The Simple But Vital Lesson From the Oscars' Best Picture Flub
There will probably be some awkward meetings at both the PricewaterhouseCoopers and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences headquarters this morning.
Handing someone the wrong thing or reading the wrong name is a mistake that could happen to any of us. But making that flub at the end of a ceremony that cost more than $42 million to pull off, in front of more than 34 million people? Yikes.
The tight race between La La Land’s musical love story and Moonlight’s moving coming-of-age tale ended in a manner no one anticipated.
But the execution of the ultimately thrilling win for Moonlight director Barry Jenkins and company -- with the gracious La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz showing the card with Moonlight on it to the camera and acting titan Warren Beatty ambling back to the microphone to explain that his long pause wasn’t for dramatic effect but rather confusion -- is a giant reminder to all of us on the importance of knowing when to ask questions.
It all could have been avoided if Beatty or co-presenter Faye Dunaway had simply said, “hang on a moment.”
If something seems like it is amiss as you are working on a big project under a lot of pressure and your gut is telling you to get more information, it is incumbent on you to get clarification rather than charge ahead.
It's always better to take a step back and push a deadline a little to give yourself that certainty -- even, in this case, when that's wrapping up a nearly four-hour live broadcast so fancy people can finally get a drink.