A show stopper at the Academy Awards played out before an audience of one-billion people tonight as Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announced the wrong winner for Best Picture, first giving the honor to LA LA Land but then having to shove the cast and crew off the stage for the true winner, Moonlight.
Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” — not, as it turned out, “La La Land” — won best picture. It was an unprecedented drama that saw one winner swapped for another while the “La La Land” producers were in mid-speech.
Hollywood is still scratching it’s collective head.
Presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were apparently given a duplicate of the envelope for best actress winner Emma Stone. When the mistake was realized, representatives from Price Waterhouse Coopers raced onstage to stop the acceptance speech.
One of the PWC representatives was a dead-ringer for Matt Damon and so the audience and those on stage thought for a moment they were being set up by Jimmy Kimmel, the host, who often performs stunts not unlike this fiasco.
From The LA Times:
“As the “La La Land” cast was taking the stage to celebrate, a stagehand in the wings said, “Oh … Oh my god, he got the wrong envelope.” They walked back and forth repeating it.
Stagehands, actors, production crew and journalists were stunned. Oscars producer Michael De Luca was peering into his monitor, trying to figure it out. Champagne glasses sat on the table next to him. They had been poured moments earlier to celebrate a good show.
The academy doesn’t know what went wrong. Stage manager Gary Natoli came running past just now saying, “Warren is holding on to the envelope. He will not release it.”
When host Jimmy Kimmel returned from off stage, De Luca told the show host, “Thanks for covering, man.” And Kimmel responded, “Yeah, but no one is going to remember that now. I don’t know what happened. We will analyze every bit of it.”
Meanwhile John Legend mused, “One wishes it was the right card. One wishes.”
Warren Beatty told The LA Times: “I looked down at the card and thought, ‘This is very strange, because it says best actress.’ Maybe there was a misprint. I don’t know what happened. And that’s all I have to say on the subject.”
Emma Stone, in a presser after the ceremony, was stunned and suggested a conspiracy. “Just saying, and I’m not trying to stir this up, I had my winning in my hand. I didn’t see the envelope they say they read.”
“I think everyone’s in a state of confusion still,” said Stone, later pledging her deep love of “Moonlight” and adding, “Is that the craziest Oscar moment of all time? Cool!”
Unfortunately buried in this story is the truly victorious win by “Moonlight.” A gay coming of age story, directed by Barry Jenkins on a 1 million dollar budget.
“Even in my dreams this cannot be true,” said an astonished Jenkins.
“Very clearly, even in my dreams this could not be true, but to hell with dreams! I’m done with it because this is true. Oh, my goodness. I have to say it is true, it’s not fake. We’ve been on the road with these guys for so long and that was so gracious, so generous of them. My love to “La La Land,” my love to everybody. Man,” said Jenkins.
“It’s almost like the election all over again, except this time it went the right way!” said one person at the Vanity Fair Oscar soiree.
Still, it was an awkward way to celebrate one of the greatest moments a film maker or an actor can experience.