Sunday’s Oscars telecast delivered a tearjerker of an “In Memoriam” segment dedicated to the many performers, producers, directors, writers and other film industry giants who died in the previous year. Yet the emotional collage of clips, quotes and pictures also presented yet another boo-boo in what ultimately turned out to be one of the Academy’s lowest-rated broadcasts on record. It didn’t draw nearly as much criticism as the Best Picture mix-up, but it did shock the families and friends of Janet Patterson and Jan Chapman in a rather personal way.
Patterson, an Australian costume designer who was nominated for her outstanding work in The Piano, Portrait of a Lady, Oscar and Lucinda and Bright Star, passed away in October. Both her name and designation were accurately portrayed in the montage, but as Variety reports, the photo used was completely wrong. Why? Because it actually depicted Chapman, an Australian film producer who is very much alive and well. Per an email exchange with the magazine, Chapman praised her late colleague and lamented the Academy’s mistake:
“I was devastated by the use of my image in place of my great friend and long-time collaborator Janet Patterson. 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.”
Considering the similarity of Janet and Jan’s first names, as well as the fact they worked together on The Piano, that someone unfamiliar with either would mistake one for the other is understandable. However, most would expect the Academy — who has yet to comment on the matter — to have exercised more caution with the “In Memoriam” segment’s creation.