By now, you all have probably heard about the huge screw-up at last night’s Academy Awards. Due to a mix-up with the envelopes, they accidentally read the wrong film title and said the Best Picture award went to La La Land when in fact it went to Moonlight.
I’m not saying that it doesn’t make the show’s producers and the firm involved with managing the envelopes look like idiots. It totally does. They appear utterly incompetent. I don’t understand how such a mistake could even be possible.
But that doesn’t really matter. Because as stupid as it makes them look, it was also fascinating to watch.
If done competently, an award show is boring. Somebody gets presented with an award, comes on stage, thanks everyone they know, leaves the stage, and then the process repeats. Dull stuff.
It might be interesting if there were more uncertainty about the winners beforehand, but thanks to the internet, people usually have a pretty good read on who or what is going to win. (For example, everyone knew going in that the winner of Best Picture would be either La La Land or Moonlight.) Plus,most people only care about a few categories–acting, directing and picture. The rest are just filler as far as most viewers are concerned.
But seeing this was dramatic. It was interesting to see the La La Land people get so excited, only to have to give the award to the Moonlight people. “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”, as they say, in the space of a few minutes.
And then there was the fun of gradually piecing together just how they botched this so badly. It was a mystery thriller, full of intrigue–what did Warren Beatty know, and when did he know it?
Now people will want to watch the Oscars more than ever. They will want to see if there is going to be another ridiculous mistake. It’s even better because of the precise nature of the mistake–that it was only rectified after the erroneously-named winners were making their speeches. From now on, people who saw this show will think, “Yeah, they said X won, but I remember La La Land in 2017! Who’s to say that some producer won’t come running in to change it?”
This mess made the Oscars interesting again. Now everyone is going to wonder who really won. And that makes for a more compelling viewing experience, which in turn means higher ratings, which in turn means more ad money.
As the saying goes, that’s showbiz!