Faye Dunaway on Monday night spoke publicly for the first time about what happened during the Oscar night mix-up where La La Land was mistakenly announced as best picture instead of Moonlight. The actress appeared on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where she said she felt “very guilty” about the incident.
“I could have done something, surely. Why didn’t I see Emma Stone’s name on the top of the card?” said Dunaway to Holt regarding the wrong card that she received onstage that contained the name of best actress winner Emma Stone for La La Land.
Dunaway, who presented the best picture Oscar with her Bonnie and Clyde co-star Warren Beatty, said she initially thought Beatty was joking while they were both onstage.
“So he took the card out, and he didn’t say anything,” she related. “He paused. He looked over at me, [then] offstage. He looked around. And I finally said, ‘You’re impossible.’ I thought he was joking. I mean, I thought he was stalling. Warren’s like that. He kind of holds the power and makes people — a dramatic pause. But it’s part of his charm.”
When asked if she felt stung by the incident, Dunaway said, “Yeah, completely. And we were, I won’t say ‘deer in the headlight,’ but you are completely stunned. You don’t know what has happened.”
Beatty recently told Graham Norton in a sit-down interview that the incident was “chaos.” A PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant handed the actor the wrong envelope before he and Dunaway presented the award for best picture to La La Land, and the film’s cast and crew took the stage in celebration until producer Jordan Horowitz pointed out that Moonlight was the correct winner.
The incident led to an investigation. The Academy is continuing to use the same accounting firm for the next ceremony, however, PwC accountants Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, who were responsible for passing out the winners envelopes, will not be returning to work the ceremony.