Barry Jenkins’ coming-of-age drama “Moonlight” walked away with the top award at the Oscars but its victory thunder was stolen by a bizarre announcement mix-up that initially declared “La La Land” as the best picture winner.
The final moment of the ceremony was full of confusion as Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced the name of “La La Land”. Apparently, they had the wrong envelope.
The producers of “La La Land” were almost through their acceptance speech when the error was detected and Jordon Horowitz graciously called the team of “Moonlight” to accept the trophy.
“There’s been a mistake. ‘Moonlight’, you guys won. This is not a joke,” Horowitz declared.
A shocked Jenkins said, “Even in my dreams, this cannot be true.” He later told reporters that it was unfortunate that things happened the way they did but he was happy that they won best picture.
Host Jimmy Kimmel also called it “unfortunate” while a flustered Beatty clarified that when he opened the envelope and “it said Emma Stone, La La Land. I wasn’t trying to be funny.”
The small budget “Moonlight”, Jenkins’ second film, was critically loved for its tender portrayal of a young black man grappling with his sexuality while growing in a rough Miami neighbourhood.
Jenkins and McCraney also won the best adapted screenplay while Mahershala Ali walked away with best supporting actor trophy.
“La La Land”, a clear front-runner thanks to its winning momentum award-after-award, entered the race with record 14 nominations out of which it managed to win six in total including its score and theme song ‘City of Stars’.
Its director Damien Chazelle, 32, who has been called a Hollywood ‘wunderkind’ for his visionary style of story-telling, became the youngest director ever to win while film’s leading star, Emma Stone took home the best actress trophy.
“I realize at a moment like this is a huge confluence of luck and opportunity,” Stone said in her speech.
“I want to thank Damien Chazelle for giving me the opportunity to be part of the project that was so special and once in a life time. I am so grateful to be involved in this film and thank you for your patience,” Stone said as she thanked co-star Ryan Gosling and her family.
“I still have a lot of growing and learning and work to do, and this guy is a really beautiful symbol to continue on that journey.”
“Manchester by the Sea” star Casey Affleck, actor Ben Affleck’s younger brother, won the best actor trophy for his portrayal of a grief-struck man.
“Man, I wish I had something better and more meaningful to say… I’m just dumbfounded that I am included,” said Affleck.
It was a close call for the actor as in the final days, he got a lot of negative press for 2010 sexual harassment allegations and many thought Denzel Washington may triumph over Affleck.
Washington may have lost but his “Fences” co-star Viola Davis predictably walked away with a trophy in the best supporting actress category.
In an eloquent speech, Davis, 51, highlighted the importance of telling diverse stories.
“People ask me all the time, ‘What kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola?’ And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost,” Davis said.
She hailed her co-star and director Washington as ‘O Captain! My Captain’ and paid tribute to August Wilson for inspiring the movie with his play.