Music & Memories

Oscar flub devastates Australian producer

A new controversy has rocked the already scandal-plagued Academy Awards with outrage over a mix-up involving the late Australian costume designer Janet Patterson.

In the in memoriam section of Sunday's award show honouring members of the film industry who have died, the Academy mistakenly showed a photo of Australian producer Jan Chapman instead of four-time Oscar nominee Patterson who passed away in October.

Chapman, a close friend of Patterson's, was horrified.

"I was devastated by the use of my image in place of my great friend and long-time collaborator Janet Patterson," Chapman, who worked with Patterson on films including The Piano, Bright Star and Holy Smoke, told Variety.

"I had urged her agency to check any photograph which might be used and understand that they were told that the Academy had it covered.

"Janet was a great beauty and four-time Oscar nominee and it is very disappointing that the error was not picked up."

The mistake came before what is being called the biggest mix-up in the 89-year history of the Academy Awards - the announcement of the wrong best picture winner.

Screen icons Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope and told the audience La La Land was victorious.

The winner was Moonlight, but for more than two minutes La La Land's producers, director and cast were celebrating on stage inside Hollywood's Dolby Theatre.

The A-List audience was left in shock when in a hectic scene and while La la Land producers were still giving heartfelt speeches, stage managers came on in search of the envelope.

They broke the news Moonlight was the winner.

A sheepish PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm responsible for the voting and envelopes, issued an apology.

"We sincerely apologise to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for Best Picture," the company wrote in a statement.

"The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected.

"We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred.

"We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation."


Warren Beatty, from left, reveals "Moonlight" as the actual winner of best picture as Jordan Horowitz embraces Barry Jenkins at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Australia went into the ceremony with a record 14 nominations on the back of best picture nominees Lion and Hacksaw with six nominations each.

The only Aussie winners were sound mixers Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace and their American colleague, Kevin O'Connell, for their work on Hacksaw Ridge.

Hacksaw Ridge's Kiwi director John Gilbert won the editing award.

Despite the best picture flub, La La Land won the most awards with six, ahead of Moonlight's three, and Hacksaw Ridge and Manchester by the Sea with two each.

Hacksaw Ridge director Mel Gibson lost the directing Oscar to La La Land's Damien Chazelle.

Nicole Kidman missed out on the best supporting actress Oscar for her role in Lion, with Fences' Viola Davis taking the statuette.

Kidman, who sat in the front row of the ceremony with husband Keith Urban, did not escape controversy.

She became the butt of jokes on social media after the TV broadcast showed her clapping oddly, with some comparing her clap to the grumpy Dr Seuss character The Grinch.

© AAP 2017

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