Valley will take you inside Hollywood’s most shocking Oscar night in Academy Award history.
It was the moment everyone was waiting for. The audience and viewers around the world watch with bated breath as Warren Beatty fumbled with the envelope containing the Academy Award winner for Best Picture. Everyone clung to his every elongated word.
“And the Academy Award… for Best Picture..,” Beatty said, in what felt like an eternity.
Beatty’s presenting partner and Bonnie and Clyde costar Faye Dunaway, presumably frustrated with anticipation, grabbed the envelope and announced, “La La Land.”
The crowd cheered as the cast and crew of La La Land made their way to the stage. During their acceptance speeches, a bit of commotion began to occur. Suddenly, La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz took to the microphone and said, “I’m sorry, there’s a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won Best Picture.”
For a moment, the air in the Dolby Theatre was still as everyone tried to comprehend what Horowitz just said.
“This is not a joke,” he clarifies. “Moonlight has won Best Picture.” Horowitz then held up the card that proved that Moonlight did, in fact, win.
“I’m going to be really proud to hand this over to my friends from Moonlight,” Horowitz says, in a moment of gracious sportsmanship.
Beatty then returned to the microphone to explain his error. “I opened the envelope,” he said, “It said, ‘Emma Stone: La La Land’. That’s why I took such a long look at Faye and at you. I wasn’t trying to be funny.”
La La Land’s leading lady and winner of Best Actress in a Leading Role Emma Stone responded to press questions moments after the incident. “I f**king love Moonlight,” she said. “Of course, it was an amazing thing to hear La La Land. I think we all would have loved to win Best Picture, but we are so excited for Moonlight. It’s one of the best films of all time.”
Then, controversially, Stone declared that the envelope with her winning card stating she had won Best Actress in a Leading Role was in her hands throughout the duration of the incident. “I also was holding my Best Actress in a Leading Role card the entire time,” she said. “I don’t mean to start stuff, but whatever story that was, I had that card. So, I’m not sure what happened. Congratulations, Moonlight.”
The Hollywood Reporter speculated a possible explanation for the now infamous mix-up, stating that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) created two sets of identical winning envelopes and cards, which would explain how Emma Stone could have been holding her winning card while another was in the hands of Warren Beatty.
As PwC said in a statement to CNN, “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 cast and crew of Moonlight graciously accepted their award, despite all of the chaos and confusion.
Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain took to Twitter to express her sadness that the cast and crew of Moonlight had been robbed of what should have been a moment of joyous accomplishment. “I’m also very sad for the Moonlight crew,” she wrote. “I wish that they had the full experience of winning best pic without the awkwardness of it all.”
All in all, the night ended with a moment of hectic confusion that won’t soon be forgotten. However, what really shone through was the admiration and support that the cast and crew members of both films had for one another.