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Oscar Night Shocker: Envelope Error Moonlight Wins Best Picture Stunning La La Land Filmmakers Already on Stage (Video)

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The 89th Academy Awards will be remembered for many reasons none more so than the historic Best Picture gaff, the Academy's final award of the evening, that was incorrectly announced by presenters Warren Beatty and Fay Dunaway.


La La Land, with a record 14 nominations was heavily favored to sweep the entertainment industry annual awards, and with the film's director Damien Chazelle just winning the Best Director award, a Best Picture win seemed inevitable.

The Best Picture Announcement can be seen in its entirety here: 2017 Best Picture Announcement

If nothing else the academy voters over the past five years have proven they are willing to share the wealth, not look over record setting critical and commercial achievement award and at the end of the day gravitate toward the dramatic.

Moonlight, chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adult as he struggles against the traps of society, including a drug addicted mother, absentee father, poverty, and other social illnesses, had already garnered a Best Supporting Actor award for Mahershala Ali, the films lead actor.

With the cast and crew of La La Land on the stage beginning their speeches, the representatives from the accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers, Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan, the only two individuals in the world who knew pre-show the winners went into overdrive mode, as they were waiting backstage monitoring the authenticity of the awards, to correct the unbeknownst to the world, presenters or attendees the mistake.

Price Waterhouse Coopers representative, one of the world's top five accounting firms, issued a statement of apology and regret.

"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."

The reaction was surreal, with recently awarded La La Land Best Actress, Emma Stone mouthing the words "Oh my God," her La La Land co-star, Ryan Gosling also on stage looking bemused and happy, to the presenters momentarily stunned and in somewhat of a daze, and finally as it sunk in the cast and crew of Moonlight who were the actual academy award winner for Best Picture.

The Best Picture speeches began with La La Land's Marc Platt thanking "the fools that dream." Midway through his speech he is handed the correct winner card. Fred Berger, also Producer of La La Land, shakes his head "no" and foes to the microphone, also sending his thanks and support and waiting until the end he says, "There's been a mistake." To which Jordan Horowitz, another producer for La La Land says, "Guys, guys, I'm sorry, no, there's a mistake. "Moonlight," you guys won Best Picture.

The three continue to explain to a stunned Moonlight cast and crew that they really did win. A quick thinking Jimmy Kimmel, who actually did quite well, and could possibly be asked to return, intervened in the awkwardness and with his own brand of humor and congeniality took control. Below are the transcripts which finally bring the rightful winners of Best Picture to the stage.

I'm going to be really proud to hand this to my friends from "Moonlight."

That's nice of you, that's very nice.

Hello, hello. I want…

Warren, what did you do?!

I want to tell you what happened. I opened the envelope and it said: Emma Stone, "La La Land." That's why I took such a long look at Faye and at you. I wasn't trying to be funny.

Well, you were funny.

Thank you very much. This is "Moonlight," the Best Picture.

Thank you.

Very clearly, very clearly, even in my dreams, this could not be true. But to hell with dreams, I'm done with it, 'cause this is true. Oh my goodness.

Thank you, thank you.

And I have to say and it is true, it's not fake. We've been on the road with these guys for so long and that was so gracious, so generous of them. My love to "La La Land," my love to everybody. Man.

Thank you to the Academy. I don't know what to say. That was really... I'm not sure… I'm still not sure this is real. But thank you to the Academy. It is so humbling to be standing up here with hopefully still the "La La" crew, no, okay, they're gone. But it's very humbling to be up here. And I think, I hope even more than that, that it's inspiring to people, little black boys and brown girls and other folks watching at home who feel marginalized and who take some inspiration from seeing this beautiful group of artists helmed by this amazing talent, my friend Barry Jenkins, standing up here on this stage accepting this top honor. Thank you.

There was a time when I thought this movie was impossible because I couldn't bring it to fruition, I couldn't bring myself to tell another story. And so everybody behind me on this stage said, "no, that is not acceptable." So I just want to thank everybody up here behind me, everybody out there in that room, because we didn't do this, you guys chose us. Thank you for the choice. I appreciate it. Much love.

Good night. Thank you so much.

Well, I don't know what happened. I blame myself for this. Let's remember, it's just an awards show. I mean, we hate to see people disappointed but the good news is, we got to see some extra speeches. We had some great movies. I knew I would screw this show up, I really did. Thank you for watching. I'm back to work tomorrow night at my regular show. I promise I'll never come back. Good night.

Transcripts provided by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences

Video courtesy of ABC and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences.


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