Please give a hand — and a break — to two-time Oscar-winning director Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman and The Revenant).
On Sunday night, EW set off a viral firestorm with a 6-second Vine video that purported to show a bunch of men and women in the crowd during the Oscar telecast purposefully not clapping for Mad Max: Fury Road costume design victor Jenny Beavan.
Of all the people in the video (which also included Oscar winners Tom McCarthy, Louis Gossett Jr., and Jean Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award winner Quincy Jones), Iñárritu took the most heat, and the hyperbolic outrage directed at him reached fever pitch. Inexplicably, even the Mexican filmmaker’s Wikipedia page has even been updated to state: “In 2016, Iñárritu attracted widespread press controversy by being among a group of guests at the 88th Academy Awards, who refused to applaud the Oscar winning costume designer Jenny Beavan. According to The Guardian, ‘Iñárritu glowered as if a woman in a leather jacket was somehow more repulsive than DiCaprio chomping down a raw bison liver.'”
But like a juicy quote taken completely out of context, the so-called fact of Iñárritu’s indifference towards Beavan is simply not accurate. The full reality of his reaction is obvious in this GIF of Beavan’s walk to the podium, capturing the few seconds after the Vine video and clearly showing Iñárritu’s applause for her Oscar win:
In a statement, Iñárritu explained: “I think Jenny Beavan is a masterful costume designer and very deserving of the Oscar for Mad Max: Fury Road. By editing and omitting the full reality and suggesting I felt anything but admiration is mean-spirited and false. What you don’t see in the 10 second clip being circulated is my applause for Jenny as she ascended the stairs to the stage. I’ve learned a lot this awards season… that I should never cross my arms when I am sitting down.”
Additionally, on the day after the Oscars, Iñárritu clarified the misunderstanding in a private message to Beavan herself — to which she fully accepted his explanation. The Vine was intended by EW to show a flyaway snippet of the four-hour Oscar marathon. Ascribing any unsanitary motive to Iñárritu, especially given the reality of the situation, is to invent a scandal where none exists. And so, EW apologizes to Iñárritu for our role in inadvertently, and with no ill intent, creating an impression of him that was inaccurate.