Michael Keaton feels “horrible” about the controversy surrounding his Hidden Figures gaffe at the Golden Globe Awards after initially failing to grasp the reason for the uproar.
The Birdman star raised eyebrows at the Los Angeles prizegiving on Sunday (08Jan17) when he got his films mixed up as he read out the nominees for the Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture accolade, claiming Octavia Spencer was in the running for her role in “Hidden Fences”.
Fences star Viola Davis ended up winning the award.
Keaton offered a brief apology to the paparazzi after leaving the event, saying, “I’m sorry, I apologise. I screwed it up.”
He then sarcastically added, “I’m a horrible person,” after learning his remark had gone viral.
However, Keaton now admits he didn’t quite understand why his flub became such big news, because while he saw it as a simple mistake, others were outraged the two films he had lumped together were movies where the main castmembers were African-American.
Addressing the uproar at the Los Angeles premiere of his new film The Founder on Wednesday (11Jan17), the actor told Variety.com, “I’m very, very sorry about that.”
“I get that people thought I was nonchalant about it,” he explained. “At the time I totally didn’t understand what people were talking about, but since then somebody said, ‘Well, they’re upset for this other reason’ – and that made me feel horrible.”
He went on to insist he meant no offence by his mix-up, adding, “They (critics) are incorrect in their assumption (that I did it intentionally), but it doesn’t matter that they’re wrong. If someone feels badly that’s all that matters.”
Keaton also used the opportunity to reach out to the relatives of Hidden Figures stars Octavia, Taraji P. Henson, and Janelle Monae to express his sincere apologies.
“Those people in the movie who worked all that time in front of millions of people, I, like a jerk, screwed the line up,” he said. “What I always think about is they have mothers and sisters and brothers and fathers that are sitting at home waiting for them and watching them and this guy, me, gets up and gives the wrong title. That makes me feel terrible. You feel badly about those things.”
The Hidden Figures stars have yet to respond to Keaton’s apologies, but his latest explanation emerges shortly after actress Gabrielle Union criticised his initial response to the gaffe during an appearance on U.S. talk show The View earlier this week (begs09Jan17), and suggested he was insincere.
He wasn’t the only one to confuse Hidden Figures with Fences at the Globes – NBC presenter Jenna Bush Hagar also referenced “Hidden Fences” while interviewing hip-hop star Pharrell Williams on the red carpet for his contribution to the movie’s score, which was also nominated.
She subsequently issued a heartfelt apology on breakfast show Today, and received a warm response from Pharrell, Octavia, and Janelle, who all publicly forgave her for the on-air mistake.