Anyone who watched the Oscars last night could tell something was about to go wrong. Warren Beatty looked at the card, hesitated, looked again before Faye Dunaway called La La Land the winner for best picture. As we know, and explained by Beatty, he was confused because he was actually reading the Best Actress card, which went to Emma Stone for La La Land.
After the mistake was caught, and all the embarrassment was already made, John Horowitz, another La La Land producer, held the real card upright and announced “This is not a joke,” he said “Moonlight has won Best Picture. Moonlight. Best Picture.”
That was enough for me to run to the bedroom and wake up my wife “you won’t believe what happened”. I know, while this was very entertaining, it won’t be forgotten as the biggest embarrassment not only for the 2017 ceremony (which also featured an “in-memorian” for a well-living person) but the greatest flaw ever to happen to the history of the Oscars.
On the heat of the moment, I truly believed Beatty had committed the mistake, but further analyzing and after his explanation while still on stage, we can tell that was a design flaw, and a big one.
I took my time (very little time actually) to show how the card could have been designed to avoid such confusion.
First let’s prioritize things. There are two very important items on the card: the category and the name of the movie. After that we have the producers name, often called first by the announcers, but sometimes not used at all (I guess the producers know who produced the movie, even if their names are not called, right?). And third we have Oscars logo which, unless your really don’t know where you are or have short memory loss (the golden globes… er I mean grammy… er, where am I again? Let me check the logo on the card…), it is just there for aesthetic purposes.
So on the card lifted by Horowitz have 1. The logo 2. The name of the movie 3. The producers and 4. The category, tiny and sad on the bottom.
Even if you noticed the confusion right away, you would have announced the movie and the producers name, and would still have to apologize and ask for the right card. Now if we do things right we would have:
1. Category Name 2. Movie name 3. Producers name 4. Logo(the winner for *CATEGORY NAME* is *MOVIE NAME)
(the winner for *CATEGORY NAME* is *MOVIE NAME) or (the winners for *CATEGORY NAME* are *PRODUCERS NAME* for *MOVIE NAME*).
That makes much more sense, that’s how we read things. If you deny the importance of the milissecond you would gain with these changes it’s because you have no idea how much is the price for an Ad during the Oscars broadcast.
Anyway, lesson learned for the Oscars producers. And now we have a really good bet on the Worst Design category.
by Thiago Motta