Tiffany Haddish tells PEOPLE about when she found out she wasn't going to be nominated for an Oscar, and all the trouble she had pronouncing those names

By Dave Quinn
February 02, 2018 12:21 PM
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When news dropped that Tiffany Haddish would be co-hosting last month’s 90th Academy Awards nominations announcement, her fans hoped that she would have the honor of hearing her own name called among the nominees for Best Supporting Actress.

But the Girl’s Trip breakout, 38, was snubbed for the big honor — a factoid she said she learned about hours before the world did.

“They gave us the names to rehearse, that’s when I found out,” Haddish tells PEOPLE. “I didn’t have a chance to be disappointed. I was like, ‘I got to get those names down now!'”

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Tiffany Haddish
| Credit: Earl Gibson III/Getty

She’s referring to names like Call Me By Your Name‘s screenwriter James Ivory and producers Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges and Marco Morabito; The Post‘s producer Kristie Macosko Krieger; and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri‘s producers Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin — all of whom Haddish mispronounced during Jan. 23’s early-morning live-stream.

Perhaps the funniest was Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya, who was nominated for Best Actor.

“Daniel Kool-yay… Kal-a-loo… Kall-elujah… Daniel Kall-elujah… You know it, he know his name!” Haddish said, laughing throughout her mistakes.

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Andy Serkis and Tiffany Haddish
| Credit: Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences

Looking back on it, Haddish — who is Groupon’s new spokesperson and will star in a new ad for the company premiering on Super Bowl Sunday — finds the flubs nearly as funny as Twitter did.

“I tried my best but some of those names… it’s just too many vowels,” she joked. “I just finished Hooked on Phonics. This is not what they taught me in English class!”

“Before we were even started, I was stressing over these names I’ve never seen before,” she continued. “I was like, ‘Oh my god, I don’t speak Italian. Is this Italian? What kind of name is this? What’s the origin? Can we Google it and find out where they’re from?’ My first language is ebonics!” she adds. “I was like, ‘I’m going to demolish these people’s names!’”

The stress left Haddish mispronouncing even the simplest of words, like Missouri. “I was so busy messing up the foreign names I messed up the words I could read,” she said. “It was a vicious cycle.”

Afterwards, Haddish did her best to apologize to folks like Kaluuya. But it wasn’t easy.

“Some people, I don’t know if they’re not on Twitter or maybe I was spelling their names wrong too, but I couldn’t find them!” she said. “So I just sent a general, ‘I’m so sorry I messed up your name!’ I swear, I felt like a substitute teacher on her first day at work, trying to figure it out.”

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She had had fun throughout it all though. And even though fans were disappointed that she didn’t get the big nomination, she isn’t sweating it.

“I appreciate people being disappointed for me, but save that for when I become a NASCAR driver and I get a trophy that comes with a check,” she joked. “If it doesn’t come with a check, then I’m not that interested.”

“In all seriousness, their support meant the world to me,” she said. “All the hard work I’ve done over the years? It just validated that and let me know I was on the right track. Knowing that people approve of me and wanted me to be nominated only make me want to work harder to entertain all of y’all. So I’m going to get there.”