After the Academy Awards suffered one of the most awkward mistakes in its 89-year history, the producer of “La La Land” revealed how he handled the chaos during the flub over the Oscar for best picture.
When presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced “La La Land” had won the award on Sunday night, the film’s creators and stars came to the stage and began delivering acceptance speeches. But producer Jordan Horowitz soon interrupted to say there had been a mistake and that “Moonlight” had actually won the top honor of the night.
“This is not a joke,” he said twice, and held up the card announcing the best picture winner for the camera.
Horowitz came to the mic and showed the card “because people needed clarity at that moment,” he told “Good Morning America” on Monday.
There was a lot of confusion onstage,” Horowitz said. “At a certain point, it was clear the wrong envelope had been given.”
“It didn’t look like there was any order whatsoever, so I just kind of jumped in and showed the card, because when everybody saw it in writing I think it was really clear,” he explained.
The error occurred when Beatty was accidentally given the envelope for the best actress Oscar instead of the envelope for best picture.
“I opened the envelope and it said, “Emma Stone, ‘La La Land,’” Beatty said onstage. “That’s why I took such a long look at Faye and at you ― I wasn’t trying to be funny.”
In an interview with The New York Times, Horowitz shared more of the thoughts racing through his head after he and his cast took the stage.
“I’m holding the envelope and the award, and I had just given my speech, and there are people on the stage with headsets, and I thought, ‘That doesn’t seem right,’” he told the Times.
Academy Awards host Jimmy Kimmel tried to make light of the snafu. He jokingly blamed the mix-up on comedian Steve Harvey, who made a similar mistake when he announced the winner of the Miss Universe pageant in 2015.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that oversees the Oscar ballots, apologized for the mistake and said it was investigating the incident.
For his part, Horowitz handled the disappointment graciously.
“I’m going to be really proud to hand this to my friends from ‘Moonlight,’” he said as the winners came to the stage.