Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: Academy Awards

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The 91st Oscars are coming up this Sunday. Among the awards that will be presented are Best Documentary Feature and Best Documentary Short Subject.

If you’d like to know more about this year’s outstanding documentary nominees before the winners are announced on Sunday, then check out these trailers for each of the nominees in each of the documentary categories.

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Three days ago, HuffPost asked: What would happen if a presenter announced the wrong winner at the Oscars? Now we know…

Talk about foreshadowing.

On Friday, the Huffington Post ran an article asking, What would happen if a presenter announced the wrong winner at the Oscars? The article, written by Matthew Jacobs, discussed several hypothetical scenarios that might result in the kind of gaffe that loomed over the finale of last night’s Oscars telecast.

Quoted in the article was one of the two people responsible for the tabulation and distribution of the awards envelopes: Martha Ruiz of PricewaterhouseCoopers, who currently shares the responsibility for Oscar balloting with Brian Cullinan. Ruiz told Jacobs that they have safeguards in place to ensure there are no snafus.

It’s him checking me and me checking him, and we do it multiple times against each other to make sure that when we leave and are ultimately handing the envelopes to someone, we’re very confident they’re getting the right envelopes and the contents in them are accurate.

Evidently, those safeguards failed last night, because Ruiz’s partner Cullinan somehow managed to give Warren Beatty of Bonnie and Clyde fame the wrong envelope before he walked out on stage with Faye Dunaway.

Screen captures from last night’s telecast prove that Beatty was given a second copy of the envelope and card for Best Actress in a Leading Role — an award that went to Emma Stone for La La Land — instead of the Best Picture envelope.

Some viewers have expressed confusion at why there is more than one envelope for each award, but the simple explanation is that redundancy is very important. Presenters enter from different sides of the stage, and if something were to happen to one set of envelopes, there’s a second set that can serve as backups.

Beatty’s reaction upon opening the envelope he’d been given was one of confusion. He looked up and then at his co-presenter Dunaway without disclosing what he’d seen. Then, after she prompted him to speak (“You’re impossible. C’mon!”), he showed her the card. Without pausing to study it closely herself, she mistakenly pronounced La La Land the winner.

“I want to tell you what happened,” Beatty said a couple of minutes later to a shocked audience. “I opened the envelope and it said, ‘Emma Stone, ‘La La Land.’ That’s why I took such a long look at Faye, and at you. I wasn’t trying to be funny.”

The unanswered question now is why no one ran out on stage immediately after Dunaway’s pronouncement to make an immediate correction.

“It doesn’t sound very complicated, but you have to make sure you’re giving the presenter the right envelope,” Cullinan himself told the press a few days ago.

He failed to do so, and this may be his last Oscars gig as a consequence.

Cullinan also boasted “we always do a good job” and declared the Academy has “absolute trust in us and what we do”. It would seem that trust has been shaken.

Cullinan spent a portion of last night excitedly tweeting photos from backstage. He has since deleted those tweets, apparently out of embarrassment.

His firm, meanwhile, was forced to issue a public apology and promise to investigate what happened. But even the apology was in error: it claimed the mistake had been immediately corrected”, when in fact it had not been. It was a full two minutes before the audience at the Dolby Theater and millions watching around the globe were informed that Moonlight, not La La Land, had really won Best Picture.

Congratulations to Moonlight, the real Best Picture winners for 2017!

BB-8, R2-D2, C-3PO at the Oscars

These are the droids you’re looking for: BB-8, R2-D2, C-3PO made a cameo appearance at the 88th Academy Awards, in between the bestowing of Oscars. (Photo: Adam Taylor/ABC, reproduced under a Creative Commons license)


Hollywood is racist, but it’s not the racist that you’ve grown accustomed too. Hollywood is sorority racist. It’s like, “We like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.”

— Comedian Chris Rock, opening the 88th Academy Awards with a searing monologue about diversity. (Via The New York Times).


Vice President Joe Biden to participate in 2016 Oscars telecast, White House says

Vice President Joe Biden and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden will be guests of the Academy for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for tomorrow evening’s Oscars awards ceremony, the White House has announced in a brief statement. No further details were provided in the advisory, but Deadline has plenty.

The Bidens are in California for the weekend, and spent today in the Bay Area. They toured the Center for Advanced Technology Lab and participated in a roundtable on cancer the University of California, San Francisco, and appeared at the California State Democratic Party Convention in San Jose, where the Vice President spoke.

The Bidens are scheduled to remain overnight in Los Angeles following the awards telecast. Presumably, they will return to D.C. on Monday, February 29th.


I want to dedicate this award for my fellow Mexicans, the ones who live in Mexico. I pray that we can find and build a government that we deserve. And the ones that live in this country who are part of the latest generation of immigrants in this country… I just pray that they can be treated with the same dignity and respect as the ones who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation.

— Birdman Director Alejandro González Iñárritu, accepting his award for Best Director at the 87th Academy Awards (via MSNBC).

Lady Gaga takes in Dolby Theatre applause after performing Sound of Music medley

Lady Gaga takes in the applause from every corner of the Dolby Theatre after performing a medley of songs from The Sound of Music. (Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC, courtesy of the Walt Disney Company. Reproduced under a Creative Commons license.)


Selma is now… The struggle for justice is now. The Voting Rights Act that they fought for fifty years ago is being compromised right now in this country today. Right now the struggle for justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850. When people march with our song, we want to tell you: we see you, we are with you, we love you, and march on.

John Legend, accepting the Academy Award for Best Original Song (Glory, for the acclaimed film Selma) with Common.


Academy leaves Joan Rivers and Jan Hooks out of In Memoriam segment

This year’s In Memoriam segment at the Academy Awards, introduced by acclaimed actress Meryl Streep, inexplicably omitted Joan Rivers and Jan Hooks, leaving many Oscar viewers annoyed and upset. Since they weren’t remembered onscreen at the Dolby Theater, we’re going to remember them here.

Joan Rivers:

Joan Alexandra Molinsky (June 8, 1933 – September 4, 2014), known as Joan Rivers, was an American actress, comedian, writer, producer, and television host noted for her often controversial comedic persona — where she was alternately self-deprecating or sharply acerbic, especially toward celebrities and politicians.

Rivers came to prominence in 1965 as a guest on The Tonight Show. Hosted by her mentor, Johnny Carson, the show established Rivers’ comedic style. In 1986, with her own rival program, The Late Show with Joan Rivers, Rivers became the first woman to host a late night network television talk show.

She subsequently hosted The Joan Rivers Show (1989-1993), winning a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host.

Jan Hooks:

Janet VivianJanHooks (April 23, 1957 – October 9, 2014) was an American actress and comedian best known for her work on Saturday Night Live, where she was a repertory player from 1986–91, and continued making cameo appearances until 1994. Her subsequent work included a regular role on the final two seasons of Designing Women, a recurring role on 3rd Rock from the Sun and a number of other roles in film and television.

Biographies are from Wikipedia.

Patricia Arquette delivers her memorable Academy Awards acceptance speech

Patricia Arquette delivers her memorable Academy Awards acceptance speech. (Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC, courtesy of the Walt Disney Company. Reproduced under a Creative Commons license.)


To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America.

Patricia Arquette, ending her Academy Awards acceptance speech with a call for economic justice and women’s rights. Arquette won Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the widely acclaimed motion picture Boyhood.

Recommended Link

Oscars 2015: Female directors scarce at Hollywood’s major studios

The Los Angeles Times asked why the directing profession is dominated by men. Women directed a mere 4.6% of films at the major Hollywood studios in 2014.