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Oscars 2017: Moonlight wins Best Picture after La La Land’s was mistakenly honored

The award show mix-up of the decade


Moonlight took home the award for Best Picture at the 89th annual Academy Awards, but perhaps the most surprising moment of the night came after beloved actor Warren Beatty called out the name of a different movie instead.

Beatty took a while on stage, playing up a joke done time and time again at the Oscars: prolonging the announcement of the award-winning film. When Beatty called out La La Land, the cast and crew excitedly got up on stage, but in the middle of producer Fred Berger’s speech, another La La Land producer, Jordan Horowitz, revealed that Beatty had called the wrong name. In his explanation, Beatty said that he had been mistakenly handed the card for Best Leading Actress — it said “Emma Stone, La La Land,” an award the actress had just won.

“Even in my dreams this could not be true,” director Barry Jenkins said when he accepted the award from the La La Land team amidst all the confusion. “But to hell with dreams.”

Stone told journalists backstage that she wanted to clear the air on her part about the confusion, confirming she was holding onto her own envelope while Beatty was on stage.

“I was holding my Best Actress envelope the whole time,” Stone said, according to Mashable. “I don't know what story was told but ... wanted to tell you guys first.”

The moment where everyone realized what had happened can be seen in the video below. The “This is not a joke. Moonlight, you guys won Best Picture,” will go down as one of the most memorable moments in Oscars history.

Moonlight, which also won for Best Adapted Screenplay and earned Mahershala Ali the award for Best Supporting Actor, took home three awards in total. La La Land, the movie mistakenly announced as Best Picture, still managed to come out as the top winner of the evening, taking home six awards in total — for Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Original Song, Best Director and Best Actress.

Although La La Land was the clear winner of the night, the film didn’t perform as well as people thought it might. La La Land was nominated for 14 awards, making it one of the most nominated films in history, matching the record of Titanic, but only ended up winning six. Still, the Best Director award for Damien Chezelle — who is the youngest director to win the award in 86 years — marks a historic moment for the film.

Manchester by the Sea, the first Amazon-produced film to be nominated for and win at the Oscars, was also heavily favored to take home Best Picture. It fell short, taking home prizes for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor for Casey Affleck. Affleck beat out competition from Denzel Washington in Fences and Ryan Gosling in La La Land. As far as the night went, it was the least surprising win, with Affleck cleaning up at previous award shows this year, including a Golden Globe and BAFTA award.

Three of the least surprising wins of the night were also some of the most deserved. Viola Davis took home the award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Fences, with Mahershala Ali being honored for his work in Moonlight with the award for Best Supporting Actor. The win for Davis confirms that the actress has an Oscar, Emmy and Tony, meaning she’s only one Grammy away from being awarded the coveted EGOT title. With three nominations and one win, Davis also holds the title for most nominations for a black actress. Davis was previously nominated for her work in The Help in 2011 and Doubt in 2009.

Another unsurprising win came in the form of Best Animation. Zootopia, Disney’s film about inclusion and learning to embrace those who are different than you, was awarded the top prize. The producers took aim at President Trump during their speech, like many before them, adding that they were glad a movie like Zootopia could exist in politically charged times. Zootopia beat out competition from Kubo and the Two Strings, Moana and My Life as a Zucchini. The Jungle Book, another one of Disney’s original films, mixed live-action acting and CGI animals, and therefore couldn’t be nominated for Best Animated Feature. It did, however, take home the award for Best Visual Effects.

Like most Oscar years, there were a few films who were snubbed entirely, including Fences and Hidden Figures, which many thought deserved to win over La La Land for Best Picture. The controversy surrounding La La Land, which is both beloved by many and detested by an equal amount, has made for an interesting award show. You know, besides what may be the greatest mix-up of 2017.

This year’s award show also marked one of the most political, with host Jimmy Kimmel and multiple award recipients using their time to call out Trump and his different executive orders or intentions as inhumane and monstrous on stage. The Salesman won for Best Foreign Picture. Its director, Asghar Farhadi, an Iranian citizen, decided not to attend out of respect for those affected by the immigration ban issued by Trump that focuses on seven majority Muslim countries, but did send ahead a powerful statement.

“My absence is out of respect for the people of my country, and those of the other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the US,” a speech prepared by Farhadi and read by Anousheh Ansari, the first Muslim woman in space, said. “Filmmakers can turn their camera to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes. They can create empathy between us and others, which we need now more than ever.”

Another interesting moment that got a lot of attention early in the evening was when Suicide Squad won an Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini, and Christopher Nelson accepted the award for their work on Jared Leto, Margot Robbie and the rest of the Skwad’s characters. During his speech, Bertolazzi took a moment to declare he was accepting the award on behalf of “all immigrants.”

For those keeping track at home, Suicide Squad has won 100 percent of the Oscar awards it was nominated for. The film beat out Star Trek Beyond and A Man Called Ove to take home the award.

The full list of Oscar award winners can be seen here.

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