There was disaster at the Oscars on Sunday night when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway wrongly announced La La Land as the winner of Best Picture, rather than the triumphant Moonlight.
In a heart-stopping moment, the stars and producers of La La Land were stopped midway through their acceptance speeches and forced to hand their trophies to the stars of Moonlight.
From The Daily Mail
The terrible end to an otherwise triumphant show left the audience gasping in horror as Beatty revealed he had incorrectly read La La Land as the winner.
Beatty blamed the epic mishap on being given the wrong envelope, saying he had seen the name Emma Stone from ‘La La Land’ when he opened his envelope.
‘I want to tell you what happened I opened the envelope and it said Emma Stone, La La Land and that is why I took such a long look at Faye and at you. I wasn’t trying to be funny. This is Moonlight for best picture,’ Beatty told the shocked crowd as he explained the blunder.
Hours after the blunder, accounting firm PwC, formerly Price Waterhouse Coopers, who tally the Oscar results, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued a joint statement to apologize for the biggest Oscar screw up in the ceremony’s history.
The statement said: ‘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.’
An investigation is continuing into how La La Land was wrongly named Best Picture rather than the triumphant Moonlight.
Only two people know the Oscars winners list and supervise the counting procedures – PwC tax adviser Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan an accountant who is the chairman of PwC’s US board.
Just days before the showcase event, they told the Huffington Post that they were unsure of the exact procedure in the event that the wrong actor or film was named as a winner in any given category since such a mistake had never been made in the awards’ 88-year history.
Cullinan and Ruiz each carry a suitcase containing a copy of the winning envelope for all the categories – meaning there are two envelopes for each award.
The pair stand on opposite sides backstage and memorize the winners to avoid having to write them down and have revealed in the past how they carry out rigorous checks to ensure they have stuffed the envelopes correctly.
When Beatty and Dunaway took the stage to announce the Best Picture award, Cullinan and Ruiz realized that they still had two best picture envelopes. The best picture envelope for Moonlight hadn’t yet been opened.
Executives from PwC immediately realized there was a problem, but they were too late to rectify the mistake as Dunaway read out the name La La Land. An official tried to get on stage to immediately afterward.
La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz returned to the microphone after being told about the mix up and said ‘Moonlight won Best Picture’ and insisting that ‘this is not a joke’.
Just seconds before, confusion was etched across Beatty’s face after he opened the envelope. He took a second glance inside the winner’s envelope before showing it to Dunaway who mistakenly thought he was asking her to read out La La Land.
‘It’s one of the strangest things that’s ever happened to me,’ Beatty said backstage. ‘Thank God there were two of us up there,’ Dunaway responded.
The actress then asked Beatty, ‘Who else should I tell?’
‘Everybody,’ he said.
At that point, a security guard tried to take the real envelope and Beatty said, ‘Security is not getting this. I’m giving it to (Moonlight director) Barry Jenkins at a later time.’ Beatty also refused to show it to anyone else.
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