Culture Clips: And the Oscar Goes To … No, Wait!


Yep, we’re still talking about the Oscar gaffe.

And let’s face it: It was a doozy. Thanks to an envelope mix-up, the world thought for about two minutes that the musical La La Land had won the Academy Awards’ Best Picture honors. Not so: The coming-of-age drama Moonlight was the real winner, and some say that the botched announcement might just be the biggest Oscar flub ever. Is it possible for the 2017 telecast to give itself some sort of award for that?

Even before that end-of-the-night fumble, Oscar was preparing to apologize for putting the picture of very-alive film producer Jan Chapman in the evening’s “In Memoriam” segment. But once the evening’s titanic blunder was revealed, it transformed the already blazing social media feeds into an absolute inferno. PricewaterhouseCoopers, the firm that’s been entrusted with the awards process for the last 83 years, took responsibility. And there’s specuation that the very public goof will hurt the firm’s reputation. (Some blame the fact that an envelope-holding accountant was tweeting during the ceremony.) But not all is lost: While the Academy was certainly embarrassed by the whole thing, the barrage of buzzy, viral Oscar memes may be a bit of a silver lining. No publicity is bad publicity, right?

But even though the mix-up triggered the most tweets of the evening (and more than 14.7 million tweets were fired off about the Oscars) that didn’t help the Oscar telecast’s actual ratings. Sure, nearly 33 million people tuned in, big numbers by any measure. But according to, it also represents a 4% viewership dip from the previous year (and a 13% tumble in the critical 18-49-year-old demographic). In fact it’s the lowest that the Oscar’s ratings have been in nine years.

For all that, some actual awards were handed out—mostly to the right people, even—and some very nice speeches were given, too. Casey Affleck, named Best Actor for his work in Manchester by the Sea, gave a shout-out to fellow nominee Denzel Washington. “One of the first people who taught me how to act was Denzel Washington (Fences), and I just met him tonight for the first time. Thank you,” he said. Viola Davis, Best Supporting Actress for Fences, praised her co-star as well. “Thank you for putting two entities in the driving seat,” she said. “August (Fences playwright August Wilson) and God. And they served you well.” Other big winners included Damien Chazelle (Best Director) and Emma Stone (Best Actress) for their contributions to La La Land, and Mahershala Ali (Best Supporting Actor) for Moonlight.

If you think the Academy was getting stressed about all the negative social media attention, well, they’ll have to join the club. A new study found that 86% of adults “constantly” check their email, texts and social media accounts, and experts say that all that tech is stressing us out (even though most of us hardly ever mix up envelopes). Pope Francis himself is telling his followers that folks should at least put down their phones during dinner.

But those phones—and all those ever-enticing social media apps—aren’t going away. Indeed, Olivier Laurent, writing for Time, believes that Snapchat, Instagram and Apple are reinventing photography itself.

What else is being reinvented? Toys, it would seem, but not necessarily in a good way. In the wake of last week’s story we reported on electronic eavesdropping dolls, experts are warning that high-tech playthings are going to be a growing headache for both parents and privacy experts.

But tech isn’t all bad. just ask the guy who reportedly lost 50 pounds playing a virtual reality game. Oh, and all those one-time avid Pokémon Go players have reason to fire up the apps again, given that Niantic Labs just rolled out 80 new Pokemon to catch.

Meanwhile, the ever-hip Oxford Dictionaries are trying to stay with the times, adding 300 new and phrases to its recognized collection. They include “drunk text,” “squad goals” and “yas.”

Finally, we’ll leave you with another entertainment award … sort of. In honor of the 25th anniversary of The Simpsons’ classic episode “Homer at the Bat,” Homer Simpson is being “inducted” into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. And while the honor is only temporary, I still can’t imagine that Pete Rose is too happy about it.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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