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Northwestern alum Jordan Horowitz wins Oscar gold

Man of the hour credited with poise and graciousness dealing with Best Picture snafu

Jordan Horowitz, Northwestern alumnus '02
Jordan Horowitz, Northwestern alumnus '02

Northwestern University alumnus Jordan Horowitz ’02 won praise as the man of the hour at the Oscars for his poised, gracious and generous reaction during the unprecedented mix-up over the Best Picture Oscar.

Horowitz, 36, took charge of the moment after giving his victory speech when his film “La La Land” was first announced as the winner in the Best Picture category at the end of the night. When it became clear there was a mistake and that the film “Moonlight” had won instead, Horowitz didn’t hesitate.

He called up his film colleagues from the rival movie “Moonlight” to the stage, quipped that this wasn’t a joke and handed over the coveted Oscar statuette. He also snatched the announcement card and held it up for the TV cameras to end the confusion onstage in what is being called the worst mistake in Oscar’s 89-year history.

Horowitz, who was a theater major in the School of Communication, had plenty to be proud about already, because his movie had already won six Oscars during the evening’s festivities.

The Northwestern graduate was one of the youngest producers at this year’s Academy Awards. The film “La La Land,” which he co-produced with Fred Berger, Gary Gilbert and Marc Platt, was in contention for 14 Oscars on Sunday, tying the record for most nominations received by a single film along with 1997’s “Titanic” and 1950’s “All About Eve.”

Here’s an account of the accidental announcement of the wrong film for Best Picture and the gracious response from Horowitz and others that captured the hearts of the Academy Awards attendees Sunday night.

In an interesting coincidence, one of the two presenters for the Best Picture Award was also a Northwestern alumnus, Warren Beatty, actor and Academy Award-winning producer, who attended Northwestern in the mid-1950s.

Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which is responsible for the tabulation of the Oscar ballots and the envelopes announcing the winners, released a statement early Monday morning apologizing for the error.

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