At the 2017 Oscars, the wrong winner was announced as screen veterans Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway presented the Academy Award for Best Picture. Instead of announcing the film Moonlight, Beatty and Dunaway told the audience that La La Land had taken the coveted award, and the people behind the latter film was busy reading their acceptance speech when it was revealed that there was a mistake — Moonlight had won Best Picture after all.
In the aftermath of last night’s fiasco, the “epic fail” at the 89th Academy Awards is what everyone seems to be talking about at the start of a new week. Naturally, many netizens quickly compared Warren Beatty’s Oscars faux pas to that of Steve Harvey at the 2015 Miss Universe pageant, where he mistakenly announced Miss Colombia as that year’s winner. But as a BBC News report notes, last night’s Oscars wrong winner announcement for Best Picture was far from being the only blunder that took place during major awards ceremonies.
The 2015 Miss Universe boo-boo
The BBC News report noted nine separate “epic fails,” including several cases of someone naming the wrong winner at a major awards ceremony, and not surprisingly, Steve Harvey’s 2015 Miss Universe blooper was in there. For about a minute or so, Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez was ostensibly Miss Universe and letting the thrill of victory sink in. But it would soon be announced, on the show itself, that the winner was, in fact, Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.
This led to months upon months of ridicule and parody in the form of memes and television skits, but Harvey nonetheless remained a consummate professional, as the Inquisitr wrote in July, and went on to host the following year’s Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines.
It’s not just at Miss Universe or the Oscars that wrong winners have been announced, but also at music awards ceremonies. BBC News‘ list included some examples of such, including the 2016 Mobo Awards in Glasgow, Scotland, where London R&B trio WSTRN was mistakenly awarded Best Song. The group was cutting their acceptance speech when organizers said that MC Abra Cadabra should have gotten the award instead. According to the awards’ hosts, it was mainly case of “someone (picking) up the wrong envelope.”
Similarly, Katy Perry was announced as Best International Song winner at the 2009 NRJ Music Awards in Cannes, despite the award having been meant for Rihanna.
In quite an interesting mix-up, Britney Spears had called Michael Jackson onstage during the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards, calling him the “artist of the millennium” while gifting him with a birthday cake. Jackson, thinking he had actually won an award, went on to make an acceptance speech, despite there being no such thing as an “Artist of the Millennium” award at that year’s VMAs.
“Take it, take it!” — the so-called “scam” at a Philippine film festival
Although the above examples represent honest mistakes that nonetheless took place at such a grand stage, there have also been cases where the announcement of the wrong winner came with some shady allegations.
In 1994, the Metro Manila Film Festival was rocked by scandal when, instead of announcing Aiko Melendez as Best Actress, the presenters called the name of Ruffa Gutierrez instead. It was quite notable that the presenters for Best Actress included Miss Mauritius 1994 Viveka Babajee, who had recently become friends with Gutierrez, and Ruffa’s younger brother Rocky Gutierrez.
Babajee had announced Ruffa’s name before fellow presenter Gretchen Barretto could announce Melendez as the actual winner, and was allegedly caught on video telling Rocky to “take it, take it!”, with Rocky surreptitiously placing a folded envelope with the real winner’s name in his pocket. Earlier in the evening, Ruffa Gutierrez and another close friend in the industry, Nanette Medved, had also read Ruffa’s co-star Gabby Concepcion’s name instead of that of the real winner, Edu Manzano, when presenting the Best Actor trophy.
In an interview with the Philippine Star soon after the Metro Manila Film Festival scandal, Babajee denied involvement in the controversy, and claimed that when she said “take it, take it!”, she was referring to the trophy, and not an envelope. Plagued by personal and career problems later in life, Babajee was only 37-years-old when she took her own life in June of 2010.
Still, that hasn’t stopped Filipinos from referring to Babajee in the aftermath of what happened at the 89th Academy Awards. The second tweet above (retweeted and cited by GMA News) translates to English as follows — “Hey, @TheAcademy, Viveka Babajee already did that at the (1994) MMFF!”
Better bloopers than scandals?
A 2016 report from Australian publication The Herald Sun presented a list of the ten biggest Oscars scandals at the time, and the controversies detailed in that report often extended far beyond someone announcing another person, song, or movie’s name as the winner. And, as we showed you in the above examples, Warren Beatty certainly isn’t alone for his Oscars wrong winner announcement “fail,” and may not be the last presenter to make such a blunder, if history is any indicator.
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]