Last night at the Oscars, in the first few seconds while those on stage were realizing the mistake which was made, there were many others who perhaps momentarily believed a tremendous stunt was being staged - but there was no ruse.
From a body language point-of-view, this incident was laden with examples. A particularly illustrative nonverbal signal was displayed by one of La La Land's producers, Jordan Horowitz.
Once Warren Beatty handed the envelope to Faye Dunaway - and she erroneously announced "La La Land", the entire La La Land team, of course, then came on stage. Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt (also a producer) each gave speeches. That's when The Academy Awards' staff rushed on stage in an effort to fix this awful faux pas.
Jordan Horowitz said, “Guys, guys, I’m sorry. No. There’s a mistake, ‘Moonlight,’ you guys won best picture.”
Marc Platt then added, “This is not a joke. I’m afraid they read the wrong thing.”
The audience collectively and very audibly gasped.
Horowitz then reiterated, “This is not a joke, ‘Moonlight’ has won 'Best Picture.’ ” He then held his left hand to his chest - with his entire hand - including his palm - making full contact (primarily against his sternum but also involving his left, mid-upper chest [0:19 - 0:21]). Next, again with his left hand, he held the correct card high for the cameras and everyone to see and repeated, “‘Moonlight’ - Best Picture.”
Full contact of the entire hand - including the palm of the hand - particularly over the sternum and adjacent left chest - is a strong signal of sincerity. When people touch only with the tips of their digits - or gesture toward their chest without touching during moments of (otherwise) significant emotional content - they are projecting (without knowing it) low levels of sincerity.
We touch over this particular region of our bodies because it is "heartfelt" - for our heart beats just beneath the surface. It's full of emotional impact. Even those who have never held an infant will intuitively hold the child's head over this same area - because it "feels right", more protective and emotionally comfortable.
Thus Jordan Horowitz's body language immediately after he spoke, “This is not a joke, ‘Moonlight’ has won best picture”, told us he was being truthful. Of course after only a few more seconds - no one doubted his words. Yet in many such "everyday" settings, this and a myriad of other nonverbal signals are available for all to look - however, few will see them and know their meaning.
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3861: Emma Stone, The Oscars and Sincerity
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3859: Steve Bannon Touches Reince Priebus' Leg at CPAC
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3857: Taunting a Snowplow Driver - Belleville, Ontario
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3855: Mike Pence regarding Donald Trump and Michael Flynn at NATO Headquarters
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3829: Mary Tyler Moore - Flirtatious, Sexy, Alpha Female Smile
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3785: Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson "Edge of Seventeen" - Behavioral Contagions, Mirroring and Laughing
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 3558: Mila Kunis Nixes Ashton Kutcher's choice regarding Their Baby's Name
Nonverbal Communication Analysis No. 2812: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone & La La Land - Backstage Interview Golden Globes 2017