“Is that the craziest Oscar moment of all time?” Emma Stone, winner for best actress, asked backstage. “We made history tonight.”
But what exactly happened that led to that now-infamous moment where “La La Land” was mistakenly announced as best picture at the Academy Awards?
Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty — on hand to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Bonnie and Clyde” — presented the nominees for best picture. On stage, Beatty was given the task of opening the envelope that was supposed to contain the winner. (Later, Beatty would say it contained the name of a winner, but not the winner.)
On stage, Beatty looked at the card and said, “And the Academy Award…”
The crowd laughed, assuming he was building suspense.
He looked down at the card again and then looked at Dunaway.
“…for best picture…”
Dunaway playfully told Beatty, “You’re impossible.” She assumed he was joking around.
“Come on,” she prompted him.
He showed her the card, and Dunaway read it aloud.
“‘La La Land,'” she said.
“La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz was the first to speak. Producer Marc Platt followed.
As Platt spoke, viewers at home saw someone run across the stage behind him.
From the crowd, “Moonlight” star Mahershala Ali, a winner for best supporting actor, noticed the activity.
“When I did see security or people coming out on stage, and their moment was being disrupted in some way, I got really worried,” he told press backstage.
Jenkins wasn’t surprised by the initial result.
“I think all the movies that were nominated were worthy so I took the result,” he said backstage. “I applauded like everyone else.”
On stage, “La La Land” producers were approached by a man wearing a headset and holding an envelope.
Platt called producer Fred Berger to the mic next. As Berger began speaking, Beatty started heading to the mic, but Berger beat him to the announcement.
“We lost, by the way, but, you know…” he said.
Horowitz clarified: “I’m sorry, there’s a mistake. ‘Moonlight,’ you guys won best picture.”
“This is not a joke,” he said, gesturing to the “Moonlight” cast and producers and inviting them to stage.
Platt added: “This is not a joke. They read the wrong thing.”
Jimmy Kimmel then hopped on stage and attempted to clear the air.
“I think you all should just keep it anyway,” he joked.
Off stage, the “Moonlight” crew celebrated. Director Barry Jenkins covered his mouth in shock.
“It threw me more than a bit,” Ali said. “I didn’t want to go up there and take anything from somebody. It’s very hard to feel joy in a moment like that.”
As the “Moonlight” cast and creators headed to the stage, Kimmel said, “This is very unfortunate what happened.”
“Personally, I blame Steve Harvey for this,” Kimmel said, referring to the TV host’s infamous Miss Universe gaffe.
“I’m going to be very proud to hand this to my friends from ‘Moonlight,'” Horowitz interjected.
Beatty attempted to explain himself further.
“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 [the audience]. I wasn’t trying to be funny.”
Photos later confirmed that Beatty and Dunaway were accidentally handed the envelop containing the winner for best actress in a leading role.
Stone told press she was confused because she had the card announcing her win with in her possession “the entire time.”
Two accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) — the firm responsible for tabulating the results and keeping them confidential — prepare two briefcases with the envelopes used by presenters.
The pair stand backstage and hand envelopes to award presenters before they walk onstage. It was a breakdown in the final stage of this process that led Dunaway to announce “La La Land” as the winner
Behind Beatty, the two casts traded spots.
“This is ‘Moonlight,’ the best picture,” Beatty said.
Matt Damon whistled from the audience.
Taraji P. Henson was shown with her mouth wide open in the crowd.
“Very clearly, even in my dreams this could not be true,” Jenkins said. “But to hell with dreams. I’m done with it because this is true.”
Jenkins also offered a thanks to the “La La Land” team.
“I have to say, and it is true, it’s not fake: We’ve been on the road with these guys for so long. And that was so gracious and so generous of them,” he said. “My love to ‘La La Land.'”
“Moonlight” producer Adele Romanski summed up: “Thank you to the Academy. I don’t know what to say. I’m still not sure this is real.”
Romanski said she hoped the movie’s win was “inspiring to people, little black boys and brown girls, and other folks watching at home who feel marginalized.”
She hoped they took “some inspiration from seeing this beautiful group of artists…standing up here on this stage accepting this top honor.”
(Credit to CNN)