Michael De Luca was just popping the tab on his third Diet Coke of the evening backstage at the Dolby Theatre when the inconceivable happened: The wrong movie was named best picture at the Oscars.
“I heard [fellow producer] Jennifer Todd next to me,” says De Luca in his first comments about the most infamous moment in Academy Awards history (he spoke exclusively on KCRW’s The Business radio show, set to air March 2). “It was like the Hindenburg report. I literally heard, ‘Oh my God! He got the wrong envelope!’ And then it was slow motion. You perceive things slowly as the adrenaline rises and the cortisol floods your system.”
De Luca, 51, rushed to the hotline that linked producers and key staff. “We have a producers’ table backstage, and that’s where Jen and I were,” he continues. “It’s where we watched the whole show. My concern was getting [host] Jimmy [Kimmel] up there and saying, ‘Goodnight, everybody.’ But to Jimmy’s credit, he was already on the way. He was sitting with Matt Damon to do the scripted final bit — it was going to be a kicker with Matt — and he saw what was happening and jumped onstage.”
More from: The Hollywood Reporter