On Sunday night at the 89th Academy Awards, “La La Land” won best picture...and then it didn’t after it was revealed that presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway had the wrong card and erroneously presented the award to “La La Land.” “Moonlight” was the winner.
“The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected,” read a statement from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm in charge of the Oscar ballots. “We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred.”
While the group admitted to the mistake, that hasn’t stopped people on the internet from labeling the snafu “Envelopegate” and sharing conspiracy theories. With some claiming it was a publicity stunt and others blaming Leonardo Dicaprio, conspiracies now run abound, but this isn’t the first time the Oscars have had conspiracists question the awards.
“Moonlight” and “La La Land” now have conspiracy theorists buzzing about the mixup at the 2017 Oscars. Pictured: Jordan Horowitz, Warren Beatty and Jimmy Kimmel on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood. Photo: Getty Images
1. Marisa Tomei’s Accidental Win In 1993
At the 65th Academy Awards in 1993, newcomer Marisa Tomei pulled off an upset when she won best supporting actress for her role as Mona Lisa Vito in the comedy “My Cousin Vinny.” According to the conspiracy, presenter Jack Palance was either drunk or couldn’t read the card correctly and read the wrong name. Some say Vanessa Redgrave was supposed to win the award, but it has been proven false by PricewaterhouseCoopers, who say they would have corrected the mistake.
2. Michael Moore And “Bowling For Columbine” Met With Boos?
In 2003’s Michael Moore’s critically-acclaimed “Bowling for Columbine” won best documentary feature, but while giving his speech, Moore was met with boos when he condemned then president George W. Bush — surprising since Hollywood is known as being liberal. While the boos could be heard on TV, Moore and late film critic Joe Williams said the jeers actually came from Oscar staff members backstage.
3. Hattie McDaniel’s Missing Award
In 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first black actor to win an Oscar when she won best supporting actress for her role as Mammy in “Gone with the Wind.” Following her death in 1952, McDaniel’s Oscar statue was left to Howard University, but the statue hasn’t been seen since. The official statement claims the award was lost in the university’s storage, but others believe it was thrown in the Potomac River during the 1960s by civil rights protesters angry that McDaniel won for a stereotyped character.
4. The United States Senate Prevented A Best Picture Win For “Zero Dark Thirty”
Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” was met with critical acclaim and landed five Oscar nominations in 2013, but when the night of the show arrived, the film only won one award: best sound editing, and it had to share it with “Skyfall.” According to lore, the film’s realistic portrayal of United States military’s extreme interrogation methods led the U.S. Senate to investigate if the C.I.A. gave Bigelow any classified information. The award for best picture ended up going to “Argo,” which some say painted the United States in a better light.
5. Scientology’s Smear Campaign
Director Alex Gibney’s exposé about the Church of Scientology, “Going Clear,” received widespread praise in 2015 and won best documentary at the Emmys and from the Writers Guild of America. But when the Oscars came around, the film wasn’t even nominated. It’s no secret the church ran a smear campaign against Gibney — producing a film of their own against the director and approaching members of the Academy — but the church denies its actions had anything to do with the Oscars. Still, many feel the film was snubbed.
6. Daniel Day-Lewis And The Illuminati
In 2013, Daniel Day-Lewis won his third best actor award for his role in “Lincoln,” but it was his acceptance speech that had everyone talking. After thanking his wife, fellow nominees and the film’s cast and crew, the actor went on to mention a “human pyramid.” Many saw the reference as a nod to the Illuminati, which has a link to triangle-shaped objects.
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