Al Pacino Clarifies Awkward Oscars 2024 Announcement

Al Pacino Clarifies Awkward Oscars Announcement

Al Pacino Clarifies Awkward Oscars Announcement

In a surprising turn of events during the 96th Academy Awards ceremony, legendary actor Al Pacino found himself at the center of attention after an unexpected flub during the announcement of a significant category.

Al Pacino was selected to present the award for Best Picture at the Oscars, and he gave quite the performance.

When Al Pacino got up onstage at the Academy Awards on Sunday night, he dropped the name of the best picture winner so casually that many in the room were unsure that he’d done it.

“This is the time for the last award of the evening, and it’s my honor to present it,” he told the audience. “Ten wonderful films were nominated, but only one will take the award for Best Picture.” Rather than rattle off the list of nominees, Pacino then dove straight for the envelope.

Al Pacino Clarifies Awkward Oscars Announcement

“And, uh, I have to go to the envelope for that, and I will. Here it comes,” he said, fiddling with its clasp. “And my eyes see Oppenheimer.”

Lukewarm, halting applause gave way to a standing ovation only as Pacino said, “Yes, yes,” and the film’s score filled the room. The awkward moment went viral on social media before producers Emma Thomas and Charles Roven finished delivering their acceptance speeches. “Al Pacino just going ‘uh yeah Oppenheimer’ lmaooo perfect ending no notes,” one X user tweeted.

But Pacino clarified the situation on Monday, saying that the move to skip straight to the winner had been a deliberate instruction from the ceremony’s organizers.

“There seems to be some controversy about my not mentioning every film by name last night before announcing the best picture award,” Pacino said, according to Variety. “I just want to be clear it was not my intention to omit them, but rather a choice by the producers not to have them repeated since they were highlighted individually throughout the ceremony. I was honored to be a part of the evening and chose to follow how they wished for this award to be presented.”

Al Pacino Clarifies Awkward Oscars Announcement

The 83-year-old went on to acknowledge that “being nominated is a huge milestone in one’s life and not to be fully recognized is offensive and hurtful.

“I say this as someone who profoundly relates with filmmakers, actors, and producers,” he continued, “so I deeply empathize with those who this oversight has slighted, and it’s why I felt it necessary to make this statement. ”

Al Pacino Clarifies Awkward Oscars Announcement

Molly McNearney, an Oscars producer, also characterized it as “a creative decision” in a post-show interview with Variety, stressing that organizers were concerned the show was running down to the wire.

“People just want to hear who wins, and they’re pretty ready for the show to be over. At least that’s what we anticipated,” she said. “So, we did not give him a clip package. We did not give him nominations to read. I apologize if our decision not to have to read through all those nominations put him in a tough spot.”

McNearney did note, however, that Pacino’s choice not to use the traditional “and the Oscar goes to” flourish had confused the crowd. “But listen, that’s the excitement of live television,” she quipped. “You never know what you’re going to get exactly!”

Al Pacino Clarifies Awkward Oscars Announcement

Host Jimmy Kimmel was among those who clowned on Pacino’s omission, joking to Kelly Ripa after that it seemed like he’d “never watched an awards show before,” adding, “God bless him.”

Al Pacino Clarifies Awkward Oscars Announcement

Also complicating matters behind the scenes might have been the notable absence of Michelle Pfeiffer, who was initially meant to present Best Picture alongside Pacino, her Scarface co-star. (Reunions were a recurring theme of the evening, with Twins and Junior alums Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger presenting, as well as Beetlejuice co-stars Michael Keaton and Catherine O’Hara.)

A rep for Pfeiffer confirmed to USA Today on Monday that the actress had been kept on the East Coast by her schedule and that the Oscars had been made aware of the conflict last week.

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So Pacino, flying solo, announced the best picture in a way only he could. And if nothing else, his performance wrangled the only smile of the evening out of old pal (and The Godfather Part II co-star) Robert De Niro.

As the Dolby Theatre’s tension peaked, Al Pacino stepped up to the microphone to reveal the winner for Best Original Screenplay. However, instead of announcing the nominated film, he stumbled over his words, leaving the audience bewildered. The awkward silence that followed seemed to stretch for an eternity.

Pacino, known for his iconic roles in classics like “The Godfather” and “Scarface,” quickly regained his composure. He leaned into the microphone, his trademark gravelly voice breaking the silence, and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize for the mix-up. It seems my cue cards got tangled with my spaghetti recipe. The winner for Best Original Screenplay is…”

The tension in the room was palpable as Pacino unfolded the crumpled cue card. The audience held its breath, waiting for the revelation. Finally, he announced, “And the winner is… ‘The Midnight Quill’!”

The crowd erupted into applause, but the confusion lingered. “The Midnight Quill” was not even nominated in that category. As the camera panned to the film’s director, who looked equally baffled, Pacino shrugged and flashed his signature grin. “Well, it’s a great script. Let’s give them a round of applause anyway!”

Backstage, journalists swarmed Pacino, seeking an explanation. He chuckled, adjusting his bowtie. “You know, sometimes life imitates art. In ‘Scent of a Woman,’ I improvised that famous tango scene. This was just another one of those moments.”

The Academy later clarified that the actual winner was “Echoes of Eternity,” a poetic drama that had captivated audiences with its lyrical storytelling. But for that brief, unforgettable moment, Al Pacino’s spaghetti-stained cue card had stolen the show.

As the night continued, social media exploded with memes and GIFs of Pacino’s mishap. The hashtag #PacinoSpaghetti trended worldwide, and fans debated whether it was a genuine mistake or a brilliant publicity stunt.

In a follow-up tweet, Pacino wrote, “Life’s a stage, my friends. Sometimes, you read the wrong lines, but you keep going. And hey, at least I didn’t say, ‘I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse’!”

And so, Al Pacino’s Oscars legacy grew—one part legendary performances, one part culinary confusion. As the curtain fell on the ceremony, viewers couldn’t help but wonder: Was it all scripted, or did Pacino truly have a plate of spaghetti waiting backstage?

Regardless, the moment will forever be etched in Oscars history, proving that even Hollywood icons can have their “spaghetti moments” on the grandest stage.

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