty didn’t realize that he had been handed the wrong envelope by the accountants, and that’s why he seemed so flummoxed when he opened the envelope. Anyway, on last night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel explained what happened in that moment from his perspective:
I don’t blame Kimmel for this, nor do I blame Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. It’s pretty obvious that accountants f–ked up, and they’ve already issued an apology. Here’s another fun little addendum to the story about the accountants – apparently, Brian Cullinan, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, was too busy schmoozing with Emma Stone and other celebrities backstage and he was probably the one who messed up the envelopes.
As for Warren Beatty and the envelope situation, I actually feel really sorry for him. He got the blame in the first hours of the debacle and he seemed genuinely upset that this huge controversy had been set in motion on his watch. According to Page Six – and every other outlet – Beatty was given the real Best Picture envelope in the middle of the chaos, and he ended up hanging on to both envelopes, the Best Picture one and the duplicate Best Actress one. When Oscar security and Oscar producers tried to convince Beatty to give up the envelopes, this happened:
“Beatty was getting into an elevator, and they asked him to turn over the envelopes,” said a source who saw the exchange. But, “He said no, he was going to keep them.” The source said Beatty wanted the envelopes as proof he wasn’t responsible for the awards accident. “Warren can be a bit paranoid,” the source noted, “with his politics and everything.”
Vanity Fair reported that during the elevator incident, the show’s stage manager “Gary Natoli . . . approached Beatty,” telling him that “security would like the envelopes.” But that Beatty shot back, “I’m holding onto them. I’ll give them to [‘Moonlight’ director] Barry Jenkins at an appropriate moment.”
After the error, Beatty was seen in a tussle onstage for the Best Pic envelope with PWC’s Brian Cullinan — the accounting exec who handed him the wrong envelope in the first place — and the actor successfully had two envelopes as he walked off. Beatty carried them to an after-party, and was seen at the academy’s official Governor’s Ball explaining the snafu to execs from Lionsgate, which put out “La La Land.”
I actually believe that shows remarkable presence of mind from Beatty – he knew that someone was going to get fired because of this sh-t and he wanted to hold on to the receipts. I like that Kimmel said Beatty showed him the envelope too – it’s clear that Beatty wanted to figure out how this happened too.
People have also been compiling reaction shots from the moment everyone realized what happened – go here to see. Why was Ryan Gosling smiling? He actually thought it was funny?
Last thing: this year’s ratings weren’t that great, despite the viral moment at the end.
Photos courtesy of ABC and WENN.