The Oscars best picture mix-up: How the unforgettable moment unfolded

The ending shocked even hardened Hollywood veterans. Minutes after “La La Land” was mistakenly announced as the best picture winner at the Oscars, the Oscar went to the cast and crew behind the indie film “Moonlight” — a moment that drew audible gasps and had everyone asking, “What happened?”

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that tallies the Oscars voting, later apologized, saying in a statement that the presenters were erroneously given the wrong envelope.

Here is the full breakdown of the dramatic best picture mix-up.

9:03 p.m. Pacific time

Presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty take the stage to introduce the best picture nominees.

Patrick T. Fallon/The New York Times via Redux
Warren Beatty carries an envelope reading “Actress in a Leading Role” as he walks on stage with Faye Dunaway to present the Oscar for Best Picture during the 89th Academy Awards in Los Angeles, Feb. 26, 2017.

9:08 p.m.

Beatty opens the envelope, takes out the card and appears to look inside the envelope for another card.

He smiles, pauses and says, “And the Academy Award …” then pauses again. He looks back down at the card before saying, “For best picture …”

“You’re impossible. Come on!” Dunaway says, and Beatty passes the card to her.

She glances at the card and announces, “La La Land”!

Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty speak onstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 26, 2017 in Hollywood, Calif.

After the “La La Land” team members embrace, they head to the stage to accept the biggest award of the night.

“Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins later told reporters backstage, “I think all the movies that were nominated were worthy, so I accepted the results. I applauded like everyone else.”

“I noticed the commotion that was happening, and I thought something strange had occurred,” he said.

9:09 p.m.

“La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz, holding the Oscar and the envelope onstage, begins his acceptance speech.


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