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A historically awful flub

Follow Jeff on Twitter: @cinematicaland.

Both Moonlight & La La Land will be playing at The Screening Room next week; be extra careful that you take your seat in the correct theatre!

I spent the entirety of last Sunday swearing off social media and pledging not to watch the Oscars, only to relent at the last minute and catch the final hour of the festivities. And, holy mackerel, am I ever glad that I did, as I had the opportunity to see a historically awful flub in real-time. I feel for the two PricewaterhouseCooper representatives who were charged with handing out correct envelopes to presenters backstage, I really do, but they are going to be totally fine after this brouhaha blows over. One does not become a partner in a global conglomerate without a safety net of some sort. They will probably write best-selling books about the debacle and then retire to Vanuatu. I would personally be in therapy for the next decade, a process made more delicate because this painful memory could be reconstituted ad infinitum by merely pressing play. It is out of their hands now.

I will be the first to tell you, I am not good under pressure. I crack. And then I make things worse by realizing that I have cracked, and then the crack swallows me whole. Besides not having the grades, there is a reason why I have never aspired to be an accountant, a pilot, a pharmacist, a surgeon—who needs that all that responsibility? My attention span, while quite robust, also suffers from the fear that I may missed something crucial. This is why I never chased after a lucrative profession: mental exhaustion. Who among us would pass up the opportunity to take a photo of Emma Stone moments after she was awarded her Best Actress statue? I would, that is for sure, out of fear such a lapse would cause me to hand off the wrong name to Warren Beatty.

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After months of back and forth victories by La La Land and Moonlight during award season, the final act could not have been better scripted to heighten tension between rival camps. Not to brag, but ever sensitive to coming catastrophe, I knew trouble was brewing as Beatty prevaricated, peering off-stage for assistance, before referring the card to Faye Dunaway. If you listen closely, you can actually hear Beatty say to his co-presenter, “but it says Emma Stone”, while the audience applauded for the announcement of the presumed winners. Then I proceeded to cringe for the next ten minutes, drinking two bottles of beer in quick procession. Never in my life had I been so pleased about my insignificance on the world stage—no glory, to be sure, but also little chance I’d be pilloried on Internet. Once everything was sorted out, I was pleased that Moonlight eventually won Best Picture, and moreover that some drama was added to a lacklustre four-hour affair that included a lamentable performance by Sting.