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Here’s What Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway Said to Each Other After the Oscars’ Best-Picture Screw Up

It was the strangest ending to a telecast in Oscar history, and we were there to witness the aftermath.

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty89th Annual Academy Awards, Backstage, Los Angeles, USA - 26 Feb 2017

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty
89th Annual Academy Awards

H. Walker/REX/Shutterstock

It was the weirdest ending to an Oscar telecast in history. Two icons of American cinema, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, reunited onstage to read the 2017 Best Picture winner. And at first, it was utterly unsurprising: “La La Land”! Then it was more surprising than anyone had imagined: Beatty had received a card for Best Actress that contained Emma Stone’s name. In his confusion, he handed it to Dunaway, who read the film’s title. And then it fell to producer Jordan Horowitz to set the record straight, in a cringe-worthy moment for the ages.

Moments later, Beatty and Dunaway made their way upstairs to the Governors Ball, where IndieWire was hanging out by the door and witnessed the two of them engage in the following exchange, still shellshocked by the experience.

When Beatty first entered the Governors Ball, he was met by New York-based Oscar-season consultant Peggy Siegal.

“Why?” she asked him.

“Why what?” Beatty replied.

“Why did you read it that way?”

Beatty hesitated. “Well…” he said, “it seemed like it said…”

Peggy again: “Who did that?”

Beatty replied, “I have no idea. Where’s Faye?”

Dunaway walked over to Beatty as a crowd began to gather around the pair.

Beatty: “Faye! I told them, ‘Talk to Faye, because she read the card.'”

Dunaway concurred. “Yeah! I told everyone.”

“You told them over there?” Beatty said, gesturing to the red carpet by the entrance.

“I told them on the elevator with [Academy CEO] Dawn Hudson. And I said exactly what was on the card.”


“I know. It was a weird evening. Well … Are you OK?”

“I’m fine! I, I…”

“I feel very badly for the people at PriceWaterhouseCooper.”

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