'Moonlight' hogs limelight on Oscar night

Announcement mix-up steals thunder of show
Report by: 
Los Angeles
27 Feb 2017

Barry Jenkins' coming-of-age drama "Moonlight" walked away with the top award at the Oscars but its thunder was stolen by a bizarre announcement mix-up that initially declared "La La Land" as the best picture winner.

The final moment of the 89th Academy Award ceremony was full of confusion as Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced "La La Land" as the winner because they had the wrong envelope. The producers of "La La Land" were almost through their acceptance speech when the error was detected and Jordon Horowitz, one of the producers, graciously called the team of "Moonlight" onstage. "I'm sorry, no, there's a mistake. 'Moonlight,' you guys won best picture. This is not a joke," Horowitz said.

A shocked Jenkins said: "...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." He later told newspersons the incident was unfortunate but he was happy they won the best picture award. Host Jimmy Kimmel also called it "unfortunate" while a flustered Beatty clarified that when he opened the envelope, "it said Emma Stone, La La Land. I wasn't trying to be funny." PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm in charge of tabulating nominations and votes for the Oscars, apologised for the gaffe.

"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, (it) was immediately corrected," the statement read. "Moonlight", Jenkins' second film, was critically loved for its tender portrayal of a young black man grappling with his sexuality while growing up in a rough Miami neighbourhood.