Oscars' Moonlight mishap isn't alone -- the Daytime Emmys had their own debacle

Posted Monday, February 27, 2017 02:16:50
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Oscars' Moonlight mishap isn't alone -- the Daytime Emmys had their own debacle

So how about that incredibly awkward finale to the 89th Academy Awards? Well, don't feel too bad, Oscar; the Daytime Emmys made a similar mistake 31 years ago.

The world is still buzzing about the stunning, seemingly unimaginable mix-up at the finale of last night's Academy Awards ceremony.

In case you missed it, here's what happened: 50 years after they appeared on-screen together in Bonnie and Clyde, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway reunited onstage to present the award for Best Picture. After a rather lengthy and uneasy pause, Dunaway announced that La La Land had won the night's biggest honor.

As the cast and crew of La La Land assembled on the stage to accept the award, there was a stunning twist bigger than any Friday cliffhanger in the history of daytime television: it was announced that Moonlight had actually won Best Picture.

As stagehands raced onto the stage, La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz took to the microphone to announce that the mix-up was "not a joke." In an incredibly classy display, Horowitz held up the correct card that showed that Moonlight had, in fact, won. As the cameras panned to the star-studded audience, no one knew quite what to make of what was happening.

Eagle-eyed viewers TiVoed back the broadcast and zoomed in on the envelope Beatty had carried out onto the stage and saw that it was marked "Actress in a Leading Role."

But how was that possible when Emma Stone said that she was still clutching the "Actress In a Leading Role" envelope that she'd been given a short time earlier when she won her Oscar? Conspiracy theories ran amok on social media.

While an official explanation had yet to be given at the time this article was posted, it is known that there are two sets of envelopes printed. The reason, as you might assume, is to make sure that if something happens to one of the envelopes, there is a backup.

This is not the first time in awards show history that there has been a mix-up when it came time to announce a winner. No, we're not talking about Steve Harvey's infamous Miss Universe slip-up.

Way back in 1986, the Daytime Emmys had a flub of their own. We're not sure if that's something to brag about... or if we can finally find solace in knowing that the Daytime Emmys are no longer alone on the screwup stage.

(And we're not counting the near-mistake in 2013 when The Talk's Aisha Tyler was given the wrong envelope but realized it before she read the incorrect winner.)

Either way, here's how the 1986 incident played out.

During a national television broadcast (remember those days?), the writing team of The Young and the Restless was announced as the winner of the Outstanding Writing Team trophy. There was, however, what was subsequently called a "clerical error" made by the accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand when they put together the list of winners. In actuality, Guiding Light's writing team should have been named as the winner.


In creating the official news release of winners, Coopers & Lybrand correctly listed the names of the writers of Guiding Light but incorrectly identified them as working for The Young and the Restless. With so many names, the card inside the envelope simply put the name of the soap that won -- which had incorrectly been listed as The Young and the Restless.

It wasn't until after the telecast that the mistake was uncovered.

"The greatest impact," then-head writer and Y&R creator William J. Bell said at the time, "is that a group of awfully fine, talented people were hurt the way few people can be hurt, because ultimately it became a great indignity, and it never should have happened."

Bell's words still ring true for the Oscar mishap, even though it was discovered before the telecast ended.

While this epic fail may go down as the most shocking moment in Oscar history, there is another history that was made -- one that should not be overlooked. Moonlight's win marks the first time that the Best Picture winner featured a gay lead character. It is also the highest profile movie to tell the story and journey of a Black gay male.

Many of us take for granted that we can flip on the television or head to the local Cineplex and see people who look like us or tell stories that we can relate to. If Moonlight, which tells the story of group of people historically underrepresented in film, can help save just one life, then that is a greater prize than any golden statuette.

UPDATE (February 27): PricewaterhouseCoopers has issued a statement on the snafu

"We sincerely apologize to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for best picture," said PricewaterhouseCoopers in a statement, which has overseen the Academy's ballot-counting process for 83 years. "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. We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation."

What do you make of the Oscar mishap? Do you remember the Daytime Emmy debacle? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.

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