One year ago today, the Academy Awards ceremony descended into chaos after the wrong movie was incorrectly named Best Picture, and producers, presenters, and nominees had to sort out exactly what happened -- all on live TV. It's a moment that will forever live in Hollywood infamy, and while there's still plenty of blame and embarrassment to go around, there was one person who was thrilled about the epic snafu.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Steve Harvey chatted about last year's Oscars telecast, and its unfortunate, error-ridden ending. You'll recall that back in 2015, Harvey himself was behind a similarly high-profile mix-up when he accidentally declared Miss Colombia the winner of the Miss Universe pageant; he had to sheepishly return to the stage to admit his mistake, take away the crown, and give it to the true victor, Miss Philippines.
At the 2017 Oscars, as mayhem unfolded on stage, host Jimmy Kimmel quipped that he "blame[d] Steve Harvey" for the mix-up, a nod to Harvey's previous goof-up. But Harvey said that as he was watching at home, he immediately knew his mistake was officially overshadowed.
Here's how the comedian explained it to THR:
" ... I probably knew what had happened before anybody else — 'cause I saw the panic-stricken look on the producer's face. When he walked out there and snatched that card out of Warren's hand, that's when I knew redemption was mine. I was finally off the hook. Yeah, OK, I had to live that down: "Oh, how could he," "That's a bonehead," "Nobody's ever done that in the history of Miss Universe." But the Oscars is the biggest night in Hollywood, and when they did it, I lit a cigar and drank a glass of scotch and celebrated. I was free! Thank you, God!"
THR's story takes a deep-dive into the event, looking into the small mistakes that led up to the night's big disaster, as well as how the Academy handled the fallout. PwC accountant Brian Cullinan, allegedly distracted by Twitter, was eventually identified as the person who goofed up and handed presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty the wrong envelope -- causing Dunaway to incorrectly declare "La La Land" the winner over true victor "Moonlight" -- and according to THR, he received threats and had to be assigned a security detail.
But Harvey told the trade that that was nothing compared to the wrath he faced from his own error.
"Oh nah, the dude at Pricewaterhouse — he ain't endured nothing," the comedian said. "See, the mistake I made was against a country named Colombia. They have some people down there — they are in a different business — so when you get threats, you gotta take it a little bit differently."
At least Harvey appears to be breathing easy now.
Meanwhile, the 90th Oscars are set for this coming Sunday, March 4, on ABC, and the Academy has a bunch of new rules in place to prevent another disaster like last year's. We'll be eagerly tuning in to see if everything works out.