The presenters for the 2017 Oscars Best Picture category announced the wrong winner Sunday night. Warren Beatty, 79, along with Faye Dunaway, 76, made one of the biggest gaffes in Hollywood’s history.
The jaw-dropping turn of events resulted in chaos during the final minutes of the 2017 Oscars, after La La Land was mistakenly given the Academy Award for Best Picture instead of the correct victor, Moonlight.
Understandably, the astonishing best picture blunder stumped millions of viewers at home. But it also made the jaws of high-profile names inside the Dolby Theatre drop.
La La Land’s cast, director, producers and crew trooped blissfully to the stage to accept the night’s top honor. The musical’s group already began their thank you speeches when it was revealed that the film was erroneously read and that Moonlight was the real winner.
As the La La Land group were enjoying their apparent win, a stagehand repeatedly said, “Oh … Oh my god, he got the wrong envelope.” More headset-clad members of the Oscars crew walked back and forth on stage creating a snafu.
The crew informed the La La Land group of the colossal mix-up. The film’s producer Jordan Horowitz then quickly seized the microphone and announced, “There’s been a mistake. Moonlight, you won best picture. This is not a joke.”
Although details still remain unclear, it appears that the wrong envelope was handed to the presenters. They got the card containing the name of Actress in a Leading Role winner Emma Stone of La La Land.
Beatty noticeably hesitated when he opened the envelope to read the film’s title that won Best Picture. But ultimately, he passed it over to Dunaway, who glanced at the card and announced, “La La Land!”
After Horowitz made clear who actually won, Beatty expounded the mishap. He explained to the stellar audience and television viewers, “I opened the envelope and it said, ‘Emma Stone, La La Land.’ That’s why I took such a long look at Faye … I wasn’t trying to be funny.”
Jokes were aptly made about the dreadful event by the Oscars host who was also on stage. Kimmel quipped to Beatty, “Well, you were funny. That was very funny.”
And evidently stunned, the Moonlight cast and crew then ambled on stage to receive the Best Picture award. Regrettably, the all-black actors’ time to shine faded away in the midst of the blunder.
“Very clearly, even in my dreams, this could not be true,” Barry Jenkins exclaimed. The director continued, “But to hell with dreams. I’m done with it ’cause this is true. Oh my goodness!”
Pricewaterhouse Coopers is the auditing firm that handles Oscars voting and award envelopes. On Monday, February 27, the company released a statement regarding the confusion.
“We sincerely apologize to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for best picture,” the auditing firm said.
“The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred. We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation,” their statement continued.
While the night’s twisted finale was humiliating for the Academy, it may perhaps be good for the Oscars.
In the end, it was an Oscars ceremony that accomplished the diversity the Academy of Arts and Sciences desired. The diversity they achieved compelled in conjunction with awkwardness that the Academy most likely winced at.