Image: Los Angeles Times
The biggest awards ceremony mistake in recent memory happened at the Oscars yesterday when the wrong film was initially announced as the Best Picture winner.
Gasps could be heard through the room when La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz walked up to the microphone and told the crowd “Guys, I’m sorry, no. There’s been a mistake – Moonlight, you guys won Best Picture.”
The camera was trained on the stage throughout the broadcast’s dramatic moment, but a photo of the Academy Awards audience in the seconds after the mistake was realised was published by the Los Angeles Times. Michelle Williams, Meryl Streep, Dwayne Johnson and Matt Damon are among those showing expressions of disbelief as the debacle unfolded on live television.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) February 27, 2017
The mix-up was incredibly awkward for everyone involved; no doubt crushing for the La Land Team who had just been delivering their acceptance speeches, and a tarnish on the moment for the Moonlight crew, whose well-deserved moment in the spotlight was overshadowed by the chaos and confusion.
Speaking to The Washington Post the next day, Horowitz, who was widely praised for his handling of the situation, continued to try to give Moonlight its moment.
“I want to make sure that we’re all talking about the fact that a $1.5 million picture about gay black youth in America won best picture at the Academy Awards. That’s a pretty sensational thing.”
PwC, the accountancy firm that handles the balloting process for the Oscars, including the envelopes, released a statement saying that presenter Warren Beatty was given the wrong envelope, and said the stuff-up would be investigated.
Moonlight was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won three: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali. Ali is the first Muslim to be awarded an Oscar.