In a shocking twist, it was Moonlight that shone when it came time to announce the 2017 Academy Awards’ biggest honor — and not presumed front-runner La La Land. Barry Jenkins’ powerful coming-of-age story won Best Picture after La La Land was mistakenly named the night’s big winner by presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, who’d been handed the wrong envelope.
Damien Chazelle’s La La Land had been expected to win Best Picture — and came in with 14 nominations, tied for the most ever, to Moonlight‘s eight — but Moonlight ultimately walked away with the top prize.
Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, who immediately paid homage to La La Land, told a stunned audience during his acceptance speech: “It is true. It’s not fake.”
He continued, “There was a time when I thought this movie was impossible because I couldn’t bring it to fruition. … So I just want to thank everybody up here behind me, everybody out there in that room because we didn’t do this — you guys chose us. Thank you for the choice. I appreciate it. Much love.”
Jenkins’ co-executive producer Adele Romanski also said in the aftermath of the mix-up, “It’s so humbling to be standing up here with hopefully still the La La crew.”
She added, “I think I hope even more than that it’s inspiring to people — little black boys and brown girls and other folks watching at home who feel marginalized and take some inspiration from seeing this beautiful group of artists held by this amazing talent, my friend Barry Jenkins standing up on here on this stage accepting this top honor.”
Moonlight was nominated in the Best Picture category alongside Arrival, Fences, Hidden Figures, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, La La Land, Lion, and Manchester by the Sea.
I honestly thought La La Land was going to win. What a twist of events.