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'Moonlight' wins best picture at botched Academy Awards

Associated Press logo Associated Press 2/27/2017 By JAKE COYLE, AP Film Writer
Fred Berger, producer of "La La Land," foreground center, gives his acceptance speech as members of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Brian Cullinan, holding red envelope, and Martha L. Ruiz, in red dress, and a stage manager discuss the best picture announcement error among the cast at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The actual winner of best picture went to "Moonlight." (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Fred Berger, producer of "La La Land," foreground center, gives his acceptance speech as members of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Brian Cullinan, holding red envelope, and Martha L. Ruiz, in red dress, and a stage manager discuss the best picture announcement error among the cast at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The actual winner of best picture went to "Moonlight." (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Oscar winner, take two.

Jordan Horowitz, productor de "La La Land", muestra el sobre que reveló que "Moonlight" fue la verdadera película ganadora de los Oscar el domingo 26 de febrero de 2017 en el Teatro Dolby en Los Angeles. El presentador Warren Beatty y el anfitrión Jimmy Kimmel lo ven a la derecha. (Foto Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Jordan Horowitz, productor de "La La Land", muestra el sobre que reveló que "Moonlight" fue la verdadera película ganadora de los Oscar el domingo 26 de febrero de 2017 en el Teatro Dolby en Los Angeles. El presentador Warren Beatty y el anfitrión Jimmy Kimmel lo ven a la derecha. (Foto Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Barry Jenkins' "Moonlight" — not, as it turned out, "La La Land" — won best picture at the Academy Awards in a historic Oscar upset and an unprecedented fiasco that saw one winner swapped for another while the "La La Land" producers were in mid-speech.

Ryan Gosling reacts as the true winner of best picture is announced at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. It was originally announced that "La La Land" won, but the winner was actually, "Moonlight." (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Ryan Gosling reacts as the true winner of best picture is announced at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. It was originally announced that "La La Land" won, but the winner was actually, "Moonlight." (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway apparently took the wrong envelope — the one for best actress winner Emma Stone — onto the stage for the final prize. When they read "La La Land" as the winner, representatives for ballot tabulators PwC — formerly Price Waterhouse Coopers — realized the mistake and raced onstage to try to stop the acceptance speeches. Host Jimmy Kimmel came forward to inform the cast that "Moonlight" had indeed won, showing the inside of the envelope as proof. "I knew I would screw this up," said Kimmel, a first-time host.

Accountant Martha Ruiz, far left, and stage manager Gary Natoli observe as the cast of "Moonlight" takes the stage after winning the award for best picture at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Accountant Martha Ruiz, far left, and stage manager Gary Natoli observe as the cast of "Moonlight" takes the stage after winning the award for best picture at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

Gasps were heard around the auditorium. Presenters, winners and Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences huddled to discuss the debacle. Beatty refused to give up the envelopes until he could hand them first to Jenkins. Chazelle and Jenkins hugged amid the chaos.

Barry Jenkins, left, and Tarell Alvin McCraney accept the award for best adapted screenplay for "Moonlight" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Barry Jenkins, left, and Tarell Alvin McCraney accept the award for best adapted screenplay for "Moonlight" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

"Even in my dreams this cannot be true," said an astonished Jenkins, once he reached the microphone. "To hell with dreams! I'm done with it because this is true."

Ryan Gosling, left, and Emma Stone introduce a performance at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Ryan Gosling, left, and Emma Stone introduce a performance at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Backstage, Stone said she was holding her winning envelope at the time. "I think everyone's in a state of confusion still," said Stone. Later the actress, who pledged her deep love of "Moonlight," added, "Is that the craziest Oscar moment of all time? Cool!"

Damien Chazelle, right, and Olivia Hamilton arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Damien Chazelle, right, and Olivia Hamilton arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

It was, nevertheless, a shocking upset considering that "La La Land" came in with 14 nominations, a record that tied it with "Titanic" and "All About Eve." Barry Jenkins' tender, bathed-in-blue coming-of-age drama, made for just $1.5 million, is an unusually small Oscar winner. Having made just over $22 million as of Sunday at the box office, it's one of the lowest grossing best-picture winners ever — but also one of the most critically adored. "Moonlight," released by indie distributor A24, also had some major muscle behind it, including Brad Pitt's Plan B, which also backed the 2015 winner "12 Years a Slave."

Viola Davis poses in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Viola Davis poses in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
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"It was unfortunate that things happened as they did but, goddamn, we won best picture," the still cool and composed Jenkins told reporters.

Justin Timberlake performs songs from best original song nominee "Can't Stop the Feeling," from "Trolls" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Justin Timberlake performs songs from best original song nominee "Can't Stop the Feeling," from "Trolls" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The "La La Land" team was celebrating onstage when producer Jordan Horowitz took to the microphone to say: "There's been a mistake. 'Moonlight,' you guys won best picture." He then graciously passed his statue to the "Moonlight" producers, saying, "This is not a joke."

Meryl Streep stands for applause at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Meryl Streep stands for applause at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

"I noticed the commotion that was happening and I thought that something strange had occurred," Jenkins said backstage. "The last 20 minutes of my life have been insane."

Host Jimmy Kimmel speaks at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Host Jimmy Kimmel speaks at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

"Moonlight" co-star Mahershala Ali, the supporting actor winner, said the conclusion "threw me a bit." ''I don't want to go up there and take anything from someone," he said afterward. "It's very hard to feel joy in a moment like that."

Mahershala Ali accepts the award for best actor in a supporting role for "Moonlight" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Mahershala Ali accepts the award for best actor in a supporting role for "Moonlight" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

In a statement, PwC apologized to each film, Beatty, Dunaway and Oscar viewers. "The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected," said the accounting firm. PwC, which has long watched over the Oscar ballots, said it was currently investigating "how this could have happened."

Dwayne Johnson introduces a performance from best original song nominee "How Far I'll Go" from "Moana" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Dwayne Johnson introduces a performance from best original song nominee "How Far I'll Go" from "Moana" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

For "La La Land," a musical in which reality repeatedly intrudes on fantasy, it was another alternate ending. "La La Land" still collected a leading six awards, including honors for cinematography, production design, score, the song "City of Stars" and best director. Chazelle, the 32-year-old filmmaker, became the youngest to win best director. "This was a movie about love and I was luckily enough to fall in love while making it," said Chazelle, speaking about his girlfriend and Oscars date, Olivia Hamilton.

Janelle Monae arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Janelle Monae arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Up until the frenzied end, the telecast had seesawed between jabs at Donald Trump and passionate arguments for inclusivity. "All you people out there who feel like there isn't a mirror out there for you, the academy has your back, the ACLU has your back and for the next four years we will not leave you alone, we will not forget you," said Jenkins, whose film is, in three chapters, about a young black kid growing up poor and gay in impoverished Miami.

Dakota Johnson arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP): Ryan Gosling reacts as the true winner of best picture is announced at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. It was originally announced that "La La Land" won, but the winner was actually, "Moonlight." (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Ryan Gosling reacts as the true winner of best picture is announced at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. It was originally announced that "La La Land" won, but the winner was actually, "Moonlight." (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Kenneth Lonergan, the New York playwright whose last film ("Margaret") was beset by lawsuits and conflict, won best original screenplay for "Manchester by the Sea." ''I love the movies. I love being part of the movies," said Lonergan. After the wild ending, Lonergan deadpanned to reporters, "It turned out that we actually won best picture."

Luciana Barroso, left, and Matt Damon arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Luciana Barroso, left, and Matt Damon arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Shortly later, Affleck — in one of the night's most closely watched races, won best actor — his first Oscar — for his soulful, grief-filled performance in Lonergan's film. Affleck and Denzel Washington ("Fences") were seen as neck-and-neck in the category. An admittedly "dumbfounded" Affleck looked shocked when his name was read. "Man I wish I had something bigger and more meaningful to say," said Affleck, who hugged his more famous brother, Ben, before taking the stage.

Barry Jenkins arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Barry Jenkins arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

The show kicked off with Justin Timberlake dancing down the Dolby Theatre aisles, singing his ebullient song, "Can't Stop the Feeling," from the animated film "Trolls." It was an early cue that the Oscars would steer, at least in part, toward festiveness rather than heavy-handedness. Protests, boycotts and rallies have swirled ahead of Sunday night's Oscars. But Kimmel, in his opening monologue, quickly acknowledged that he "was not that guy" to heal a divided America.

Sunny Pawar arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Sunny Pawar arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

But he pointedly led a standing ovation for the "overrated" Meryl Streep and later tweaked the president by tweeting to him on air, including telling him that Streep "says hi."

Ruth Negga, wearing the ACLU ribbon, arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Ruth Negga, wearing the ACLU ribbon, arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Viola Davis, co-star of Denzel Washington's August Wilson adaptation "Fences," won best supporting actress. She and Ali, both widely expected winners, marked the first time in more than a decade that multiple Oscar acting honors went to black actors.

Chrissy Teigen, left, and John Legend arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP): Host Jimmy Kimmel speaks at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Host Jimmy Kimmel speaks at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

"I became an artist, and thank god I did, because we are the only profession to celebrate what it means to live a life," said Davis, the best supporting actress winner. "So here's to August Wilson, who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people."

Mel Gibson arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Al Powers/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Mel Gibson arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Al Powers/Invision/AP)

The evening's most blunt protest came from a winner not in attendance. Best foreign film for the second time went to Asghar Farhadi, director of Iran's "The Salesman." Farhadi, who also won for his "A Separation," had said he wouldn't attend because of Trump's travel band to seven predominantly Muslim nations. Anousheh Ansari, an Iranian astronaut, read a statement from Farhadi.

Ezra Edelman, right, and Caroline Waterlow accept the award for best documentary feature for "O.J.: Made in America" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Ezra Edelman, right, and Caroline Waterlow accept the award for best documentary feature for "O.J.: Made in America" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

"I'm sorry I'm not with you tonight," it read. "My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S."

Justin Timberlake performs songs from best original song nominee "Can't Stop the Feeling," from "Trolls" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Justin Timberlake performs songs from best original song nominee "Can't Stop the Feeling," from "Trolls" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The broadcast often veered between such strong personal statements and Kimmel's efforts to keep things a little lighter with bits reminiscent of his late-night show. Shortly before he led a dazed, unsuspecting tour group into the theater, presenter Gael Garcia Bernal, the Mexican actor, declared: "As a migrant worker, as a Mexican, and as a human being, I am against any wall." Rich Moore, one of the three directors of Disney's best animated film winner "Zootopia," described the movie as about "tolerance being more powerful than fear of the other."

Host Jimmy Kimmel tweets President Donald Trump #Merylsayshi during the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Host Jimmy Kimmel tweets President Donald Trump #Merylsayshi during the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Mel Gibson's World War II drama "Hacksaw Ridge" was, surprisingly, the evening's first double winner, taking awards for editing and sound mixing. Gibson, for a decade a pariah in Hollywood, was seated front and center for the show, and was a frequent presence throughout.

Mahershala Ali poses in the press room with the award for best actor in a supporting role for "Moonlight" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Mahershala Ali poses in the press room with the award for best actor in a supporting role for "Moonlight" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Ezra Edelman's "O.J.: Made in America" took best documentary, making it — at 467 minutes — the longest Oscar winner ever, beating out the 1969 Best Foreign Language Film winner "War and Peace" (431 minutes). Edelman's documentary, while it received an Oscar-qualifying theatrical release, was seen by most on ESPN as a serial, prompting some to claim its place was at the Emmys, not the Oscars.

Viola Davis poses in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Viola Davis poses in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Edelman dedicated the award to the victims of the famous crime, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. "This is also for other victims, victims of police violence, police brutality," Edelman said. "This is their story as it is Ron and Nicole's."

Damien Chazelle accepts the award for best director for "La La Land" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Damien Chazelle accepts the award for best director for "La La Land" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The "OscarsSoWhite" crisis of the last two years was largely quelled this season by a richly diverse slate of nominees, thanks to films like "Moonlight," ''Fences" and "Hidden Figures." A record six black actors are nominated. For the first time ever, a person of color is nominated in each acting category.

Jordan Horowitz, foreground center, and the cast of "La La Land" mistakenly accept the award for best picture at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. It was later announced that "Moonlight," was the winner for best picture. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Jordan Horowitz, foreground center, and the cast of "La La Land" mistakenly accept the award for best picture at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. It was later announced that "Moonlight," was the winner for best picture. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

"I want to say thank you to President Trump," Kimmel said in the opening. "Remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?"

Damien Chazelle, left, is congratulated by Olivia Hamilton as he is announced the winner of the award for best director for "La La Land" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Justin Timberlake looks on from left. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) © The Associated Press Damien Chazelle, left, is congratulated by Olivia Hamilton as he is announced the winner of the award for best director for "La La Land" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Justin Timberlake looks on from left. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The nominees follow the efforts by Academy of Motions Pictures Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs to diversify the membership of the largely white, older and male film academy. "Tonight is proof that art has no borders, no single language and does not belong to a single faith," said Isaacs.

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Associated Press' Sandy Cohen, Lindsey Bahr and Matt Sayles contributed to this report.

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