Actor Warren Beatty, who was in charge of reading the envelope for the “Best Picture” award was given the wrong envelope. He opened the casing and showed it to Faye Dunaway, who proclaimed “La La Land” the winner of the category when the prize was actually for “Moonlight.”
Apparently, the card was the one awarding Emma Stone for “Best Actress” for her role in “La La Land.”
After the mistake was rectified, social media users mocked those in charge of handling the envelopes as the “had only one job.”
Suspense amid the awards
According to People’s Elizabeth Leonard, the correction hit the ground as the La La Land producers were giving their acceptance speeches when a stage manager said onto the headsets “Oh my god, it’s Moonlight!” Apparently, the confusion had a rippling effect backstage, where the production crew realized that they had read the wrong envelope.
The actors walked towards the backstage, where Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali hugged La La Land’s Ryan Gosling. Other nominees shared hugs amid the chaos.
Moments later, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the firm in charge of the Academy Awards envelopes released a public apology, acknowledging that Warren Beatty had been given the wrong envelope. Beatty even revealed to the press that he read the card which said “Best Actress,” which struck him as a little bit odd.
“I thought this is very strange because it says Best Actress on the card. I felt that maybe there was some sort of misprint. And as planned, I gave to it Faye. I don’t know anything. I don’t think anyone knows. I’ve asked and I haven’t got an answer. You can talk to Faye and she can verify that she read the card,” stated Beatty to reporters.
Even if people attacked Beatty for being in the spotlight, he was not sure of how to proceed, which is why he sought assistance from Dunaway. Apparently, Dunaway thought that Beatty was just teasing the audience by taking its time to read the envelope.
One of the theories is that Leonardo DiCaprio, who was in charge of awarding Emma Stone with her Oscar for Best Actress, was handed his envelope from a PwC representative, while Warren Beatty was given a duplicate of the same envelope on the opposite side of the stage when it was his turn of presenting the Best Picture award.
“There was a lot of nuttiness. It was kind of like a dispute over a boxing match. You didn’t know who won. You didn’t know who the winner was. But I have to say the producers of ‘La La Land’ were very gracious,” stated host Jimmy Kimmel to Times magazine.
The ones in charge of handling the envelopes are Brian Cullinan, head of PwC’s U.S. board, and tax partner Martha Ruiz. They are the only two that know what the envelopes say before the award is presented. Each one has an identical suitcase with 24 winning envelopes. They refused to emit a statement.