Moonlight wins Best Picture after La La Land is mistakenly announced
A slightly uncomfortable moment of confusion lead to an unprecedented upset: Moonlight was the real winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, not La La Land.
The emotional, sensational drama film defeated the expected musical victor, but that's not what was originally announced. Seasoned actors Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty took the stage to present what many view as the award of the evening, and the audience erupted into cheers when Dunaway read La La Land as the Best Picture winner.
Events proceeded, if only for a few moments, as normal: professional film companies, entertainment journalists, and even fans all took to social media to proclaim the Damien Chazelle-directed film as victorious, and the La La Land production team climbed the stairs to claim their gilded statuettes.
However, things quickly turned to chaos when Beatty returned to the stage to announce that a mistake was made, that Moonlight was the real winner of Best Picture. To a shell-shocked crowd, Beatty explained that the unfortunate mix-up was down to a misread of the winner's card.
"I opened the envelope and it said 'Emma Stone, La La Land,'" Warren stated. "That's why I looked at Faye, and at you. I wasn't trying to be funny… That's why I looked at Faye for a really long time."
Stone had received the Oscar for Best Actress in the minutes before Best Picture was announced.
In apparent attempts to lighten the mood, host Jimmy Kimmel chimed in with a joke: "Warren, what did you do?!" Beatty seemed noticeably distraught, even mentioning that he "knew [he] would screw this show up."
In the moments that followed, the internet exploded in a frenzy of stunned statements, questioning what exactly went wrong. However, amidst the mania, the La La Land team handled the situation with a visible charm and calmness, graciously passing the award to the rightful winner.
Oddly enough, The Huffington Post recently spoke with Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, who oversee the Academy Awards' counting procedures, and the hypothetical of a presenter announcing the wrong winner came up. The pair said the "exact procedure" to solve a false win declaration is "unknown because no mistake of that kind has been made in the Oscars' 88-year history." Talk about ironic.
This has proven to be a historic evening, indeed. At the end of this momentous ceremony, it was Barry Jenkins' coming-of-age film about the complexities of race, sexuality, poverty, and identity that shone the brightest, beating out some incredibly strong frontrunners—not the least of which include the seconds-long almost-winner, La La Land.
Check out the complete list of 2017 Oscar winners.