UPDATE: The Academy has issued an official statement on the mix-up, per Variety.
The 2017 Academy Awards ended on a rather awkward note tonight, as La La Land was announced as the winner of the Best Picture award… only for it to be revealed that Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight was the real winner. The mix-up appears to have been the result of the wrong envelope being handed to presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty – specifically, the envelope for Best Lead Actress, which Emma Stone had won shortly prior to the Best Picture announcement.
The confusion was cleared up shortly afterward, though unfortunately not before the filmmakers behind La La Land had already gathered on stage to collect their award. La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz made the announcement that Moonlight was the real winner. Check out footage of the moment below:
Co-written and directed by Barry Jenkins, Moonlight is a coming of age story showing a young black man in three stages of his life, and is based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s stage play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue. Supporting actor Mahershala Ali won an Academy Award for his performance in the film earlier in the evening, and Moonlight also won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. It was nominated for a total of eight awards, and also won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Drama earlier this year.
Here is Barry Jenkins and producer Adele Romanski’s acceptance speech in full (transcript via Esquire):
Jenkins: Very clearly, very clearly, even in my dreams, this could not be true. But to hell with dreams, I’m done with it, because this is true. Oh, my goodness. And I have to say—and it is true, it’s not fake. We’ve been on the road with these guys for so long and that was so great and so generous of them. My love to La La Land, my love to everybody. Man.
Romanski: Thank you to the… I don’t know what to say. That was really… I’m not… I’m still not sure this is real, but thank you to the academy and it is so humbling to be standing up here with hopefully still the—OK, no, they’re gone. But it’s very humbling to be up here and I think, I hope even more than that it’s inspiring to people, little black boys and brown girls and other folks watching at home who feel marginalized and who take some inspiration from seeing this beautiful group of artists held by this amazing talent, Barry Jenkins, accepting this top honor. Thank you.
Jenkins: 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. Everybody behind me on this stage said, no, that is not acceptable. I want to thank everybody up here behind me. Everybody out there in this room. We didn’t do this. You guys chose us. Thank you for the choice. I appreciate it. Much love.
In the Best Picture category, Moonlight was up against eight other nominees: La La Land, Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Manchester By the Sea, Hidden Figures, Fences, and Lion. La La Land was widely predicted to win Best Picture, with Moonlight following as a close second, so this win isn’t too much of a surprise amid an awards ceremony with very few upsets. Of course, because of the way things played out, people are likely to be talking about this win for quite some time.
Though it may not have won Best Picture, La La Land did very well at the Oscars this year, taking home six awards out of its total 14 nominations, including a Best Director award for Damien Chazelle.