'This is not a joke': Oscars best picture mix-up
Moonlight has been awarded the best picture Oscar after La La Land was handed the top gong in error.
The awards ceremony was plunged into chaos after Warren Beatty was given the wrong envelope and appeared to hesitate when he saw the card, before co-presenter Faye Dunaway announced La La Land as the winner.
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Producer Fred Berger came forward to inform the cast that Moonlight had indeed won, showing the envelope as proof, after the La La Land crew had already given its acceptance speech.
“This is not a joke,” Berger said.
“There’s a mistake. Moonlight you guys won best picture. Moonlight you won best picture. Moonlight best picture.”
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Beatty then proceeded to explain the mix-up to the audience, surrounded by the crews of both films on stage.
“I want to tell you what happened I opened the envelope and it said Emma Stone, La La Land and that is why I took
such a long look at Faye and at you,” he said.
However, the mystery behind the error deepened when Stone later said she was holding her card the whole time.
“I was holding my best actress in a leading role card the entire time. I don’t mean to start stuff but whatever story that was – I have that card,” she told reporters backstage.
“So I’m not sure what happened and I really wanted to talk to you guys first.”
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Accountants from PwC, the firm that counts the 7,000 votes and is in charge of the famed suitcases containing the winning envelopes, later apologised for the blunder.
“We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred,” the firm tweeted.
Envelope keepers Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, who both have identical cases filled with the 24 winning envelopes which they each give out at either side of the stage, were forced to intervene on stage amid the confusion.
Moonlight director Barry Jenkins eventually went on stage to accept the award.
“Very clearly even in my dreams this can’t be true. But to hell with it because this is true. It’s true, its not fake.”
While the La La Land crew exited the stage, Jenkins thanked them, saying: “We have been on the road with these guys and it was so gracious and so generous of them.”
Jenkins later said he had “seen two cards”, and that he “wanted to see the card and Warren refused to show it to anybody before he showed it to me”.
Oscars host Jimmy KImmel looked stunned as the scene played out.
“Well, I don’t know what happened,” he said. “I blame myself. It’s just an awards show… I knew I would screw this show up, I really did… I promise I’ll never come back!”
Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres tweeted: “Nothing like live TV”. “Congrats to Moonlight! And to La La Land for such a gracious reaction.”
Nothing like live TV. Congrats to Moonlight! And to La La Land for such a gracious reaction. #Oscars
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) 27 February 2017
Oh well it was fairly boring until that jaw dropping turn of events #Oscars
— AmyHitchcock (@AmyHitchcockSky) February 27, 2017
Sky’s Entertainment Correspondent Katie Spencer, on the red carpet at the Vanity Fair Oscars afterparty, said: “We are still in shock here. It was the most horrible, bizarre, jaw-dropping end to any Oscars that I’ve certainly seen.
“Best picture is the big prize of the evening. The one that everyone tunes into. It really overshadows everything that went before it. It is just utterly horrific to watch that unfolding,” she explained.
“Very awkward and very embarrassing for the Academy.”
Damien Chazelle’s celebrated musical, which was up for a record-tying 14 nominations, took home six awards.
Moonlight, with three wins – best supporting actor, best adapted screenplay and best picture – made just over $ 22m (£17m) in the US box office.