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Chaos at Oscars as presenter gives Best Picture to the wrong film

By AGENCIES February 27th, 2017 2 min read

There was a complete mix-up on the stage on Monday morning during the 89th Academy Awards ceremony in which Faye Dunaway read the wrong winner.

Moonlight won Best Picture after it was thought that La La Land won to walk away with seven wins from its record-tying 14 nominations and producers Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt even gave acceptance speeches before the mistake was discovered.

It was a major upset for the top award of the night.

Moonlight had gathered two awards Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali and Adapted Screenplay and then stepped aside while La La Land racked up six wins, including Director for Damien Chazelle and Best Actress for Emma Stone.

How could this happen? This is the thinking: Price Waterhouse has two envelopes (two copies) for every winner. So when they handed the envelope to presenters they opened that for Emma Stone for Best Actress rather than the envelope for Best Picture.

That’s why Beatty sputtered and was confused wondering what was going on.

This has happened before, back in 1964 when Sammy Davis, Jr. also got the wrong envelope for the two music categories.

It was Horowitz who said, “The winner is Moonlight” to everyone’s surprise. After massive confusion, the Moonlight filmmakers came to the stage.

“To hell with dream because this is true,” said an astonished Barry Jenkins. “My love to La La Land, my love to everyone.”

But this came after Marc Platt, who produced the musical romancer with Horowitz and Fred Berger, said from the stage, “Here’s to the fools who made me dream, and thanked everyone from Sam Cohn to his wife of 40 years, Julie.

“Repression is the enemy of civilization so keep dreaming,” he said thinking he had won his first Oscar.

For Jenkins, it follows up his Indie Spirit Award win for Moonlight. The film was based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.

The film is divided into three chapters in the life of Chiron so three different actors play the lead role separated by 10 years each.

Set in Miami, the picture offers a melancholic portrait of life in the unromantic suburbs as the main character navigates the crack-riddled streets of his neighborhood and struggles with a complex love for his best friend.