‘Moonlight’ Wins Best Picture After Unprecedented Mistake

'Moonlight' Wins Best Picture After Unprecedented Mistake

The 89th annual Academy Awards ended Sunday night with a giant gaffe after actors Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty accidentally read La La Land as the Best Picture winner, before having to correct themselves and awkwardly give Oscar’s most coveted award to the actual winner, Moonlight.

Viewers at home and celebrities at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood were stunned when La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz interrupted his team’s acceptance speeches, alongside host Jimmy Kimmel, to abruptly say, “There’s a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won Best Picture.” It was confusing and awkward to say the least.

While many thought it was an elaborate joke plotted by prankster Kimmel or a way for Horowitz to honor Moonlight for its acclaimed work, it was quickly shown that Barry Jenkin’s celebrated coming of age film did indeed get the Academy’s highest accolade. The producer flashed the envelope on screen for several seconds to demonstrate that Moonlight had legitimately won the industry’s biggest prize.

“Very clearly, even in my dreams this could not be true,” Moonlight director Barry Jenkins said. “But to hell with dreams! I’m done with it because this is true. Oh my goodness. I have to say it is true, it’s not fake. We’ve been on the road with these guys for so long and that was so gracious, so generous of them. My love to La La Land, my love to everybody.”

Beatty and Dunaway originally presented the Best Picture award, on the 50th anniversary of their classic Bonnie & Clyde, but Beatty seemed confused when he opened the envelope, pausing and re-reading its contents many times before Dunaway announcing for him that La La Land had won. Many assumed the actor was doing a bit, but he later returned to the stage to explain the mix-up. Beatty said that the envelope he opened said “Emma Stone, La La Land“—apparently he was given a duplicate envelope from Stone’s earlier win for Best Actress—and assumed it meant the film had also won for Best Picture.

To clarify, there are always two sets of envelopes at the Academy Awards: The PriceWaterhouseCoopers accountants bring two briefcases, then stand backstage, one on each side of the stage. They hand the envelopes to the presenters right before they walk out.

Tags: Academy Awards, La La Land, Moonlight, Oscars, Warren Beatty

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