- By Stephanie Merry, www.washingtonpost.com
- After “La La Land” producers Jordan Horowitz and Marc
Platt delivered their acceptance speeches for best picture, fellow
producer Fred Berger found out in the middle of his speech that their
movie was not, in fact, the victor — and he offered up an awkward “we
lost by the way” before ambling away from the podium.
Berger wasn’t about to stick around to figure out what exactly happened, and who could blame him? It’s an embarrassing situation.
But amid the confusion, there was one person willing to take charge and explain — even though he had just given an acceptance speech for an award he didn’t actually deserve.
Horowitz marched up to the microphone to make an announcement. “Moonlight won,” he said.
“Guys, guys, I’m sorry, no,” Horowitz said. “There’s a mistake. ‘Moonlight,’ you guys won best picture.”
“This is not a joke,” he promised.
“Come up here,” he commanded, motioning with his hand.
While the people in the audience were gasping with surprise, Horowitz — as if to assure them this wasn’t fake news — held up the card just pulled from the actual award envelope, so that the cameras could zoom in.
“Moonlight,” he said. “Best picture.”
Jimmy Kimmel seemed like he wanted to be anywhere but on an Oscars stage at that moment. He tried to make some jokes. The host said he wished that “La La Land” and “Moonlight” could win, but Horowitz wasn’t having it.
“I’m going to be really thrilled to hand this to my friends from ‘Moonlight,’” he replied.
Horowitz wasn’t just a gracious loser; he became the closest thing the Oscars can get to a folk hero.
Jordan Horowitz should be Time's Man of the Year.— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) February 27, 2017That @jehorowitz handled that with class, grace, and genuine happiness for the winner is why he is at the pinnacle of the game.— Justin Marks (@Justin_Marks_) February 27, 2017That's how you make a bad moment beautiful. @jehorowitz insisted on handing off the award, out of great respect for the winners. #Oscars pic.twitter.com/p1N8MjFF31— ☄️Kirei☄️ (@mcrKirei) February 27, 2017
This kind of behavior shouldn’t be all that exceptional, but truth has been hard to come by lately. We’ve all just come off an election in which politicians have happily danced around facts, and the president continues to make false or misleading claims. When the truth is inconvenient, a lot of people spin it or bend it to their will. But that’s not Horowitz’s style.
What was going through his mind when all of this was happening?
He tried to articulate it during an interview with E! following the awards.
“It happened really fast,” he said, but his job is to take charge. “Listen, I’m a producer. I gather things together and I change directions and I march things forward.”
He had also just given a speech about wanting to do more bold and diverse work, he said, so it seemed appropriate somehow that he was able then to hand off his award to such a bold, diverse movie. After all, his movie had already won six awards, and over the last six months, during the craziness of awards season, he’d become close to the people who worked on “Moonlight.
When Horowitz was a victor, he seemed like a nice enough guy. But as a loser, he showed what a champion for truth looks like.