It was supposed to work our perfectly. I booked my work-related flight from New York to Phoenix on Academy Awards Sunday through Jet Blue, where I could watch the ceremony live on the plane.
Indeed, it would make the Oscars that much more memorable. When I look back on the 89th Academy Awards in the future, I’d always remember that I watched it live in the air. It would make my nearly six-hour flight go by that much quicker, and pending technical difficulties, I wouldn’t miss a second of the action.
So it was with deep befuddlement when I first sat down in the plane one hour before show time, when I realized that my in-flight television got basically every channel but ABC, which was broadcasting the ceremony.
But I didn’t become alarmed just yet. After all, it made no sense. Why would ABC not be there? Not only was every other basic cable channel available, but there was also some secondary channels like NBC Sports, MTV, TNT. So why not ABC? I figured maybe it was listed under another channel name or something.
That’s when the flight attendant informed me that ABC is one of the few channels that has not given permission for JetBlue to use.
Still, I didn’t start panicking. I had my laptop and JetBlue had Wi-Fi.
Then I discovered that the live feed on ABC.com was not accessible from my flight.
No worries, though, the Oscars website has a live stream … which redirected to ABC.com.
In a last-ditch effort, I searched Google and Twitter for live streams, which probably weren’t licensed by ABC or the Oscars, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. Finally, with about 15 minutes to spare, I found a live YouTube stream. It was a bit grainy, but it was live and perfectly watchable. I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Come 8:30 p.m., we were comfortably sitting at cruising altitude, Justin Timberlake was opening the show with his summer hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” and I had a cocktail in hand. I was perfectly set for the next four hours.
Then my live stream cut out due to copyright infringement.
A few unsuccessful searches later, I resigned my fate. I would miss the Oscars. Fortunately, though, it’s 2017, and I was able to get up-to-the-second updates on the awards, and then able to find a clip on YouTube minutes later to see the actual footage. I was basically watching the Oscars on a delay, with no suspense whatsoever.
But for most of the broadcast, the show was very enjoyable. Jimmy Kimmel filled the spaces nicely with some great gags involving tourists and Matt Damon, and while politics did not dominate the event, there was still some powerful moments, highlighted by the Best Foreign Film-winning director Asghar Farhadi’s decision to boycott the show in protest of Trump’s previously-struck-down travel ban.
Furthermore, I was on a roll. With the exception of Best Leading Actor going to Casey Affleck — much to the dismay of many females — I had predicted almost every major category correctly.
All that was left was for me to correctly predict Moonlight for Best Picture.
The following text message conversation ensued shortly after midnight between a friend and I:
Me: Tell me when they’re announcing Best Picture.
Friend: Right now.
Me: Moonlight plz
Friend: La La Land
Me: *sad cat emoji*
Friend: It won seven awards in total.
…one minute passes…
Friend: Moonlight won
Friend: There was a mistake. Wtf
Me: Are you being serious lol
Friend: Yes. You need to watch that clip.
Me: Did they pull a Steve Harvey?
Friend: They were halfway through the speeches.
Me: I AM MISSING EVERYTHING.
Of all the Oscars to miss live, it had to be this one.
For the viewer, it was obviously a very entertaining sequence of events. And while I am glad that justice was wrought and Moonlight ultimately won, I couldn’t help but be saddened that the people involved with the film didn’t get to have the full experience of winning the industry’s biggest award. It really would have been a memorable moment.
Instead, we got a circus.
We now know what happened amid the chaos, thanks largely to Jimmy Kimmel’s late night monologue the next day. It wasn’t Warren Beatty’s fault. Wasn’t really Faye Dunaway’s fault. Wasn’t Matt Damon’s fault.
When in doubt, blame the accountants.
All in all, as bad as that snafu was, you’ve got to hand it to the La La Land crew for how graciously they handled the situation. And as a result, I think Moonlight and La La Land should now be made into one movie.
In fact, I’m working on the script now.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Moon La La Light.
It probably won’t be the next Hamilton.