What really happened during the La La Land/Moonlight Best Picture mixup

Barry Jenkins' "Moonlight" - not, as it turned out, "La La Land" - won best picture at the Academy Awards in a historic Oscar upset and an unprecedented fiasco that saw one victor swapped for another while the "La La Land" producers were in mid-speech.

Moments later, however, while the cast and crew of La La Land celebrated on stage, one of the film's producers, Jordan Horowitz, seized the mic and announced that another film, Moonlight, had actually won the award.

Producer Adele Romanski seemed flabbergasted. "Moonlight. You guys won best picture". This is not a joke.

"The acceptance speech always changes over the years, but the one constant would be thanking my mother for getting me into this business 40 years ago", he said of his mom, Skippy O'Connell, who died on the night of the 2007 Oscars.

As the evening rolled, the anti-Trump digs kept coming, spearheaded by in-form show host Jimmy Kimmel.

"There was a lot of confusion on stage, and at a certain point it was clear the wrong envelope had been given", he said. With Emma Stone revealing that she already had a copy of the Best Actress card, it is possible that the second copy were given to Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, instead of the Best Picture card. Beatty, who was left looking mortified, clarified that it was indeed a mix-up and that he "wasn't trying to be amusing".

Former Oscar host Neil Patrick Harris seemed to confirm via Twitter that Beatty had been given the wrong envelope, sending out a close-up image of a freeze-frame from Sunday night's show that appears to show Beatty holding an envelope that says "actress in a leading role".

La La Land did not win the most Oscars in history tonight, but that doesn't mean no records were broken. But the teams behind both films handled the snafu with poise, and Moonlight director Barry Jenkins' reaction to the Best Picture mix-up is about as graceful as the come. Her award was given out just before the Best Picture victor was announced, but according to the actress, she never gave back the envelope with her name on it.

To make things more confusing, Stone was holding her results envelope after she received her statuette. I don't know what happened. Exhume those stories. Stories of people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams into fruition. We spent a lot of time together over the last six months, and I can't imagine being in their position.

There were many standing ovations at the ceremony, but one of the loudest was for 98-year-old NASA astronaut Katherine Johnson, the inspiration for the film Hidden Figures. Farhadi is from Iran, one of the seven countries listed in the ban.

"My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of the other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.", he said. "Dividing the world into the "us" and "our enemies" categories creates fear".

But those moments were overshadowed by the chaotic finale to the Oscars.

"I can't even begin to describe to you the pandemonium this caused - and is still causing tonight", Georgie, who attends the Oscars every year, wrote in a Facebook post after the show. "It's just an award".

  • Salvatore Jensen


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