The Oscars Best Picture mistake at Sunday’s 2017 Academy Awards was a gaffe of historic proportions. The epic flub has led to a lot of confusion about what went down and why, exactly, La La Land was wrongly named the Oscar winner instead of Moonlight. Here, Gossip Cop separates fact from fiction.
FICTION: La La Land won Best Picture.
FACT: Though La La Land was initially announced as the Best Picture winner, and media outlets understandably reported as such immediately, Moonlight actually won. Through the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ preferential voting system, it was Moonlight that came out on top. And it was correctly listed in the Best Picture envelope.
FICTION: Warren Beatty announced La La Land as the winner.
FACT: Beatty was the co-presenter for the top prize, but it was actually his Bonnie & Clyde co-star Faye Dunaway who said the words “La La Land,” leading the film’s producers to understandably come on stage and give an acceptance speech. But since Beatty kicked off the award presentation, had possession of the envelope, and then stepped up to the mic to explain what went wrong on his end, much of the backlash has focused on the screen legend.
FICTION: Emma Stone had the Best Actress envelope, so that doesn’t explain the mix-up.
FACT: Beatty explained he mistakenly had the Best Actress envelope, but then some questioned that excuse when Stone said she had that envelope the whole time. But there were TWO envelopes with the Best Actress results, as there are for every category. PricewaterhouseCoopers makes two copies of all 24 announcements so that there is a set available on both sides of the stage. Stone was given her winning envelope when she won, but then moments later, Beatty was given the Best Actress duplicate instead of the Best Picture envelope.
FICTION: The Oscars are rigged.
FACT: Academy Awards winners are chosen by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The tabulation of the results are certified by PricewaterhouseCoopers in advance of the ceremony, as the company has done for 83 of 89 years. And then only two executives know the outcome. This is to ensure no tampering takes place. But a mix-up quite obviously did take place, and while it was not due to rigging, the accounting firm says, “We are currently investigating how this could have happened.”
FICTION: Jimmy Kimmel is to blame.
FACT: The self-deprecating host took responsibility for the incident, saying on stage, “I blame myself for this… I knew I would screw this show up.” But Kimmel actually had nothing to do with the envelopes or the presentation of the award. He only came out to help rectify the situation.
FICTION: This was the only mistake during the Oscars ceremony.
FACT: While this screw-up was bad enough, there was another issue that was quite literally a matter of life and death. During the In Memoriam tribute, the montage rightly named the deceased costume designer Janet Patterson, but wrongly used a photo of Jan Chapman. But the producer is very much alive and well.
While there has been an envelope mix-up at the Oscars before, this is the first time in the history of the Academy Awards that the wrong Best Picture winner was announced. It’s a moment that will now go down in Hollywood infamy. Gossip Cop will continue to clear up misinformation about it as necessary.
Gossip Cop has determined this story is accurate to the best of our ability.