Each year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences strive to create a memorable night where some kind of history is made. But Sunday’s event is likely one they Academy hopes many will soon forget.
Faye Dunaway announced La La Land the winner of best picture, only to find out she was quite wrong. And it wasn’t until after the producers of the critically acclaimed musical gave their speeches the truth was revealed – the best picture winner was not La La Land, but instead the Barry Jenkins drama Moonlight.
The final award capped a night that went a little past three-and-a-half hours, and still celebrated six Oscar wins from La La Land. Yet, it’s the flub made by Dunaway and her former Bonnie and Clyde co-star Warren Beatty that everyone is going to remember.
So what happened?
Beatty said later the name in the envelope was Emma Stone for La La Land. But that was the envelope for best actress, which Stone already had won. Stone later said she was given her envelope the same time she received her Oscar, and there’s no way it could have ended up in Beatty’s hands.
Except PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accountants who tally votes and are really the only ones who know the winners ahead of time, make two sets of envelopes, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That way, no matter which side of the stage presenters enter, there is someone from the company ready to hand an envelope containing the name of the winner.
It seems Beatty and Dunaway entered the stage on the opposite side of Leonardo DiCaprio, who awarded Stone with her Oscar. That means he was handed one copy of the awards envelope, and somehow Beatty was given the other copy.
That’s how the accountants explained the mishap in a statement to the trade publication not long after Sunday’s ceremony.
“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 error occurred.”
The ceremony got off on a solid foot, however, with Jimmy Kimmel as its host. While he may have hosted other awards ceremonies like the Emmys in the past, this was the first time Kimmel – the host of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live late-night show – was given a chance to handle the movie side of Hollywood’s most prestigious awards.
After singer Justin Timberlake performed an Oscar-nominated song from Trolls, Kimmel delivered a monologue that poked fun at Hollywood, and ribbed the Donald Trump administration a little, too.
“The country is divided right now. It’s time to bring everyone together, and people said, ‘You need to say something to unite us.’ Let’s get something straight off the top: I can’t do that. There is only one Braveheart, and he’s not going to unite us either.”
Kimmel offered to go first in setting a good example by burying the hatchet with Matt Damon, the actor he’s had a comic “feud” with for many years through his late-night show.
“I’ve known Matt for a long time now. When I first met Matt, I was the fat one. True, we’ve had problems. He’s a selfish person – those of you who work with him know this. But Matt did something unselfish. Matt could have starred in Manchester by the Sea. He was a producer of it, and it was nominated for six Oscars, and he could’ve taken the lead actor part.
“He gave it to Casey Affleck. An Oscar-caliber role. And made a Chinese ponytail movie instead.
“And that movie, The Great Wall, went on to lose $80 million. Smooth move, dumbass.”
The Great Wall has stumbled in the domestic box office, according to The Numbers, earning just $34.4 million in two weekends. However, the movie was a big hit in China, leading to a $265.6 million international take, bringing its global cume to just over $300 million.
Kimmel kept many gags to a minimum, although twice he had food parachuted into the audience. He also surprised a number of fans taking a Hollywood tour bus by bringing them straight into the live ceremony, where they interacted with many of the celebrities in the front row, including Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep.
And speaking of Streep, Kimmel poked fun at Trump’s claims the actress was overrated, joking that Streep has just “phoned it in for more than 50 films over the course of a lackluster career.” He then asked her to stand up for an “undeserved round of applause,” which actually earned her a standing ovation from her peers.
“Nice dress by the way,” Kimmel said to Streep. “Is that an Ivanka?”
The Damon feud bit did continue into the original screenplay category when Damon joined Ben Affleck – his co-writer for Good Will Hunting which won the Oscar for original screenplay in 1998. The two were introduced onto stage as “Ben Affleck and guest,” and when Damon started to speak, the orchestra started up, as if signaling for Damon it was time to get off the stage.
“Why are you playing me off? I’m a presenter.”
The orchestra was then shown with Kimmel as the director.
Mel Gibson marked his return to the Hollywood spotlight after more than a decade, but lost the directing Oscar to Damien Chazelle for La La Land. Talking to Michael Strahan on the red carpet before the ceremony, Gibson noted he didn’t expect to win for Hacksaw Ridge and didn’t consider his invitation to the ceremony as a “comeback.”
“You know, to me, it’s very flattering. It’s my peers recognizing a piece of work, and the nomination is the win as far as I’m concerned. I’ll clap for whoever gets it.”
Gibson was last nominated for Braveheart in 1996, which won not just for best director, but also for best picture. The nomination has come with some controversy, especially with past controversies that include anti-semitic and racist remarks.
Hacksaw Ridge did win two Oscars, however – in technical categories for film editing and sound mixing.
The full list of Oscar winners Sunday night:
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Emma Stone, La La Land
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Viola Davis, Fences
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight
Linus Sandgren, La La Land
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Colleen Atwood, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
BEST SOUND MIXING
Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie, Peter Grace, Hacksaw Ridge
BEST FILM EDITING
John Gilbert, Hacksaw Ridge
BEST SOUND EDITING
Sylvain Bellemare, Arrival
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, Dan Lemmon, The Jungle Book
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini, Christopher Allen Nelson, Suicide Squad
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, “City of Stars,” La La Land
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Justin Hurwitz, La La Land
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Alan Barillaro, Marc Sondheimer, Piper
BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM
Kristof Deak, Anna Udvardy, Sing
BEST DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)
Orlando von Einseidel, Joanna Natasegara, The White Helmets
BEST DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)
Ezra Edelman, Caroline Waterlow, O.J.: Made in America
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The Salesman, Iran
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Clark Spencer, Zootopia
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, La La Land
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