Even the biggest night in movies isn’t without the occasional flub.
While many were perplexed as to how Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were handed the wrong envelope at the 2017 Oscars, leading the presenters to mistakenly announce La La Land as the winner of Best Picture, it’s happened before.
At the 1964 Academy Awards, Sammy Davis Jr. presented the award for Best Music Score (adaptation or treatment) during the 36th Academy Awards, but he too was given the incorrect envelope.
Davis Jr. read the nominees: Irma La Douce, Bye Bye Birdie, A New Kind of Love, Sundays and Cybele and The Sword in the Stone. However, he then announced the winner as John Addison for Tom Jones, who was not even in the category.
After a moment of confusion among the audience members, the entertainer realized he was given the incorrect envelope.
“Wait till the NAACP hears about this,” he joked as the right envelope was brought out.
Davis Jr. then put on a pair of glasses, saying, “I ain’t gonna make no mistake this time, baby.”
With that, he announced the true victor: Andre Previn for Irma La Douce.
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As the La La Land cast and creators filed onto the Oscars stage Sunday night, the celebration was abruptly halted. La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz stepped to the microphone and said, “There’s been a mistake. Moonlight won.”
“It’s not a joke,” he said. “This is not a joke, come up here.”
As the Moonlight cast walked up, Beatty, 79, would not leave the stage until he explained what had happened.
“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,” he said.
Somehow, one of the two printed envelopes for Best Actress apparently wound up in Best Picture presenter Beatty’s hands. Confused, Beatty looked to his co-presenter Dunaway, 76, for help, and she ended up announcing La La Land. The musical’s cast and crew were in the middle of their acceptance speeches when accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers took the stage to reveal the error.
How Beatty got the wrong envelope remains to be seen. Best actress winner Emma Stone insisted she had her winning card, though there are two copies of the cards and envelopes for each category.