Earlier this week, I read a great post from another blogger, who pointed out lessons to be learned from the major flub with the announcement of the Best Picture Oscar last Sunday night. Now, I did watch the entire event live but clicked off the t.v. right after Faye Dunaway announced that La La Land had won. So I was quite surprised the next morning to read about this mishap. When I watched the clip of what went down, I was struck by the gracious way the filmmaker of La La Land conducted himself.
I imagine myself in a similar (but yet totally different) scenario: I’ve just won the “Best Blogger” award at a fancy schmancy award ceremony. I’m absolutely gobsmacked and floating on air as I glide onto the stage and thank all of those who have supported me. Then I sense some commotion going on behind me. There’s a sense of confusion in the air. I can’t quite make out what exactly is off here. As I’ve finished blubbering all over my beautifully ornate rented jewelry and figure flattering ball gown and hand the mike over to one of my associates (by this point I must have one or two of these right?), I step over to the side of the stage and begin to understand that I didn’t actually win. I freeze in my tracks. My heart is pounding in my ears, I feel nauseous, and I just want to run off the stage like a madwoman, crawl into a hole and die. Now, the description of how I would very likely feel in this precise circumstance, I realize, is not necessarily how the filmmaker of La La Land felt. But I think it’s safe to assume he had some measure of uncomfortable emotions going on under that tuxedo.
The deal is, just like in my fictional version of winning then losing a very prestigious award, once the initial shock and horror subsided, this filmmaker had a choice to make about how he would respond. And he chose to be gracious. He chose to grab that envelope and proclaim that “Moonlight” actually won Best Picture. He then went on to say that he was going to be “proud to give this award to my friends from Moonlight”. He could have chosen to storm off the stage. He could have chosen to punch someone’s lights out. He could have chosen to go on a diatribe about how unfair or unprofessional this all was. Many of us would have on some level at least understood if he had chosen to react in any of those ways. However, he chose to be gracious. What a tremendous example of how to handle yourself in public in an emotionally intelligent way. I hope that if I’m ever in this type of circumstance myself (like when I win that coveted “Best Blogger” award), I will remember his example of how to respond.