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Last night the Academy Awards made a very big, and very public mistake when it came to announcing Best Picture. However, it turns out that wasn't the night's only screw up, and the other one is honestly probably a bigger deal. It turns out that amongst the names that were recognized during the annual In Memoriam segment, was one person who is very much still alive.
Costume Designer Janet Patterson was a multi-time Oscar nominee who passed away on October 21 at the age of 60. However, while the name listed was correct, the image was not. The picture that was used during the In Memoriam segment last night belonged to film producer Jan Chapman. Chapman will turn 67-years-old in March, because she's still alive.
According to The Wrap, the confusion between the two appears to have started in 1994. Janet Patterson received her first Academy Award nomination for The Piano, a film for which Jan Chapman was also nominated, as the film's producer. Apparently, there are some photo databases where Chapman's image can be found, but with Patterson's name attached. It would seem that whoever at the Academy was putting together the video portion of the presentation used one of these incorrectly labeled photos without realizing it.
While the mistake would not have been invisible to the majority of Oscar viewers last night, it's difficult to argue that this isn't a bigger error than incorrectly announcing the Best Picture winner. That mistake, as big as it was, was quickly corrected live on the stage. The In Memorium video is still viewable on the Oscar website as of this writing and no correction has been posted, although, Janet Patterson's image appears to be missing entirely from the photo slide show on the page, possibly after being pulled for being incorrect. Friends and family of Janet Patterson were probably looking forward to seeing her recognized and honored by the industry she worked for. While they saw her name, the audience never actually got to even see what she looked like.
On the flip side, there were surely people who know Jan Chapman who were more than a little shocked and confused to see their friend's image listed among people who had passed away. What if the picture was correct and the name was the thing that had been in error? Chapman may have received a collection of concerned phone calls last night from people making sure she was still alive.
This, combined with the Best Picture flub, is sure to make this year's ceremony go down in history as the one where "everything" was screwed up. There may be more that we don't know about. We'll have to wait and see.