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Goof-up at Oscars; But Why it's Still OK

Rajen Garabadu GarabaduRajen

Updated: February 27, 2017, 6:28 PM IST
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Goof-up at Oscars; But Why it's Still OK
89th Academy Awards - Oscars Awards Show - Hollywood, California, U.S. - 26/02/17 - Warren Beatty looks on during presentation for Best Picture. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
The Academy Award popularly known as the 'Oscar' is regarded as the numero uno entertainment award show in the world for many good reasons. First and foremost, except for the auditors, no one knows the final result till the envelope is opened on stage at the award ceremony. Almost all the nominees show up at the awards with bated breath. No one can be sure of carrying the coveted trophy home till the winner is declared. You may ask: Isn’t this how it should be, what’s the big deal? Yes, it should be. In reality, it doesn't quite happen that way in most film and television award shows we know of.

In India, the big stars do not show up unless they have prior information of winning the award. The organisers give away the information to some winners to ensure their presence. Besides, some special awards are created to ensure the 'key faces' attend and thereby generate more footfalls at location and more TRP on television.

When was the last time you found all the nominees on camera in boxes on your television screen when a big film or television award was announced in India? My guess is you may never have experienced it. Unfortunately, this is how it has come to be in this part of the world. And despite best intentions, it is very unlikely that things can change now. The truth is no organiser will want their event to be a damp squib in terms of attendance. So it’s best to play along with the accepted practice than to challenge status quo.

Secrecy is not the only factor which has led to the success of the Academy awards. It is to its credit that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has ensured a seamless and flawless event LIVE year after year. In comparison, Indian film and television awards are hardly ever telecast LIVE. Every single glitch is cleaned up after several days of post-production. And you can still spot cutaways which are inserted to look real whereas it is taken from a different moment at the ceremony. At the Oscar Awards, It is breathtaking to find sets and lights change in real time with clockwork precision. There are no long or awkward pauses, everything happens exactly at the time it is supposed to. The experience of the seated audience at Kodak theatre is not very different from that of millions of television viewers . Time flies before you realize, and you leave amazed at how efficient it can be. That’s certainly not what a seated audience experiences at film and television awards in India. I can’t speak of other countries since I have no first-hand experience of that.

This year, the Oscars went glitch-free till the last award. Everything was perfect till the announcement of the biggest award of the evening. Warren Beaty was invited to declare the winner of the Best Film. And lo and behold, the wrong film was announced. Whether Warren read the wrong name or the envelope was wrongly labelled or the paper inside was not meant for that specific envelope is for the organisers to figure out - which they would have by now. It couldn’t have come at a worse time at the event. Not only was it the ultimate award of the night, it’s also the one where all key cast and crew go up on stage to celebrate their contribution to the overall product. It’s a terrible time to err. For a while, I felt as if this was a deliberate act owing to a tie between La La Land and Moonlight. It seemed unfathomable that a mistake could have happened at that juncture in the most followed award show in the world. A terrific event had to end in a terrible way.

Social media was quick to lampoon it, jokes were circulated within minutes and many celebrities joined in to mock it. No doubt, it is a big mistake. But let’s not forget, we are talking about an event which year after year has delivered with utmost perfection. It is a mistake and it can happen anytime, anywhere. Is it fair to ridicule a super event for a single, last minute flaw?

Americans have had a rough year. They have elected a president who is the butt of jokes in both the digital and real world. If that was not enough, their most prized award, which they are supremely proud of, had to end this way. If it was India, an immediate national havan would have been called for.
First Published: February 27, 2017, 6:28 PM IST

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