Al Pacino explains why Oscars Best Picture presentation was so blunt

Al Pacino presenting Best Picture at the 2024 Oscars (Getty Images)

Al Pacino caused confusion at last night’s Oscars when he announced that Oppenheimer had won Best Picture without first reading out the names of the 10 nominees for the ceremony’s biggest prize.

However, The Godfather actor, 83, has now issued a statement to clarify that he was never asked to do so.

“There seems to be some controversy about my not mentioning every film by name last night before announcing the best picture award,” said Pacino. “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. I was honored to be a part of the evening and chose to follow the way they wished for this award to be presented.

“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.”

Pacino’s explanation was backed up by Oscars producers.

“It was a creative decision we made because we were very worried that the show was going to be long,” producer Molly McNearney told Variety. “By the time you get to the end of the show, you’ve seen all ten best picture clip packages. People just want to hear who wins, and they’re pretty ready for the show to be over. At least that’s what we anticipated.

“So, we did not give him a clip package. We did not give him nominations to read. I apologize if our decision to not have to read through all those nominations put him in a tough spot.”

Al Pacino presenting Best Picture at the 2024 Oscars (Getty Images)
Al Pacino presenting Best Picture at the 2024 Oscars (Getty Images)

Pacino added to the confusion by announcing the winner in his own idiosyncratic way.

“Here it comes,” he said. “And my eyes see… Oppenheimer.”

“That made it a little confusing,” added McNearney, “But listen, that’s the excitement of live television. You never know what you’re going to get exactly!”

Host Jimmy Kimmel joked about Pacino’s delivery after the ceremony.

“I guess he’s never watched an awards show before,” Kimmel said. “It seems like everyone in America knows the rhythm of how it’s supposed to go… down to the ‘And the Oscar goes to…’ But not Al Pacino! God bless him.”

Rather than running long, the 2024 Oscars actually came in ahead of schedule. That allowed Kimmel the time to add an unscripted response to Donald Trump’s criticism of his hosting abilities on social media.

“Has there EVER been a WORSE HOST than Jimmy Kimmel at The Oscars,” Trump wrote. “His opening was that of a less than average person trying too hard to be something which he is not, and never can be…Also a really bad politically correct show tonight, and for years – Disjointed, boring, and very unfair. Why don’t they just give the Oscars to those that deserve them. Maybe that way their audience and TV ratings will come back from the depths. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

In response, Kimmel joked: “Blah, blah, blah … OK, now, see if you can guess which former president just posted that on Truth Social. Anyone? No? Well, thank you, President Trump. Thank you for watching, I’m surprised you’re still up – isn’t it past your jail time?”