The 89th Academy Awards made history last night and not in the way you might expect. Of course, there were plenty of political jokes, commentary, and hijinks, including a moment when Jimmy Kimmel tweeted President Trump. The whole night, Kimmel made sure to make things uncomfortable and weird, too, like bringing in a real Hollywood tourist group to take pictures of all the celebrities and dropping food from the ceiling attached to parachutes. However, in one epic, awkward, and gut-wrenching twist that Kimmel couldn’t have dreamed up, the Academy Award for Best Picture was given to the wrong movie.
Here’s how everything went down. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, looking like two drunk wedding crashers, presented the nominees for Best Picture. When Warren Beatty opened the envelope and read the winner, he looked puzzled, smiled, and didn’t say anything, keeping the audience in suspense. He looked over at Faye Dunaway and handed her the envelope. She read the name and immediately said, “La La Land.” Everyone cheered and all the winners of La La Land came up to the stage.
Just as they were making their speeches, Justin Horowitz, the producer of La La Land, gets word that they read the wrong card and he immediately interjects. “Sorry, guys, hold on. There’s a mistake. Moonlight. You won Best Picture. This is not a joke,” he said, holding the Oscar over to them. Ouch.
It was one of those sickening, bitter-sweet moments that I’m sure everyone on stage wasn’t sure how to handle in the moment, but Jimmy Kimmel and the cast of La La Land handled it with class, charm, and a lot of grace.
The mix-up occurred when Warren Beatty was given the wrong envelope from PriceWaterhouseCoopers, a prestigious accounting firm out of London that handles the security of the envelopes. As a precaution, they make duplicates of the envelopes. Warren Beatty took the Best Actress in a Leading Role envelope instead of Best Picture. PriceWaterhouseCoopers deeply apologized for the flub and is investigating.
After the ruckus died down, Kimmel ended up the show with this. “Well, I don’t know what happened; I blame myself for this,” he said. “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 had 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 at my regular show. I promise I’ll never come back. Good night.”