(WB) After the biggest mistake in Academy Awards history “Moonlight” won Best Picture, making it the first LGBT film to win the category, after a surprise mix-up that initially gave its awards show rival “La La Land” the honor.
Presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, who were reunited on stage in honor of the 50th anniversary of their film “Bonnie and Clyde,” announced the winner at the end of the more than three-hour long ceremony. Beatty opened the envelope and after checking the envelope twice, causing the crowd to chuckle, handed it over to Dunaway who announced “La La Land.”
While the cast and crew of “La La Land’ began giving their acceptance speeches, a stage hand could be seen running out to check the envelopes. “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz then took the correct piece of paper from Beatty’s hands and declared to the “Moonlight” cast, “You guys won Best Picture. This is not a joke.”
Beatty explained to the crowd that when he double-checked the envelope he wasn’t trying to be funny but was confused when he saw Emma Stone and “La La Land” written on the paper.
“I blame myself,” Jimmy Kimmel, who hosted the 89th annual Academy Awards, joked to the crowd.
“Very clearly, very clearly, even in my dreams, this could not be true,” Jenkins said after the “La La Land” team left the stage and “Moonlight” finally received its recognition. “‘But to hell with dreams, I’m done with it, because this is true.”
U.K.-based accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has handled the Oscars’ ballot-counting for 83 years and manages “all aspects” of the voting process, apologized in a statement, CNN reports.
“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 statement reads. “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.”
“Moonlight” already had a decent winning streak from earlier in the night. Barry Jenkins received Best Adapted Screenplay along with Tarell Alvin McCraney, who penned the screenplay “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” for which the film’s script was based. Mahershala Ali also won Best Supporting Actor for his role as Juan making him the first Muslim actor to win an Academy Award.
Other big winners of the night included Best Actor for Casey Affleck’s role in “Manchester by the Sea,” who beat out Ryan Gosling for “La La Land.” Gosling’s co-star Emma Stone took home a golden statue instead for Best Actress. Damien Chazelle also won Best Director for “La La Land” making him the youngest director to win the award at age 32.
Iranian film “The Salesman” won for Best Foreign Film but its director Asghar Farhadi was not present at the ceremony. Farhadi’s opted out of appearing at the show in protest of President Donald Trump’s immigration ban.
- Mariah Cooper, Washington Blade courtesy of the National LGBTQ Media Association