In a shocking turn of events, the Academy Award for Best Picture was mistakenly awarded to “La La Land,” whose cast and crew took the stage and began giving speeches -- until only moments later the producers realized the award was actually meant for “Moonlight.”
Presenter Warren Beatty explained afterwards that he was handed the wrong envelope, which contained the winner for best actress Emma Stone, who starred in “La La Land.” After staring at the card for several moments, in what appeared to be an attempt to build suspense, his co-presenter Faye Dunaway announced that “La La Land” had won best picture.
When they realized the mistake, representatives for ballot tabulators Price Waterhouse Coopers raced onstage to stop the acceptance speeches from the “La La Land” team, who called the “Moonlight” cast and crew to the stage.
Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” had actually won best picture in a historic Oscar upset.
“La La Land” came in with 14 nominations, a record that tied it with “Titanic” and “All About Eve.” Barry Jenkins’ tender, bathed-in-blue coming-of-age drama, made for just $1.5 million, is an unusually small Oscar winner. Having made just over $22 million as of Sunday at the box office, it’s one of the lowest grossing best-picture winners ever.
“Even in my dreams this cannot be true,” said an astonished Jenkins, once he reached the stage.
Host Jimmy Kimmel had come forward to inform the cast that “Moonlight” had indeed won, showing the inside of the envelope as proof. “I knew I would screw this up,” said Kimmel, a first-time host. “I promise to never come back.”
Producer Jordan Horwitz then graciously passed his statue to the “Moonlight” producers.
Barry Jenkins, the writer-director of “Moonlight” and Tarell Alvin McCraney, whose play it was based on, won for adapted screenplay. “All you people out there who feel like there isn’t a mirror out there for you, the academy has your back, the ACLU has your back and for the next four years we will not leave you alone, we will not forget you,” said Jenkins.
Backstage, Oscar winner Emma Stone said, “I think everyone’s in a state of confusion still.” Later the actress, who pledged her deep love of “Moonlight,” added, “Is that the craziest Oscar moment of all time? Cool!”
Here is a complete list of winners for the 89th annual Academy Awards presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Best Picture: “Moonlight.”
Actor: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea.”
Actress: Emma Stone, “La La Land.”
Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight.”
Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, “Fences.”
Directing: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land.”
Foreign Language Film: “The Salesman,” Iran.
Adapted Screenplay: “Moonlight,” screenplay by Barry Jenkins, story by Tarell Alvin McCraney.
Original Screenplay: Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea.”
Production Design: “La La Land,” Production Design: David Wasco; Set Decoration: Sandy Reynolds-Wasco.
Cinematography: Linus Sandgren, “La La Land.”
Sound Mixing: “Hacksaw Ridge,” Kevin O'Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace.
Sound Editing: “Arrival,” Sylvain Bellemare.
Original Score: “La La Land,” Justin Hurwitz.
Original Song: “City of Stars” from “La La Land,” music by Justin Hurwitz, lyric by Ben Pasek and Justin Paul.
Costume Design: Colleen Atwood, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
Documentary (short subject): “The White Helmets,” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara.
Documentary Feature: “O.J.: Made in America,” Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow.
Film Editing: “Hacksaw Ridge,” John Gilbert.
Makeup and Hairstyling: “Suicide Squad,” Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson.
Animated Feature Film: “Zootopia,” Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer.
Animated Short Film: “Piper,” Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer.
Live Action Short Film: “Sing,” Kristof Deak and Anna Udvardy.
Visual Effects: “The Jungle Book,” Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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