There was a lot of talk coming into the 89th Academy Awards that La La Land, with an incredible 14 nominations, might win 12 Oscars, something no film has ever done before. Damien Chazelle’s musical ode to the fools who dream came close to the record, but didn’t quite break it; instead, it “only” took home six trophies, including wins for Best Director, Best Original Song, Best Original Score, and Best Production Design, but not the big one, Best Picture.
Well, it did. For about 30 seconds.
Here’s what happened: During the acceptance speeches for La La Land, producer Jordan Horowitz halted the thank-yous to say that the award belonged to Moonlight. It seemed like another Adele-giving-her-Grammy-to-Beyonce moment, but he wasn’t kidding: Moonlight actually won Best Picture. It turns out Warren Beatty, in a colossal awkward mishap, read La La Land after seeing “Emma Stone,” who had just won Best Actress, on the card.
“That’s why I took such a long look at Faye and at you,” the Bonnie and Clyde star explained. “I wasn’t trying to be funny.” Host Kimmel tried to save the moment — “I blame myself for this,” he joked — but understandably struggled to find the right words for such a weird situation. So did Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, who noted, “Very clearly, very clearly in my dreams this could not be true. But to hell with my dreams. I’m done with it because this is true. Oh my goodness.” He continued, with an emotional nod to the La La Land team, “And I have to say it is true. It’s not fake. We’ve been on the road with these guys for so long. My love to La La Land. My love to everybody. Man.”
Here’s the now-complete list (!) of Oscar winners. And here’s the precise moment from tonight that will probably be remembered forever.