La La Land Steve Harvey’d at Oscars, Moonlight Wins Big

February 27th, 2017

This past Sunday, February 26, the 89th annual Academy Awards was hosted by late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. Justin Timberlake opened the show with a flashy number and later there were performances from Lin Manuel Miranda and Auli’i Cravalho, Sting, John Legend, and Sara Bareilles who sang for the in memoriam montage. Kimmel infused the show with some of his talk show bits like his long standing faux feud with Matt Damon (at one point he introduces the presenter as “Guest”, playing him off stage) and “Mean Tweets” (Oscar’s Edition). He also brought along Guillermo and the two led a herd of tourists through the front row. Denzel Washington even married a tourist couple–“it’s Denzel so it’s legal”. The gag was touch and go but at least it gave us Gary from Chicago, now immortalized as an internet meme.

La La Land landed a few wins, including one each for director Damien Chazelle and actress Emma Stone, going home with a total of six awards but not the crown jewel. Although, it did have the misfortune of being mixed up in the biggest shocker of the night which happened just as the show was wrapping up.

In what can only be described as the living personification of the word “snub”, the audience was visibly and vocally divided over La La Land’s mistaken best picture win. Actor Warren Beatty “Steve Harvey’d” the final category of the night, initially announcing the wrong film after some confusion. Looking to her for help, his partner onstage, Faye Dunaway, hastily shouted what she saw on the card: La La Land. It turned out that they were holding the envelope for Emma Stone’s category which had previously been announced.

It was one of the most soul-churningly embarrassing moments from an award show of it’s status that I have ever had the displeasure of watching–and I’ve forced myself to sit through quite a few ceremonies. While everyone was bopping around on stage like headless chickens, La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz admitted the mistake and called the Moonlight crew to come up and claim their win. Stating that it was “not a joke,” as Beatty fumbled around with the envelope, Horowitz–hilariously but also somewhat rudely–snatched the card from the older man’s hand, holding it up for everyone to see.

It’s hard to even image what was going through their minds but, thankfully, Vulture provided a slow motion break down of the awkward moment in GIF form. Now I just need a “Bad Lip Reading” of the whole debacle and my week will be complete.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm which counts votes for the Academy Awards, released a statement affirming Moonlight’s win, apologizing and owning up to the mishap.

Earlier on in the show, actor Mahershala Ali and Moonlight’s writers won in their respective categories, all delivering stirring speeches. Hopefully, this flub will not cast an overbearing shadow on Moonlight’s win.


Other big wins of the night for best in their category include:

Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

Documentary feature: O.J.: Made in America

Supporting Actress: Viola Davis

Foreign Film: The Salesman

Animated Feature: Zootopia

Cinematography: La La Land

Original Score: La La Land

Original Song: La La Land

Original Screenplay: Manchester by the Sea

Adapted Screenplay: Moonlight

Directing: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)

Leading Actor: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)

Lead Actress: Emma Stone (La La Land)

Best Picture: Moonlight

For the complete listing of winners you can visit the Oscar’s official website


Zhana Johnson

Editor in Chief

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