Moonlight was my favorite of the year but I still expected a win by La La Land or Hidden figures. It's nice to know that real art and not just box office still has a chance.
"It's very unfortunate." That's all host Jimmy Kimmel could say Sunday night after the Academy Award for best motion picture was initially given to "La La Land" -- even though "Moonlight" was the winner.
Warren Beatty, who presented the final award of the evening with Faye Dunaway, his co-star in "Bonnie and Clyde," paused for several seconds as he looked at the card bearing the name of the winning movie. He handed the card to Dunaway, who called out "La La Land."
But a minute or two into the celebration by "La La Land's" cast and crew, producer Jordan Horowitz stepped to the microphone, asked for quiet and said the real winner was "Moonlight."
"This is not a joke," Horowitz said as the cast and crew of "La La Land" left the stage to be replaced by their counterparts from "Moonlight."
"Very clearly, even in my dreams, this couldn't be true," said Barry Jenkins, the director of "Moonlight." "But the hell with it! It is true!"
After several minutes of shock and confusion, Beatty returned to the microphone with an explanation: He and Dunaway apparently had been given the envelope for best lead actress by mistake. That award had gone to Emma Stone for "La La Land" earlier in the evening.
"I wasn't trying to be funny," Beatty said.
Speaking to reporters backstage after the show, Stone herself said: "Did you guys see that?"
Stone cast some doubt on Beatty's explanation, saying she, in fact, had been "holding my best actress card the whole time."
"So whatever story they told -- I'm not sure what happened," she said.
Mahershala Ali, the winner for best supporting actor in "Moonlight," said the contretemps made it "hard to feel joy."