After a shocking mix-up by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, Moonlight picked up the award for best picture at the Academy Awards Sunday night. The stars were on hand to present the evening’s final award—but in the process, they accidentally named La La Land as best picture winner. The producers of that film were in the middle of accepting their apparent award when, in the middle of their speech, an Oscars producer, and host Jimmy Kimmel approached onstage to reveal that La La Land was not, in fact, the night’s best picture winner.
A La La Land producer held up the card that had been inside of Beatty’s envelope to reveal that Moonlight had, in fact, won the best picture. Beatty then approached the microphone to explain that producers had given him the wrong card; instead of the best picture, he had been given an envelope revealing that Emma Stone had won best actress for La La Land. “I wasn’t trying to be funny!” he said.
Barry Jenkins then took the stage to express his shock. “Even in my dreams, this could not be true,” he exclaimed. “To hell with dreams, this is true.”
Amid the confusion, Barry Jenkins and the Moonlight cast and crew then took the stage. Jenkins quickly stepped up to the mic to express his shock. “Even in my dreams, this could not be true,” he exclaimed. “To hell with dreams: I’m done with it, because this is true.”
He then praised La La Land’s creators. “That was so gracious, so generous of them. My love to La La Land.”
The award was Jenkins’s second of the night; earlier, he and co-writer Tarell Alvin McCraney had picked up the statuette for best-adapted screenplay. Moonlight was nominated for eight Oscars overall. Co-star Mahershala Ali picked up the first award of the ceremony, for best-supporting actor.
The gorgeous film, about a young boy grappling with his sexuality as he grows up in Miami, was an awards season front-runner for several months, though it faced stiff competition from La La Land, the dazzling classic musical homage directed by Damien Chazelle. Many predicted the musical would ultimately win the final prize of the night, despite the critical adoration for Moonlight. However, Beatty and Dunaway’s flub was a plot twist no one saw coming.
Well, except for one person.