The ending shocked even hardened Hollywood veterans. Minutes after “La La Land” was mistakenly announced as the best picture winner at the Oscars, the Oscar went to the cast and crew behind the indie film “Moonlight” — a moment that drew audible gasps and had everyone asking, “What happened?”
PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that tallies the Oscars voting, later apologized, saying in a statement that the presenters were erroneously given the wrong envelope.
Here is the full breakdown of the dramatic best picture mix-up.
9:03 p.m. Pacific time
Presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty take the stage to introduce the best picture nominees.
Beatty opens the envelope, takes out the card and appears to look inside the envelope for another card.
He smiles, pauses and says, “And the Academy Award …” then pauses again. He looks back down at the card before saying, “For best picture …”
“You’re impossible. Come on!” Dunaway says, and Beatty passes the card to her.
She glances at the card and announces, “La La Land”!
After the “La La Land” team members embrace, they head to the stage to accept the biggest award of the night.
“Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins later told reporters backstage, “I think all the movies that were nominated were worthy, so I accepted the results. I applauded like everyone else.”
“I noticed the commotion that was happening, and I thought something strange had occurred,” he said.
“La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz, holding the Oscar and the envelope onstage, begins his acceptance speech.
Behind Horowitz, people begin to realize something is amiss when an Oscars producer walks onstage.
As “La La Land” producer Fred Berger gives his acceptance speech, a crowd is hovering behind him, and “La La Land” star Emma Stone, who won the best actress award moments before, is seen mouthing, “Oh, my God.”
Berger concludes his acceptance speech, turns to the crowd behind him … then turns back to the mic, saying, “We lost, by the way.”
Horowitz adds, “Guys, I’m sorry. No, there’s a mistake. ‘Moonlight,’ you guys won best picture.”
“This is not a joke,” “La La Land” producer Marc Platt says. “I’m afraid they read the wrong thing.”
“This is not a joke,” Horowitz adds. “‘Moonlight’ has won best picture.”
There was an audible collective gasp, then silence.
Horowitz holds the winning best picture envelope that says “Moonlight” and shows the audience. He announces “‘Moonlight,’ best picture,” and the crowd erupts.
“There was a lot of confusion onstage, and at a certain point it was clear that the wrong envelope had been given,” Horowitz told “GMA” exclusively this morning. “Then they kind of showed us the best picture envelope, and it said ‘Moonlight,’ and that’s when I sort of jumped to the mic and made sure everybody knew what was going on.”
He added, “It was like this slow, steady realization that something wasn’t right. It needed to be corrected so we jumped in and did it.”
Horowitz said he held up the envelope because “I think people needed clarity at that moment.”
“This is ‘Moonlight,’ the best picture,” Beatty says, and the audience erupts in applause.