D'oh! Be gentle with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. As it turns out, they had only a small role in creating the biggest gaffe in Oscars history. It was more of a half-Steve Harvey than a full Harvey.
Dunaway and Beatty presented the final award of the very long 89th Academy Awards, and mistakenly gave Best Picture to "La La Land" before it was revealed that "Moonlight" was the correct winner.
As some fans suspected, especially after Beatty tried to explain he saw "Emma Stone, 'La La Land'" in his envelope instead of the name of the Best Picture, they had been giving the wrong envelope backstage, the one for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
This is what it was supposed to look like:
And this is what Beatty had in his hands to present:
Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has the job (for now) of tabulating nominations and votes for the Oscars, took ownership of the mistake and apologized:
"We sincerely apologize to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for Best Picture. The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred. We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation."
Just to correct the correction -- it was not immediately corrected. If it were, the entire "La La Land" group wouldn't have taken to the stage and already given speeches.
Beatty clearly saw that something was wrong, and he even said that's why he stalled, he wasn't trying to be cute to delay the show, he was confused. But instead of speaking up, he just shared his confusion, and the card, with Dunaway, who must've just seen "La La Land" by Stone's name and figured that was what to say. Because how often do you get the wrong envelope? But closeups of that card show that it was indeed marked "Actress in a Leading Role" on the outside, as well as the inside. So someone along the way should've caught it.
Deadline suspected this is what happened, as they wrote last night:
"How could this happen? This is the thinking: Price Waterhouse has two envelopes (two copies) for every winner. So when they handed the envelope to presenters they opened that for Emma Stone for Best Actress rather than the envelope for Best Picture. That's why Beatty sputtered and was confused wondering what was going on. This has happened before, according to our colleague Pete Hammond, back in 1964 when Sammy Davis, Jr. also got the wrong envelope for the two music categories."
Craziness. It seemed like a prank at first, and that's what a lot of stars thought, too. But nope. That really happened. And the Internet is loving it, joking that Russia hacked the election, "La La Land" won the popular vote, and dubbing the situation #EnvelopeGate, #OscarsFail, and #MoonlightGate.
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