“Is that the craziest Oscar moment of all time?” Emma Stone asked backstage. “We made history tonight.”
But what exactly happened that led to that now-infamous moment where “La La Land” was mistakenly announced as best picture at the Academy Awards?
Here’s how it all went down:
Faye Dunaway, left, and Warren Beatty present the award for best picture, but the exterior on the envelope reads “Actress in a Leading Role.”
Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty — on hand to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Bonnie and Clyde” — presented the nominees for best picture. On stage, Beatty was given the task of opening the envelop that was supposed to contain the winner. (Later, Beatty would say it contained the name of a winner, but not the winner.)
On stage, Beatty looked at the card and said, “And the Academy Award…”
The crowd laughed, assuming he was building suspense.
He looked down at the card again and then looked at Dunaway.
“…for best picture…”
Dunaway playfully told Beatty, “You’re impossible.” She assumed he was joking around.
“Come on,” she prompted him.
He showed her the card, and Dunaway read it aloud.
“‘La La Land,'” she said.
“La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz, stops the show to announce the actual best picture winner as “Moonlight.”
“La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz, center, accepts his award for best picture Faye Dunaway (second from right) and Warren Beatty next to producer Fred Berger
‘La La Land’ has a lovely night…briefly
“La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz was the first to speak. Producer Marc Platt followed. As Platt spoke, viewers at home saw someone run across the stage behind him.
From the crowd, “Moonlight” actor Mahershala Ali, a winner for best supporting actress, noticed the activity. “When I did see security or people coming out on stage, and their moment was being disrupted in some way, I got really worried,” he told press backstage.
Jenkins wasn’t surprised by the initial result. “I think all the movies that were nominated were worthy so I took the result,” he said backstage. “I applauded like everyone else.”
On stage, “La La Land” producers were approached by a man wearing a headset and holding an envelope. Platt called producer Fred Berger to the mic next. As Berger began speaking, Beatty started heading to the mic, but Berger beat him to the announcement.
“We lost, by the way, but, you know,” he said.
Jordan Horowitz, producer of “La La Land,” shows the correct card that says “Moonlight” won best picture.
Horowitz clarified: “I’m sorry, there’s a mistake. ‘Moonlight,’ you guys won best picture.” “This is not a joke,” he said, gesturing to the “Moonlight” cast and producers and inviting them to stage. Platt added “This is not a joke. They read the wrong thing.”
Jimmy Kimmel then hopped on stage and attempted to clear the air. “I think you all should just keep it anyway,” he joked.
Off stage, the “Moonlight” crew celebrated. Director Barry Jenkins covered his mouth in shock. “It threw me more than a bit,” Ali said. “I didn’t want to go up there and take anything from somebody. It’s very hard to feel joy in a moment like that.”
As the “Moonlight” cast and creators headed to the stage, Kimmel said, “This is very unfortunate what happened.”
“Personally, I blame Steve Harvey for this,” Kimmel said, referring to the TV host’s infamous Miss Universe gaffe.
“I’m going to be very proud to hand this to my friends from ‘Moonlight,'” Horowitz interjected.
Beatty attempted to explain himself further. “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 [the audience]. I wasn’t trying to be funny.”