Oscars Flashback: Watch Sammy Davis Jr. Announce the Wrong Winner in 1964

Nick Schager

At the conclusion of Sunday night’s Academy Awards, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced that La La Land had won Best Picture — which would have been all well and good, except that the actual winner was Moonlight. It was an awards show error for the ages. It was not, however, the first time such a thing happened at the Oscars.

As you can see in the video above, a similar blunder occurred in 1964 at the 36th Academy Awards, when — following a trio of amusing impressions — Sammy Davis Jr. proclaimed John Addison the winner of the Oscar for Best Score – Adaptation or Treatment for his work on Tom Jones … even though neither Addison nor the film were competing in that category. In response, a clearly embarrassed but still quick-witted Davis immediately said to the perplexed crowd, “They gave me the wrong envelope. Wait till the NAACP hears about this.” The mistake was swiftly rectified (Andre Previn won that statuette, for Irma la Douce) — although it couldn’t be totally fixed, as the card Davis originally read spoiled Addison’s subsequent win for Best Substantially Original Score.

Of course, the Oscars isn’t the only ceremony where this has happened. As one can see below (albeit in French), at France’s 1991 César awards, actress Vanessa Paradis announced Judith Godrèche was the winner of the Best Female Newcomer prize (for La Désenchantée), even though the actual winner was Judith Henry (for La Discrète).

And then, of course, there’s Steve Harvey, who as of this morning is still basking in the afterglow of last night’s Oscars, which will forever overshadow his own Miss Universe pageant blooper from late 2015.

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