One of the most cherished and time-honored traditions of the annual Oscars awards celebration is a touching look back at all the individuals involved with the film industry who have passed away in the past year. It’s a nice way to look back and acknowledge the people who make movies such a fantastic bit of escapism from our everyday lives. That is, unless the people in the montage are still alive, in which case it becomes a sickening parody of itself. That’s exactly what happened at last night’s show, when the pre-made “In Memoriam” montage mistakenly included a photo of a very much alive producer named Jan Chapman.
In the scrolling video filled with the names and faces of film industry professionals, the name Janet Patterson popped up. Patterson was a costume designer and multiple Academy Award nominee that passed away in October 2016. She’s undeniably worthy of being honored and would have been a great pick for the segment, except for the fact that the photo showed alongside her name was that of Jan Chapman, an Australian producer who is most certainly still with us.
— David Berthold (@DavidBerthold) February 27, 2017
“I was devastated by the use of my image in place of my great friend and long-time collaborator Janet Patterson,” Chapman explained in an email 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.”
Chapman and Patterson had worked together on films in the past, which makes the mixup even more morbid. Combine this obvious flub with the utter insanity of the Best Picture award mixup and you’ve got to wonder if the Oscars organizers were drinking heavily throughout the planning process.