Jimmy Kimmel. Jordan Horowitz, producer of “La La Land,” shows the envelope revealing “Moonlight” as the true winner of best picture at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Presenter Warren Beatty and host Jimmy Kimmel look on from right. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) Photo: CHRIS PIZZELLO
Best actor: Casey Affleck Photo: Richard Shotwell
Best supporting actor for Moonlight: Mahershala Ali
Emotional speech: Viola Davis
The accountants for the Academy Awards have accepted responsibility for the mistake that led to the Oscars ending in chaos with La La Land wrongly named best picture winner instead of Moonlight.
After hours of confusion following the Oscars, PriceWaterhouseCoopers issued a statement saying the presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway had been given the wrong envelope.
“We sincerely apologise to Moonlight,La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for best picture,” the firm said. “The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and, when discovered, was immediately corrected.
“We are currently investigating how this could have happened and deeply regret that this occurred.”
The producers of La La Land were deep into their acceptance speeches when it emerged there had been a mistake.
After almost two minutes of emotional speeches, La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz showed the stunned audience an envelope he had been handed that revealed the real winner.
“Guys, I’m sorry,” Horowitz said. “There’s a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won best picture. This is not a joke.”
What seemed like a gag by host Jimmy Kimmel at an entertaining and politically charged Oscars turned out to be a fiasco.
Beatty returned to the stage to say he had been thrown by being given the wrong envelope.
“I opened the envelope and it said Emma Stone, La La Land,” he said. “That’s why I looked at Faye and at you. I wasn’t trying to be funny.”
After the La La Land producers left the stage, the Moonlight team stepped up to accept the award.
“The last 20 minutes of my life have been insane; it’s been other-worldly,” said Moonlight writer-director Barry Jenkins, thanking the La La Land producers. “It was so generous and gracious of them. My love to La La Land.”
Asked backstage whether the Academy had explained what happened, Jenkins said: “No explanation. Things just happen. I will say I saw two cards …
“Warren refused to show the card to anybody before he showed it to me. He said, ‘Barry Jenkins has to see the card. He needs to know.’ “
Adding to the confusion, Stone revealed she was holding her “best actress in a leading role” card the whole time, which indicated there were two cards.
It emerged that PriceWaterhouseCoopers created two sets of winners’ envelopes to be handed out from whichever side of the stage the presenters enter from. Somehow Beatty and Dunaway had been given the wrong one.
Horowitz said “guys in headsets starting buzzing around” as the La La Land producers accepted the award.
“They took the envelope I had,” he said. “It said ‘Emma Stone in La La Land’ on it. It was clear there was something wrong.
“They started looking for the best picture envelope. Nobody knew where it was. Then it appeared. They opened it next to me and it said Moonlight and so I grabbed it. I had to fix the situation.”
He later said he wasn’t angry and wasn’t expecting an apology from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
“Hey, I won the Oscar for best picture. I got to thank my wife and kids. And then I got to present the Oscar for best picture! Not many people can say that,” Horowitz told CNN early on Monday morning after a night of celebrating. Warren Beatty seems to be opening an envelope that says ‘Actress in a Leading Role’. He must have been handed the wrong one somehow. Yikes. pic.twitter苏州夜网/Rma4wp80aX— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) February 27, 2017
In the end – after an unforgettable moment of live television watched around the world – Moonlight had won three Oscars and partly rebutted the #OscarsSoWhite controversies of the past two years.
Not only did a drama about growing up black and gay in America win best picture but Jenkins, Moonlight’s African-American writer-director, won best adapted screenplay and Mahershala Ali, a Muslim who played a drug dealer in the film, won best supporting actor. Thank you, Barry. Congratulations and much love. ❤ https://t苏州夜生活/BSwk9T6Si4— Jordan Horowitz (@jehorowitz) February 27, 2017
Viola Davis also won best supporting actress for playing the resilient wife of a former baseball star in Fences. “I became an artist and thank God I did because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life,” she said.
Hot favourite for best picture, the musical La La Land, won six Oscars – best director for Damien Chazelle plus best actress, cinematography, production design, score and original song for City of Stars.
Mel Gibson’s n war-hero drama Hacksaw Ridge won two Oscars – best editing and sound mixing.
Editor John Gilbert thanked Gibson, saying: “You’re a great director and I hope there’s plenty more where this came from.”
At a political awards that featured repeated references to the US government’s controversial policies on immigration and proposed wall with Mexico, Oscars history was made in other ways.
Boycotting Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman won best foreign language film – his second win in the category in five years – beating n film Tanna.
In a statement read from the stage, Farhadi slammed the Trump government’s proposed travel ban affecting seven largely Muslim countries.
“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 US,” he said. “Dividing the world into the ‘us’ and ‘our enemies’ categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war.”
At 32, Chazelle became the youngest winner of the best director Oscar for La La Land. He thanked composer Justin Hurwitz, a friend since he was 17 years old, who won Oscars for best score and best song.
Even younger at 28, Emma Stone won best actress for playing a budding actress in La La Land. She thanked Chazell for the opportunity to be involved in a “so-special and once-in-a-lifetime” project, and co-star Ryan Gosling for “for being the greatest partner on this greatest adventure”.
But those moments were overshadowed by the chaotic finale to the Oscars.
Kimmel looked shellshocked as he signed off as host.
“Well I don’t know what happened,” he said. “I blame myself for this. 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.”
Extra speeches, yes. And the biggest fiasco in Oscars history.