Jordan Horowitz – WINNER!

This is not a joke

Nobody died; nobody got pregnant. It’s the main tenet by which I try to live my life when things go wrong. Virgin Atlantic’s terrible new website, lukewarm restaurant food, chasing Air Miles that have not been accredited to my account (did I mention Virgin Atlantic’s terrible new website?) – so long as there is not a corpse or conception at the end of my day, I write it off as an accomplishment.

Which brings me to the Oscars. Nobody died; nobody got pregnant. But on the biggest night of the showbiz year, what happened was still very upsetting. The fabulous Martin Jarvis and Rosalind Ayres had very kindly invited me to their Oscars gathering at their beautiful home in the Hollywood Hills and, after wonderful food, copious amounts of champagne, fantastic company and what I thought had been the best Oscars ever, we awaited The Biggie: Best Picture.

What happened next is still a bit of a blur. “Something’s gone wrong,” a fellow guest said. Then, silence descended. The next thing I remember was my head on the floor and saying (possible screaming) “NO NO NO.” It wasn’t that I cared hugely about which film won Best Picture (Manchester by the Sea would have been my choice), but I felt, at just a very simple human, primal level, the emotions of those who were, by turns, elated and disappointed in the most public of places on the world stage that is television.

This was the opposite of schadenfreude (the German word meaning rejoicing in others’ misfortunes – although I suspect there was a fair bit of that going on, too). As host Jimmy Kimmel (who was brilliant throughout) said (I paraphrase): why can’t they all win?

If there was a defining moment in the Oscars’ history, it was La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz, statuette still in hand, stepping up to the microphone and giving Moonlight their moment in the sun. They had been denied their big announcement, but I suspect the end result overwhelmed initial disappointment. That hug between Horowitz and Moonlight producer Barry Jenkins will go down in history not as a moment of horror, but one of strength and unity.

I have no idea how Horowitz managed it. I would have screamed, cried, sulked for days (actually, years – I am still bitter about not winning the Cadbury’s essay competition when I was eight; their loss – I hardly ever ate chocolate again. Not joking). He is a producer, he said; it’s his job to take control. But all the same, to have had your heart surge at the moment of glory and then have it fall on the stake of disappointment must have been emotionally draining.

As a result, everyone came out a winner – apart from the poor Price Waterhouse Cooper sap who was so busy Tweeting a picture of Emma Stone backstage, he handed Warren Beatty the wrong envelope. I don’t think it’s just down to him, though. Who was looking at the screen monitor and failed to point out that Beatty was holding the envelope that clearly said “Best Actress”?

Why did Beatty not halt proceedings when it was clear he knew something was up? Where is Emma Stone’s envelope, because, for all her protestations of having it with her the entire night, there is not one picture of her holding it (I am not implying she was in any way to blame, by the way; it’s just another conspiracy theory observation).

Amid the chaos and confusion, I have nothing but admiration for the grace, dignity and kindness with which Horowitz handled it all. I’d like him to produce my funeral, I’ve decided. What could possibly go wrong? Other than that they discover they’re burying the wrong person, of course.

He’d deal with it. “No seriously, guys . . . she’s alive. This is NOT A JOKE.”

Thank you, Mr Horowtiz, for showing us, during these bizarre and often painful times in which we are living, what it really means to be a human being.

There may be trouble ahead, but while there’s moonlight and . . .

Sorry, bad example.