Michael de Luca Interview: Oscars Producer on the Best Picture Mistake

On Tuesday, February 28th, 2017,  in an exclusive interview, Kim Masters of The Business spoke with Michael de Luca who produced “The Social Network” (Fincher 2010), “Moneyball” (Miller 2011), and “Captain Phillips” (Greengrass 2013), and worked with Jennifer Todd to produce the 89th Academy Awards which took place of February 26th, 2017.

Despite the mistakes made at the ceremony, Michael de Luca described the experience of the producing the ceremony as something that he would likely do again (Masters and de Luca 2017). When asked about what had happened with the Best Picture mistake, de Luca spoke of the moment and the feelings he had going through his head:

“…it was kind of like the Hinderburg report, I heard ‘oh my god, oh my god, he got the wrong envelope!’ and then it was slow motion, you perceive things slowly as your adrenaline rises and the cortisol floods your system and by then the course correction was in progress and I just kind of watched as everybody else has, the mistake was corrected” (Masters and de Luca 2017).

de Luca spoke of what should have happened at the ceremony, and notes that: “It’s one of those mistakes that everyone says ‘will never happen’… to tell you the truth, we didn’t in our wildest dreams think we had to have a conversation about what if the worst that could ever happen, happens, and even when someone brought up ‘what if this happens?’ everyone’s like, ‘don’t worry about it, there are protocols, it’s a foolproof system’. I think they said the same thing about the Titanic cornering on icebergs” (Masters and de Luca 2017).

The Oscars this year had historical moments and mistakes, but producer Michael de Luca seemed to be ecstatic about doing the show again next year. As for the Academy and the ties with the two accountants responsible for the Best Picture mistake, they are no longer working with the Academy but remain in their positions at  PricewaterhouseCooper.

Work Cited

“Oscars producer Michael De Luca on that fateful mistake.” Interview. Audio blog post. The Business. KCRW, 4 Mar. 2017. Web. 4 Mar. 2017.


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