#BestPicture gaffe: Embrace the mistake

What if it was you who was responsible for handing the wrong envelope to Warren Beatty at the Oscars?

We will soon find out the details of what happened, and, spoiler alert, it won’t be all that interesting.

Bottom line: somebody screwed up.

What I’m watching for now is how PwC, the accounting firm responsible for securing the results at the Academy Awards for 83 years, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences handle the fallout.

“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.”

This was the statement from PwC, more commonly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, at 3 a.m. Eastern, roughly three hours after the biggest on-air gaffe in TV history.

Typical fall-on-the-sword stuff there.

It’s hyperbole, but the conventional wisdom holds that a billion people around the world are watching the Oscars ceremony live. And even with that being an exaggeration, it’s hard to imagine that we don’t start at b- in terms of the number who are now aware of what happened.

So, how do you respond? If it’s me, I embrace it, personally, for a couple of reasons.

One, it happened, and there’s no undoing it at this point, obviously.

Two, everybody is talking about what happened. Now, yes, everybody is talking about it being the biggest mistake in TV history, but again, can’t take it back, right?

The overnight ratings are suggesting that the telecast was at a multi-year low in terms of viewers, tanking particularly in the coveted (by advertisers) 18-49 demo.

There are lots of reasons for this being the case – that the movies nominated aren’t the summer blockbusters that most people watch, primarily, but also that awards shows are typically, well, formulaic.

The drama, such as it is, comes down to which actor or director or writer or movie wins this award or that award or …

It ain’t the Super Bowl, is what I’m saying.

Not saying that you ever want something like this to happen again, but …

There’s another reason for people to watch next year. Because you never know.

Column by Chris Graham


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