By now, we’ve all heard about what happened at the Oscars. There is no doubt that announcing the wrong winner for best picture was a major fail. However, I believe that in the resulting frenzy surrounding the “error,” we likely missed an important lesson. What I am talking about, is the class of the La La Land people, the no excuse explanation by Warren Beatty, and the humility of the real winners from Moonlight.
Think about this for a minute.
Imagine that you are in the middle of delivering your acceptance speech for what is the film industry’s greatest honor. Suddenly, someone tells you that it was all “a mistake.” and that you didn’t win; someone else did. What would you do in that rollercoaster moment of unexpected emotion? La La Land Producer Jordan Horowitz did what I would like to think all of us would do when faced with a similar situation. He said: “I’m going to be really proud to hand this to my friends from Moonlight.”
Grace and class. Even in losing, Horowitz came away a winner in my eyes.
Then there is Warren Beatty.
When the mistake was discovered and announced, host Jimmy Kimmel wailed “Warren, what did you do?”
Even though Kimmel’s admonishment was more tongue in cheek than serious, Warren didn’t get “caught up” in the moment. He simply and eloquently explained what had happened, and then ceded the stage to the winners from Moonlight.
There was no angst or anger in Warren’s words or, attempt to save face by blaming others. He recognized what happened and accepted it and moved on.
Finally, there were the soft and humble sentiments expressed by Moonlight Director Barry Jenkins, which included these words to the first winner; “My love to La La Land.”
When things go wrong, there is often the tendency to focus on who is responsible as opposed to responding in a responsible manner. Despite the pressure of the venue and the stakes being so high, what we saw is the way that we should all act when faced with a setback or mistake, colossal or otherwise.
Here are some strategies when you are in an awkward situation or have said things that people interpreted much differently than you thought they would:
- Put yourself in the shoes of the other person. See your behavior from their perspective.
- Empathize with others. You can generally fix a situation when you show others that you care and understand them.
- Act in a way that aligns with your values, whatever emotions you may feel at that moment.
- Speak from your heart, not your ego.
- The best apology is demonstrated through personal accountability.