The end of last night’s Academy Award Ceremony, when Moonlight was awarded Best Picture after La La Land had mistakenly been called up, was simultaneously the biggest, most beautiful upset and the most awkward and uncomfortable drama in Oscars history.
Unless, of course, you were Jan Chapman, in which case another part of the ceremony was the most fucked up part. Specifically, the part where it said you were dead.
During the traditional In Memoriam tribute (By the way, because I know you’re all thinking it, David Bowie appeared in the memoriam for 2016 so you can relax), the broadcast showed a brief slide to commemorate the life of Australian costume designer Janet Patterson, who passed away from cancer in November. Except the picture they used wasn’t of Janet — it was of her friend, producer Jan Chapman, who worked with her on The Piano and who is still very much alive. Heck, she even co-wrote Patterson’s obituary for the Sydney Herald last year along with Jane Campion.
“I was devastated by the use of my image in place of my great friend and long-time collaborator Janet Patterson. 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,” Chapman said in a statement to Variety, following up with possibly the weirdest sentence anyone ever has to write in their lifetime: “I am alive and well and an active producer.”
Jan is clearly a much more professional person than I am because I probably would have ended that statement with, “Oh yeah, just won a Film Critics Circle Award for my work on The Daughter, so SUCK IT, OSCARS, WHO NEEDS YOU?”
Obviously this is ridiculous and somebody on this year’s Oscars production team will clearly be fired, but there is a silver lining; imagine being such good friends with another person that they mistake you for her when she dies. When you think about it that way, and not in a “Oh God I’m such a nobody that not a single person working on this event noticed I’m not dead” way, it’s kind of… nice?
One thing is certain: Clearly Billy Eichner picked up whatever glib wizardry that Chris “Lol I’m gonna be in the Jurassic Park reboot” Pratt possessed during the filming of Parks and Recreation, and now his jokes can tell the future. There is no other possible explanation for this tweet, which Eichner wrote right after the final Best Picture drama went down:
IF ANYONE FROM THE IN MEMORIUM IS STILL ALIVE PLEASE LET US KNOW— billy eichner (@billyeichner) February 27, 2017