Brow Beat

Worst Picture: The Oscars Used a Photo of a Living Person in Its Celebrity Death Montage

(Not pictured: Janet Patterson.)

Briefly crowning the wrong Best Picture was the 2017 Oscars’ most visible mistake, but it wasn’t its most egregious. That honor goes to the inclusion of a living person during the ceremony’s In Memoriam segment, the very-much-alive Australian producer Jan Chapman. The academy was correct that costumer designer and four-time nominee Janet Patterson had indeed passed away in October, but the picture they used was of Chapman, who was horrified by the error.

“I was devastated by the use of my image in place of my great friend and long-time collaborator Janet Patterson,” she said in an email statement to Variety. “I had urged her agency to check any photograph which might be used and understand that they were told that the Academy had it covered. Janet was a great beauty and four-time Oscar nominee and it is very disappointing that the error was not picked up. I am alive and well and an active producer.”

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Chapman and Patterson, both stalwarts of the Australian film industry, did make seven movies together, including five by director Jane Campion—who, for the record, is also still alive.

Oh, and Billy Eichner called it:

Read more in Slate about this year’s Oscars.

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