Al Pacino says his brief best picture Oscar presentation was ‘a choice by the producers’

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

There was no envelope mix up at the Oscars on Sunday, but there was some confusion in the audience when Al Pacino announced “Oppenheimer” had won best picture.

The “Godfather” star revealed the winner of the night’s top prize by saying, “Ten wonderful films were nominated, but only one will take the award for best picture. I have to go to the envelope for that, and I will. Here it comes. And my eyes see ‘Oppenheimer.’ Yes. Yes.”

Pacino’s quick and casual announcement seemed to give some in the Dolby Theatre pause before the audience began to applaud and the orchestra started playing as the cast and crew of “Oppenheimer” made their way to the stage.

In a statement issued Monday through a representative about the somewhat confounding moment, Pacino said his presentation was a reflection of the instructions given to him by the telecast’s producers.

“There seems to be some controversy about my not mentioning every film by name last night before announcing the best picture award. I just want to be clear it was not my intention to omit them, rather a choice by the producers not to have them said again since they were highlighted individually throughout the ceremony,” he said in a statement. “I was honored to be a part of the evening and chose to follow the way they wished for this award to be presented.”

Indeed, in an effort to keep the show from running over at the end of the night, a repeat of the nominated films was skipped since clips from several of the best picture nominees ran throughout the Oscars broadcast. (The show ended up finishing early.)

Pacino added: “I realize being nominated is a huge milestone in one’s life and to not be fully recognized is offensive and hurtful. I say this as someone who profoundly relates with filmmakers, actors and producers so I deeply empathize with those who have been slighted by this oversight, and it’s why I felt it necessary to make this statement.”

Earlier on Monday, a source close to production told CNN the same – that Pacino’s delivery was part of a “predetermined creative decision,” and the legendary actor was “never supposed to announce the nominees” before revealing the winner.

Pacino was given direction to be fairly swift on the stage, according to this production source, but the way he delivered the line was just Pacino’s own spin.

“The way he announced it at the end was just Al Pacino being Pacino,” the individual said.

Moments before Pacino took the stage, Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel had made a joke about needing to tear up the envelope that had Emma Stone’s name on it for best actress for “Poor Things,” a reference to the best picture mix up of 2017, when “La La Land” was accidentally named as the winner before it was announced that “Moonlight” had actually won.

According to Bill Kramer, chief executive of the Academy, Pacino’s delivery was no repeat of past Oscar drama.

“Everything went beautifully,” Kramer told the New York Times. “He was just having fun up there.”

This story has been updated to include additional information.

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