Oscars 2017: How the 'Moonlight'-'La La Land' best picture goof-up happened

Feb 27, 2017, 11:54 IST | PTI

'Moonlight' and 'La La Land'
'Moonlight' and 'La La Land'

Los Angeles: Coming-of-age drama "Moonlight" won the best picture Oscar defeating strong favourite "La La Land" after a shocking mix-up in the announcement of the top award.

"La La Land" which won six trophies including best director and actress, was incorrectly declared the winner by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.

However, midway through their victory speech, the producers of the musical realised the error and John Horowitz announced that the award actually belonged to "Moonlight".

Many thought he was just making a statement but then he cleared that he was not joking and showed the audience the card which read "Moonlight".

"I want to tell you what happened. I opened the envelope and it said Emma Stone, La La Land. That's why I took such a long look at Faye and at you. I wasn't trying to be funny," a flustered Beatty later clarified.

"Well I don't know what happened. I blame myself for this," host Jimmy Kimmel joked after the moment.

"Let's remember, it's just an awards show. I mean, we hate to see people disappointed, but the good news is we got to see some extra speeches. We have some great movies. I knew I would screw this show up, I really did. Thank you for watching. I'm back to work tomorrow night on my regular show. I promise I'll never come back. Good night!," he said.

"La La Land" producer Jordan Horowitz (L) shows the card reading Best Film 'Moonlight" next to US actor Warren Beatty after the latter mistakingly read "La La Land" initially at the 89th Oscars on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. Pics/AFP
"La La Land" producer Jordan Horowitz (L) shows the card reading Best Film 'Moonlight" next to US actor Warren Beatty after the latter mistakingly read "La La Land" initially at the 89th Oscars on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. Pic/AFP 

Presenter Warren Beatty first, mistakenly initially announced that musical "La La Land" had won, causing confusion and uproar on Hollywood's biggest night. Beatty said he had been given the wrong envelope to open.

Adapted by Jenkins from Tarell Alvin McCraney's autobiographical play 'In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue', the "Moonlight" has been hailed by critics for its humanity in portraying this struggle.

A tender story of a young black man coming to terms with his sexuality while growing in a rough Miami neighbourhood, the film also won Jenkins and McCraney best adapted screenplay and Mahershala Ali best supporting actor trophy.

The small budget film, Jenkins' second outing after a gap of eight years, entered the competition with eight nominations.

While critics predicted Ali as the sure-shot winner in the best supporting actor category, not many believed that "Moonlight" will manage to ride over the popularity of "La La Land", director Damien Chazelle's stunning LA-set ode to jazz and romance that mesmerised Hollywood.

"Moonlight" won a Golden Globe for best picture, and Jenkins made history as the first black person ever nominated for Academy Awards for best director, best screenplay and best picture in the same year.

McCraney wrote the play in 2003 after losing his mother to AIDS-related complications and Jenkins said in interviews that he could relate a lot to story which resonated his own upbringing during the crack epidemic of the 1980s and '90s.

Apart from "La La Land", it also beat seven other nominees including Kenneth Lonergan's "Manchester by the Sea", "Hidden Figures" and "Lion".

Go to top