OS­CARS BUN­GLE IS COM­EDY GOLD

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - INSIDER - DAVID MEDDOWS [email protected] NEWS.COM.AU

IT’S been a year since the Academy Award for Mon­u­men­tal Tele­vi­sion F... Up was awarded to … the Academy Awards.

A year since the film in­dus­try’s most cov­eted tro­phy — the Best Picture Os­car — was handed to the wrong peo­ple by War­ren Beatty and Faye Du­n­away. A year since La La Land was crowned the win­ner for about two-and-a-half min­utes be­fore men wear­ing head­sets and car­ry­ing clip­boards rushed the stage and po­litely in­formed those mak­ing their ac­cep­tance speeches they had to hand over their shin­ing statue to the team from Moon­light — the real win­ners.

It was in­cred­i­ble car crash tele­vi­sion even the best writ­ers couldn’t script. When co­me­dian Steve Har­vey crowned the wrong Miss Uni­verse in 2015, few thought that colos­sal screw-up could ever be out­done. Wrong!

As out­siders look­ing in we can laugh at how ab­surd the whole sit­u­a­tion was, but some were so trau­ma­tised they still have trou­ble talk­ing about it a year down the track. Some won’t dis­cuss it at all. Scott Fein­berg, who cov­ers the awards cir­cuit for The Hol­ly­wood Re­porter, spent months talk­ing to some of the key play­ers in­volved in what has since been cheek­ily nick­named “En­velope­gate”. But there were many more who wouldn’t re­visit that night.

“They’d be will­ing to speak to me about other things, but they just said it was too emo­tional to go back to it,” he tells In­sider. “They just felt there was noth­ing to be gained by talk­ing about it fur­ther.”

If you read this state­ment without con­text you’d be for­given for think­ing Fein­berg might have been try­ing to re­port on some kind of tragedy. Some­thing that might take more than a year to get over. But such is the im­por­tance of the Os­cars to those in the in­dus­try that it may as well have been some­thing as bad.

While it was a few min­utes of cring­ingly fab­u­lous TV for us, for oth­ers it was their world. Mul­ti­ple in­ves­ti­ga­tions were launched, peo­ple lost their jobs and the Academy was em­bar­rassed.

On the plus side, Steve Har­vey is a happy man. “The Os­cars is the big­gest night in Hol­ly­wood, and when they did it, I lit a cigar and drank a glass of scotch and cel­e­brated. I was free! Thank you, God!” he told Fein­berg.

Beatty and Du­n­away, who weren’t to blame for the snafu, will be back to present the Best Picture award — what could pos­si­bly go wrong?

Hope­fully Hol­ly­wood has a sense of hu­mour. If En­velope­gate isn’t a big part of Jimmy Kim­mel’s open­ing mono­logue to­mor­row night, I’m giv­ing up on Tin­sel­town.

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