'Moonlight' wins Oscar for best picture after major onstage gaffe

Moonlight has won best picture at the Oscars - but only after La La Land was initially announced as the winner

27 February 2017, 8:06am
Cast and crew of Moonlight react after they learn it has won best picture. as Warren Beatty explains the error
Cast and crew of Moonlight react after they learn it has won best picture. as Warren Beatty explains the error
Barry Jenkins's African-American coming of age drama "Moonlight" won the coveted best picture statuette at Sunday's Oscars, beating favourite "La La Land" after an embarrassing onstage gaffe over the announcement.

Hollywood legends Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, stars of 1967 crime classic "Bonnie and Clyde," were meant to give the evening's top prize to Jenkins's film, but she mistakenly called it for Damien Chazelle's musical.

Scenes of confusion and embarrassment followed after the "La La Land" crew, who were already on stage and delivering speeches, suddenly realised the mistake and announced that "Moonlight" had actually won, prompting Beatty to mumble apologies, saying that he had been given the wrong envelope to open

“I want to tell you what happened. I opened the envelope and it said, “Emma Stone, ‘La La Land.’”

"That’s why I took such a long look at Faye and at you. I wasn’t trying to be funny,” Beatty said, breaking into tense laughter. It was Dunaway who ultimately said "La La Land."

Backstage, "La La Land" star Emma Stone, who took home best actress honours, told stunned reporters: "You guys see that?"

"La La Land" went into the Oscars with a leading 14 nominations and emerged with six, including for its score and theme song "City of Stars."

"La La Land" director Damien Chazelle, 32, became the youngest person to ever win a best director Oscar.

"Manchester by the Sea" star Casey Affleck was named best actor "Man, I wish I had something better and more meaningful to say...I'm just dumbfounded that I'm included," said Affleck, a first-time Oscar winner.

Affleck came through despite 2010 sexual harassment allegations that resurfaced during awards season. Affleck denied the allegations which were settled out of court.

Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali won their first Oscars for their supporting roles in African-American stories "Fences" and "Moonlight," in stark contrast to the 2016 Academy Awards when no actors of color were even nominated.

"Moonlight," about a young boy struggling with poverty and his sexuality, also won the best adapted screenplay statuette, while grief-driven independent drama "Manchester by the Sea" took home original screenplay.

US President Donald Trump was the butt of numerous jokes, capping an awards season marked by fiery protests at his policies.

Kimmel fired off political zingers and even tweeted at the Republican president, getting no immediate response.

But for the most part speeches were mild or made general pleas for tolerance rather than directly attacking Trump.