Announcing the wrong name for Best Picture is a fairly big blunder but, you know, nobody died. That brings us to the other major Oscars mistake from last night. Variety reports that the ceremony's In Memoriam segment, in which tribute is paid to film industry figures who have died over the past year, featured the wrong photo for the late Australian costume designer Janet Patterson. The woman pictured was Jan Chapman, an Australian producer who is very much alive. The mistake understandably troubled Chapman, who actually worked with Patterson on the 1993 Jane Campion film The Piano. Patterson, who died in October 2015, also worked on the films Portrait of a Lady, Bright Star, and Oscar and Lucinda. “I was devastated by the use of my image in place of my great friend and longtime collaborator Janet Patterson," Chapman, whose own film credits include Lantana and The Last Days of Chez Nous!, told Variety in an email. "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. "I am alive and well and an active producer," she added. The gaffe did not go unnoticed by eagle-eyed Oscars viewers.
The Academy has yet to comment on the oversight, but the incident certainly puts Billy Eichner's joke from last night in perspective. "IF ANYONE FROM THE IN MEMORIUM IS STILL ALIVE PLEASE LET US KNOW," the comedian quipped on Twitter after presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced La La Land as the Best Picture, though Moonlight had actually won.
Sadly, that joke proved to be prescient. Fingers crossed the Academy hires some fact-checkers and photo researchers in 2018.