In a hugely embarrassing upset, Oscars announce incorrect winner of Best Picture...
Did M. Night Shamaylan write the script for the Oscars?? It's a question on many people's minds as the 89th Academy Awards ended last night with a truly shocking and embarrassing twist.
The final award of the night, the Best Picture award, was always a two-horse race between Damien Chazelle's La La Land and Barry Jenkins' Moonlight - though most assumed that La La Land, which was nominated for an incredible 14 awards last night, would walk away with the gong.
However, as both films explore, both life and art are often far more complicated than that.
In a moment that will go down in infamy, presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope for the biggest award of the night. The Bonnie and Clyde actors opened the award together and Beatty seemed to look at the envelope, pause, and give Dunaway a quizzical look. The actress clearly didn't register the source of his confusion and cheerfully announced that La La Land had won the biggest award of the night.
Amid joyful applause, Damien Chazelle and La La Land's producers went onstage to accept the Oscar. The acceptance speeches were already underway when an Academy member came onstage and started whispering to the actors and filmmakers, as producers Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt and Fred Berger all thanked their families. As shocked whispering and talking began rippling onstage, it was left to La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz to take the microphone again and explain the mistake.
"I'm sorry, no. There's a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won Best Picture. This is not a joke. They read the wrong thing," Horowitz announced, inducing gasps and mutters of confusion in the audience. "This is not a joke. Moonlight has won Best Picture." Horowitz then held aloft the correct envelope to the camera, which clearly stated 'Moonlight.'
The cast of La La Land seemed understandably confused and embarrassed, as Moonlight director Barry Jenkins and star Maharshala Ali embraced, and the crew made their way to the stage, looking bemused but happy. Beatty tried to explain that the envelope he had opened had said 'Emma Stone, La La Land', which is why he had paused.
The Oscar was finally handed back over to Moonlight as the audience was divided between looking confused and shocked, and jumping to their feet to applaud.
Barry Jenkins took the microphone, and nodded to the La La Land crew, saying "We've been on the road with these guys for so long, and that was so gracious and generous of them. My love to La La Land, my love to them."
Moonlight producer Adele Romanski, clearly shell-shocked, dedicated the film to individuals like the ones represented in the films, saying, "I hope it's inspiring to little Black boys and little brown girls and other people at home who feel marginalised and who take some inspiration from seeing this beautiful group of artists, helmed by my friend Barry Jenkins."
As the night ended and the Moonlight crew celebrated their victory, the cast and crew of La La Land could be seen talking in the aisles, clearly trying to process what had just happened.
Price Waterhouse Cooper has released an official statement, saying, "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."
Even for the Oscars, it was an absurdly dramatic finish to an otherwise tame night. Forget The Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects - Hollywood has a new iconic twist ending.