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Oscar Meltdown: ‘La La Land’ Mistakenly Named Best Picture; ‘Moonlight’ Wins Instead

Was it an honest mistake, or the greatest troll of all time? Either way, it’s going to go down as one of the most dubiously memorable moments in Oscar history.

The climactic moment of the night is always the announcement of the film that wins Best Picture. It’s saved for last for a reason – it legitimizes the film that wins like no other award can. It will boost the profile of your movie; not just now, but forever.

So there we were, waiting for the announcement. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were the presenters of the prestigious award, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of their classic film Bonnie & Clyde. Beatty opened the envelope, squinted at it, then said very slowly, “The Oscar………goes…….to……..” before Dunaway lost her patience. She took the card from his hand, quickly glanced at it, and exclaimed “La La Land!”

This wasn’t a shock to anyone – the much-lauded film had a total of 14 nominations, and was pretty much everyone’s pick to take home the biggest prize of the night. It had already nabbed six awards, including Best Director and Best Actress. So we were all expecting this, right? The principal players in the making of the film took the stage, statues in hand, and began making the requisite speeches.

And then it happened.

I imagine someone wanted to keep the card as a souvenir. Who knows? But, for whatever reason, it was given a closer look – and was found to not have “La La Land” mentioned anywhere on it. The Best Picture was, in fact, “Moonlight.”

(This isn’t the first time that a small, independent movie upset the big production that was expected to win. Last year’s Best Picture was “Spotlight,” which shocked everyone, including its own cast. Most people had their money on DiCaprio’s “The Revenant” to win, as it had been doing all night.)

But I digress. Back to tonight. The entire theater was baffled. Some wondered if it was a joke. Finally, the card in question was held up to the camera, and it did indeed have “Moonlight” listed as the rightful winner. The cast and crew made their befuddled way onto the stage to accept their belated award.

Ugh. That awkward moment when you have to give up the Oscar you thought you won to the the person who actually did win it. At least you got to hold it for a moment. To say this was a massive disappointment to the unfortunate non-winners is, I’m sure, a huge understatement. And to know you’re doing it live, in front of the entire world? It must have been so surreal, and so heartbreaking.

However, let’s not take anything away from “Moonlight.” It’s an extraordinary film, and absolutely deserving of the award. I feel bad for its winners as well, since their moment will always be remembered not for victory, but for a giant FUBAR.

Speaking of which, exactly what the hell happened? Warren Beatty came to the microphone to bravely take the blame. However, his explanation didn’t make sense: he said that he was given the wrong card – the one for Best Actress. The film’s title was next to Emma Stone’s name, so that’s the one that was read. However, the card that emerged from the envelope was shown on camera to have “Moonlight” typed on it quite plainly.

So, if he wasn’t joking, and his explanation of a mistake doesn’t pan out, what does that leave? The only other possibility I can think of is that he was in fact given the wrong card, somehow didn’t notice the words BEST ACTRESS on it (and why would the Best Picture card mention Stone, and no one else involved with the film? Details, people), and moments later, an incredibly embarrassed stagehand swapped them out off camera.

Whatever the truth may turn out to be, it’s an Oscar moment that won’t soon be forgotten. It will probably spawn a thousand jokes and memes – but hey, at least the heat is finally off of Steve Harvey. Somebody actually managed to one-up him in the epic fail department.

What did you think of this shocking end to the Academy Awards? Tell us in the comments!

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