La La Land and Moonlight – Who really won Best Picture and What Happened?

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Photo courtesy of AMPAS

If you turned off the television and went to sleep right after the Academy Award for Best Picture was handed out, you maybe surprised to find out that La La Land didn’t win best picture as announced by Faye Dunaway.

As the legendary actors Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announced the nominees for “Best Picture” the camera panned around the nominees.  Warren Beatty then announced “And the Academy Award” – and then  took a long pause after he opened the envelope and read the card. –  “for Best Picture….”. Looking a little puzzled he handed the envelope to Faye Dunaway.  Dunaway then announced “La La Land!”

A big cheer came from the audience as the producers hugged each other and the victory music played.  The group from La La Land came to the stage excited and Jordan Horowitz the producer of the movie started to give a speech thanking everyone associated with the movie and his family.  As the La La Land group smiled and the other producers gave speeches you could see people running around in the background.  A mysterious man came to the stage, behind the group wearing a headset and showed an envelope to Horowitz.

Horowitz then stepped to the side and looked around looking a bit horrified.  As one of the producers, Fred Berger was giving his speech he suddenly announced “We lost by the way”.

Horowitz returned to the microphone and announced “I’m sorry… no there’s been a mistake, Moonlight you guys won best picture”.  He then called Moonlight up to the stage and said “It’s not a joke, I’m afraid they read the wrong thing”.  “This not a joke Moonlight has won best picture”, Horowitz said to the audience and then held the card up as the camera zoomed in on the card.

The cast of Moonlight came to the stage as host Jimmy Kimmel announced “This is very unfortunate that this happened and cracked a joke about Steve Harvey.  Warren Beatty then came to the microphone and explained what happened.

Price Waterhouse put out a press release

                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. We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation.

The producers from Moonlight made their acceptance speech and the rest is Oscar history.  The 89th Academy Awards will be one that people will talk about for a long time.