How The Best Picture Mishap Went Down On Oscar Night

The “Moonlight” cast and crew took home the award for Best Picture Sunday night at the 89th Academy Awards—but not before the award was mistakenly given to the cast and crew of “La La Land.”

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Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway presented the Best Picture award, with Beatty looking quizzically at the card with the name of the winner on it before passing it off to Dunaway to read. She announced “La La Land,” but the winner was, in fact, “Moonlight.”

“I wanted to tell you what happened. I opened the envelope and it said Emma Stone of “La La Land.” That’s why I took such a long look Fay… and at you. I wasn’t trying to be funny,”Beatty said shortly after the biggest mistake in Oscar night history was made on stage.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the accounting firm responsible for counting votes for the Oscars released a statement early this morning to try and clear up the mistake. It turns out, the company says, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were mistakenly handed the category envelope for Best Actress (which had already been presented to Emma Stone for her role in “La La Land”) instead of the correct envelope which had the winners for best picture.

Here’s the full statement:

We sincerely apologize to “Moonlight,” “La La Land,” Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and 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, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation.

Out of the 89 years the Academy Awards have been presented, PricewaterhouseCoopers, or PwC, has overseen the vote counting for 83 of those years.


It wasn’t until after the cast and crew of “La La Land” were up on stage, already delivering their acceptance speeches, that the mistake was realized.

While the mishap actually went fairly smoothly considering all of the confusion amongst presenters and who the actual winner of best picture was, the moment is still going to go down as one of the worst mistakes in Oscar night history. Many online are applauding “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz for taking charge on stage amid the confusion, flashing the actual Best Picture card to the screen for the audience to see, and calling the “Moonlight” contingent on-stage while assuring all watching that the mix-up was “not a joke.”

The company that is responsible for handing the envelopes to the presents, PwC, they stated that they will continue to investigate how the mishap came to be.