“I could have done something, surely.”
Remember when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly awarded the Academy Award for Best Picture to La La Land instead of Moonlight? Of course you do…it was, after all, one of the most cringeworthy moments in live television history.
Well now, Dunaway is breaking her silence on the gaffe, admitting she “still hasn’t recovered” from the jaw-dropping moment.
In an interview with NBC Nightly News on Monday evening, the 76-year-old actress told host Lester Holt she felt “very guilty” about the incident.
“I could have done something, surely. Why didn’t I see Emma Stone’s name on the top of the card?” she said, referring to the wrong card she received onstage that had the name of best actress winner, Emma Stone, for La La Land.
She also revealed that Beatty’s dramatic pause was pre-planned and that they had practised it in rehearsal.
“We had planned to come onstage, do some banter, see the film clips, and then Warren was supposed to open the envelope and then for suspense, pass me the card to read the winner,” she explained. “We’d rehearsed the whole thing.”
What they didn’t pre-plan, of course, was being given the wrong card.
“Warren opened the envelope, took the card out, and didn’t speak,” Dunaway recalled. “He looked around, looked over me, looked inside the envelope again hoping he would find another card there. Time is ticking by. He’s charming, he makes you wait, he’s just the best in all those ways. But the show is going late. I tried to tell him, come on and get on with it. And I read the name of the film on the card. And it was the wrong name.”
She said the whole thing left her “completely stunned.”
“Something about that moment, in front of the entire world, all those lights, all artistry—just combined to make us both not able to perform what normally one would perform,” she explained. “Normally you’d say, ‘This is the wrong card.’ But it didn’t happen that way.”