‘Moonlight’ wins Best Picture at Oscars after shock ‘La La Land’ mix-up
In the most shocking mix-up in Oscars history, Moonlight won best picture at the Academy Awards — but only after presenter Faye Dunaway announced La La Land as the winner, setting off mass confusion inside the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.
“I want to tell you what happened,” co-presenter Warren Beatty explainer after the mix-up was revealed. “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, I don’t know what happened. I blame myself for this,” Kimmel joked after the moment. “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 have 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 on my regular show. I promise I’ll never come back. Good night!”
Speaking after the mix-up had been rectified, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins said, “Very clearly, very clearly in my dreams this could not be true. But to hell with my dreams. I’m done with it because this is true. Oh my goodness.”
He added a note of praise to his La La Land opponents, “And I have to say it is true. It’s not fake. We’ve been on the road with these guys for so long. My love to La La Land. My love to everybody. Man.”
In addition to providing the Oscars with its most surprising moment in history, the Moonlight win represented a huge upset as well. Heading into the night, Damien Chazelle’s musical had been expected to win best picture — and paced the field with 14 nominations, tied for the most ever. La La Land enjoyed success throughout the night as well, winning six total awards, including best director for Chazelle and best actress for Emma Stone.
But Moonlight ultimately walked away with the top prize, along with two other honors: best supporting actor for Mahershala Ali and best adapted screenplay for Jenkins and playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney.
Based on McCraney’s play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue and adapted for the screen by him and Jenkins, Moonlight unfolds over three chapters in the life of a young, gay black man growing up in a rough Miami neighborhood.
That character, Chiron, is played by three different actors over the course of the film (Alex R. Hibbert as a young boy, Ashton Sanders as a teen, and Trevante Rhodes as an adult), while the supporting cast includes Oscar nominee Naomie Harris as Chiron’s mother — who descends into drug addiction as the film progresses — and Ali a local dealer who becomes a father figure to the young Chiron.
“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 so everybody behind me on this stage said no, that’s not acceptable,” Jenkins said in accepting the Oscar on Sunday night. “So I just wanna thank everybody up here behind me. Everybody out there in that room because we didn’t do this. You guys chose us. Thank you.”
Moonlight was nominated in the best picture category alongside Arrival, Fences, Hidden Figures, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, La La Land, Lion, and Manchester by the Sea.