Members of the Academy, the stars in the room, and the public watching at home were all shocked when it emerged that the most prestigious award of last night’s Oscars, for Best Picture, had been given to the wrong film.
Here’s how ‘Moonlight’ was eventually announced as the winner, how the dramatic end to the award ceremony unfolded, and how social media users reacted:
The Oscars ceremony was coming to a close when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway came on stage to announce the Best Picture of 2017.
But soon after the pair announced that ‘La La Land’ had won, it became clear there was a problem.
A stage director was seen on the podium with a headset, and the cast and crew of the musical, along with Beatty, looked very confused.
‘La La Land’ producer Jordan Horowitz then approached the microphone and revealed that “This is not a joke. Moonlight is Best Picture”. To prove it, Horowitz then held up the result card for all to see.
Confusion then ensued, as the “Moonlight” cast and crew made their way on stage, and host Jimmy Kimmel tried to make amends. Horowitz was seen hugging ‘Moonlight’ director Barry Jenkins.
Moonlight star Mahershala Ali, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, was later pictured with La La Land lead and Best Actress winner Emma Stone. Neither looked particularly perturbed by the evening’s events.
As for the cause of all the confusion, a clue can be seen on the envelope that Warren Beatty was given to read from.
It is clearly marked “Actress in a Leading Role”.
Beatty himself tried to explain that he had paused because he was confused, not to create tension. He said the card read ‘Emma Stone’, rather than the title of either ‘La La Land’ or ‘Moonlight’.
Beatty was seen at the traditional Oscars after party, the Governor’s Ball, still clasping the offending envelope tightly.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, who are responsible for the voting and presentation of the Oscars, said in a statement: “We sincerely apologize 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 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”.
Social media reacts
Of course, social media users were quick to react to the mistake.
Some highlighted the ‘Moonlight’ cast’s reaction:
While others lamented the fact that the drama may take away from the importance of ‘Moonlight’ winning:
What a pity that
Oscars2017_Live</a> Gaff is now more important than fact that MOONLIGHT a black cast / directed movie WON <a href="https://twitter.com/263Chat">263Chat
oxgnpr</a></p>— The CEO Zimbabwe (TheCEOMagZim) February 27, 2017
And now, we have to get all of these headlines about the La La Land mixup instead of Moonlight’s rightful win. What a ruined moment.— guillermo (@willtbh) February 27, 2017
Some celebrities, including Adele, were quick to send their congratulations:
Ah Emma ❤️— Adele (@Adele) February 27, 2017
And Moonlight, congratulations so so wonderful ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/u84R9Lwqce
But most saw the funny side of the night’s mishap:
This whole thing was not Moonlight’s fault. The Jackson 5 were very clear about that.— Ben Davis (@bendavis_86) February 27, 2017
One user saw a similarity between Beatty and Dunaway’s mistake, and that of a certain Friends character:
“Repeat after me…”— Nick Turner (@NicholasGlennT) February 27, 2017
“Take thee Moonlight”
“Take thee La La Land…”#Oscars
Jimmy Kimmel, the award’s host, made fun of the mistake by comparing it to Steve Harvey’s error when announcing the winner of Miss Universe.
And Twitter users soon joined the joke:
Not to be outdone, The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah tweeted this:
And some took the opportunity to compare the mistake with some of the past year’s biggest political events:
Be nice if it turns out that Moonlight won the Referendum and the presidential election too.— David Quantick (@quantick) February 27, 2017
Some political organisations shared their happiness with the winner, along with their shock at the way the result was announced:
moonlightmov</a>. Representation matters (But that whole thing was so weird and we're in shock too). <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Oscars?src=hash">#Oscars</a></p>— ACLU National (ACLU) February 27, 2017
And the calmness and humility of those involved was praised:
The producers of La La Land just showed us what it looks like to take an unexpected loss graciously. Some of you might want to take notes.— John Carney (@carney) February 27, 2017
The Academy did not mention the foul-up on their official Twitter:
And the Oscar goes to… pic.twitter.com/i846CnSDAi— The Academy (@TheAcademy) February 27, 2017
Though some filmmakers who came close to winning the famous golden statue in previous years joked about their possible wins:
Because of tonights horrible Oscar mistake I have retained a lawyer to see if I won for DRIVE.— Albert Brooks (@AlbertBrooks) February 27, 2017
And finally, ‘Moonlight’ director Barry Jenkins tweeted this simple message:
STILL SPEECHLESS pic.twitter.com/qe3NUDWAHM— Barry Jenkins (@BandryBarry) February 27, 2017