‘I am alive and well’: Os­car’s over­looked ‘in memo­riam’ foul-up

The Hamilton Spectator - - A & E - AVI SELK

If any Os­cars mo­ment was nearly as an­tic­i­pated as Sun­day’s best pic­ture award, it may have been the trib­ute to artists who died in 2016.

This was, af­ter all, the year we lost Gene Wilder, Car­rie Fisher and her mother, Deb­bie Reynolds, then Bill Pax­ton on the eve of the awards, a seem­ingly end­less list.

And like that other cer­e­mony, the me­mo­rial mon­tage did not pass without a dis­as­ter — even if the botch­ing of the night’s top hon­our stole most of the shame.

As Jen­nifer Anis­ton choked up and Sara Bareilles ser­e­naded, the names of those lost flashed across the screen.

In Aus­tralia, some no­ticed one liv­ing among the faces of the dead.

That was a photo of Jan Chapman — who lives in Aus­tralia — next to the name of Janet Pat­ter­son, an Os­car-nom­i­nated cos­tume de­signer who died of can­cer last Oc­to­ber.

“I am alive and well and an ac­tive pro­ducer,” Chapman — who lists crit­i­cally ac­claimed “The Babadook” on a long film re­sume — wrote to Va­ri­ety af­ter the cer­e­mony. “I was dev­as­tated by the use of my im­age in place of my great friend and long­time col­lab­o­ra­tor.”

In fact, Chapman told Va­ri­ety, she had been wor­ried about just such a mis­take, and had asked Pat­ter­son’s for­mer agency to dou­ble check that the Academy had the right photo be­fore the show started.

Pat­ter­son’s name and photo had both been re­moved from the Os­cars web­site by Mon­day morn­ing.

The two Jans of Aus­tralian cin­ema have been get­ting mixed up for years.

The con­fu­sion ap­pears to stem from a 2010 photo of Chapman ac­cept­ing an Aus­tralian award, which is sold for re­pro­duc­tion with a cap­tion misiden­ti­fy­ing her as Pat­ter­son. A close-up of same photo ap­pears to have been used in the Os­cars mon­tage, de­spite Chapman’s warn­ings.

The two were close friends and col­leagues be­fore be­ing con­fused for each other. They were both in­ter­viewed for “Bright Star,” which Chapman pro­duced and Pat­ter­son cos­tumed. Fa­mously reclu­sive, Pat­ter­son does not show her face in the in­ter­view.

Nor was she ap­par­ently much of an Os­cars fan.

“I don’t care about that,” she told the Age in 2010, af­ter her work on “Bright Star” earned her a fourth Academy nom­i­na­tion (af­ter “The Pi­ano,” “Por­trait of a Lady” and “Os­car and Lu­cinda.”)

In all those years, Pat­ter­son had never re­leased a photo.

Who knows what fame-ad­verse Pat­ter­son would have thought about be­com­ing yet an­other story in an Os­car-night catas­tro­phe.

“As sub­tle and dis­creet as her taste was, ev­ery­one, ev­ery­where no­ticed,” Chapman and di­rec­tor Jane Cam­pion wrote in her obit­u­ary in the Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald.

“She was tall with black hair and deep brown eyes that saw ev­ery­thing,” they wrote.

For the Academy’s fu­ture ref­er­ence: Chapman stands shorter and has auburn hair.


Jen­nifer Anis­ton in­tro­duced the “In Memo­riam” se­quence, men­tion­ing Bill Pax­ton, who died Satur­day.

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