Did the Oscars watch the Grammys this year?
That was one way to look at the wild — and undoubtedly conversation-starting — conclusion to Sunday’s 89th Academy Awards, in which presenter Faye Dunaway accidentally named “La La Land” best picture before her co-presenter, Warren Beatty, realized that “Moonlight” had in fact won the film industry’s most coveted prize.
The mix-up recalled this month’s Grammy Awards, which ended with a similar jolt when Adele said she couldn’t rightfully accept the trophy for album of the year since it meant she was taking it from Beyoncé.
In an increasingly crowded awards-show scene, it’s dramatic moments like these that producers value above all others.
And the Oscars definitely needed such a jolt.
In part that may have been because the two musical categories — original score and original song — felt like a such a lock going into Sunday’s event.
As widely expected, “La La Land” took those two prizes — no surprise, given the movie musical’s recycling of a burnished Old Hollywood sound practically designed to appeal to aging film academy members.
Yet it wasn’t merely a lack of suspense that drained the energy from the show (at least until that unpredictable “Moonlight” finale).
The Oscars seemed also to emphasize a cool professionalism over the kind of heated spontaneity that can define a transcendent performance — especially at a moment as politically charged as this one.
Timberlake tried his best to kick things into gear with his opening performance of “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” from the animated movie “Trolls.” And any music fan had to appreciate his interpolation of a bit of Bill…