February 27, 2017
Actor Warren Beatty admitted he hesitated before handing over the envelope to his "Bonnie and Clyde" co-star Faye Dunaway Sunday night at the 89th Academy Awards in Los Angeles.
Dunaway and Beatty mistakenly awarded best picture to "La La Land." Dunaway read from a card that had previously been announced that night, awarding best actress to Emma Stone for her role in "La La Land." The real winner for best picture went to "Moonlight."
With a good complement of the cast and crew of "La La Land" joyfully taking the stage to accept their Oscars, producers for the film began thanking their friends, family and staff, before men with headsets came on stage and started snatching the envelope away from Dunaway and Beatty's hands in an effort to quickly correct the error.
Second later, a producer for "La La Land" grabbed the mic and said, "'I'm sorry! There's been a mistake. 'Moonlight' – you guys won best picture. This is not a joke." The audience erupted in applause. Stone's face drops.
"I want to tell you what happened," a flustered Beatty says into the microphone.
"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. This is 'Moonlight.' The best picture."
Stone won best actress for her portrayal of a love-struck lady in "La La Land," and Casey Affleck won best actor for his portrayal of a grieving handyman in "Manchester by the Sea." Altogether, "La La Land" took home six Oscars.
After the bungled award-announcement was quickly sorted, Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel turned to the camera and joked, "I knew I would screw this show up."
"Moonlight" is a coming-of-age drama about a poor, gay black man growing up in the ghetto and learning how to fend off bullies while discovering himself.
Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), the firm that tallies the Oscar votes, took responsibility for the mistake late Sunday night.
"We sincerely apologize to 'Moonlight,' 'La La Land,' Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and the 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, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation."The Associated Press contributed to this report.