10 Life Lessons I Learned From That Epic Oscars Fail

From Maria: met Nadine in the CBS newsroom more than 30 years ago. She is a journalist, a mom, a wife, a mom, a beautiful writer, and a loyal go-to friend who always makes me smile.

Her e-mails bring joy and laughter on a daily basis. So when she wrote this, it made me laugh, then think.


1. It’s never over till it’s over. AND HOW!

2. Don’t be vain about wearing glasses to read a name to millions of people. Better to focus on the truth than what you look like. If you can’t handle the truth, contact lenses are acceptable.

3. Always ask for help in a “big” situation. Don’t be afraid to say, “something’s not right here.”(Hint: If you’re introducing the winner for Best Picture and the card says Best Actress… well, there you have it. A sign from the universe to ask for help. ASAP.)

4. Don’t hand the problem over to your co-presenter who keeps saying thank you, even when no one is applauding. The lesson here is that if YOU don’t know what’s happening, why would SHE?

5. Don’t keep looking inside the envelope as if there is a better answer. There is no better answer. You’re fucked.

6. Once the guy with the headphones enters stage left and tells you there’s been a mistake. Don’t mansplain to the whole world how that happened. Step aside. Let chaos ensue. 

7. Note to future producers/accountants of The Oscars: Devise an emergency plan for bogus wins. Have a cyanide pill handy, but think of a faux Oscar call as a natural disaster, in league with earthquakes and mudslides. Hire a designated fixer (think FEMA) to take charge and clean up the mess.

8. Be as gracious as the “La La Land” producer who thought he had won, thanked the world, then learned he had lost. He became a winner again when he warmly welcomed the winning “Moonlight” cast and crew up to the stage and handed over the statue to the rightful owner. Note: HE was wearing glasses. Enough said.

9. If you’re the host network, would it kill you to spend a few bucks to go overtime? You’ve already dropped a fortune releasing candy from the ceiling. 

Why not give the real winners their moment to get up on stage and thank their mothers? Crisis requires closure. And a close-up.

10. If you’re really smart, don’t bother with the Spanx and a sprayed-on designer dress. On any given roller coaster moment, throw a party. Chow down on comfort food. Enjoy the ride with friends who make you laugh. Who appreciate the twists and turns. Who are willing to go with you to places unknown.

Here’s what I learned: “You just never know.”  

The Super Bowl. The Oscars. Life.

About the Author

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Nadine Schiff-Rosen is the co-author of three non-fiction books and the producer of several film and television productions. She was a Los Angeles based reporter for the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and the Vice President of Production for Michael Douglas' Stonebridge Entertainment. She is a writer living in Los Angeles and serves on the Board of United Friends of the Children and the Sundance Institute.

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