An Oscars producer has compared the historic 2017 Oscars Best Picture fiasco to the reactions to the report of one of the most famous disasters in U.S. history.
At the end of Sunday's show, an accountant for the show handed Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty the wrong envelope and La La Land was announced as the winner. Almost two and a half minutes later, after the cast and producers took the stage, it was revealed Moonlight had actually won.
Show officials went up onstage but ultimately it was one of La La Land's producers, Jordan Horowitz, who took charge of what became a chaotic situation and announced Moonlight's victory, Oscar in hand and after he had made a short speech.
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In an interview on KCRW's The Business radio show, set to air March 2, Oscars producer Michael De Luca broke his silence on the ordeal. He said he was opening his third Diet Coke can when the wrong movie title was announced.
"I heard [fellow producer] Jennifer Todd next to me. It was like the Hindenburg report," he said, according to The Hollywood Reporter, referring to late radio journalist Herbert Morrison's famous eyewitness report of the German passenger airship fire that killed 36 people near the Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey in 1937.
The Oscars Best Picture blunder marked the biggest mistake in 89 years of Oscar history. Stars of both films appeared visibly shaken, while celebs sitting in the audience appeared flabbergasted.
"I literally heard, 'Oh my God! He got the wrong envelope!'" De Luca said. "And then it was slow motion. You perceive things slowly as the adrenaline rises and the cortisol floods your system."
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and CEO Dawn Hudson went backstage to gather a team to answer questions.
"After it was over and everyone was crowding backstage, I ran into the theater to scoop up my wife and kids and brought them back to my production office," De Luca said. "By the time I went back to the green room, Dawn was already in mid-conversation with the players, just trying to figure out what happened. Everyone was a little shaken. Everybody looked white-faced and the blood was just drained from [them]."