Sammy Davis Jr. about to flub the 1964 Oscar presentation for Best Music Score (adaptation or treatment).
Long before there was Warren Beatty, Sammy Davis Jr. was the king of awkward moments on live television.
Yep — this isn’t the first time a presenter has incorrectly announced the winner during a live broadcast, and after last night’s short-lived "Best Picture" win for La La Land, people are throwing it back to a similar (but less cringeworthy) flub that went down at the 1964 Academy Awards ceremony.
On Sunday night, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway incorrectly announced La La Land had won the Oscar for Best Picture. In the cringe-worthy moments to follow, Moonlight was rightfully awarded the Oscar.
Turns out, Beatty was simply handed the wrong envelope, just like presenter Sammy Davis Jr. in 1964.
During the 36th Academy Awards, Davis Jr. presented the Oscar for Best Music Score (adaptation or treatment) to John Addison for Tom Jones, when in reality, the Oscar was supposed to go to Andre Previn for Irma La Douce.
Fortunately, Davis Jr.’s mistake, while still pretty embarrassing, was nowhere near as monumentally tragic as last night’s La La Land/Moonlight drama, because Tom Jones wasn’t even nominated in that particular category. The nominees for Best Music Score (adaptation or treatment) were as follows: Irma La Douce, Bye Bye Birdie, A New Kind of Love, Sundays and Cybele and The Sword in the Stone.
Davis Jr. realized his mishap in the classiest way, explaining, "Oh I am… they gave me the wrong envelope." He made light of the situation before things got too uncomfortable, quipping, "Wait till the NAACP hears about this!" Putting on his reading glasses before taking another crack at the job, he joked, "I ain’t gonna make no mistake this time, baby."
Unfortunately for the cast of La La Land, they had already taken the stage and were well into their acceptance speeches before Moonlight’s win was announced.
Should you ever find yourself messing up in front of millions, let Sammy Davis Jr. be your guide.