Best Picture Confusion: Here’s What Really Happened at the Oscars

The cause for the Best Picture Oscar confusion was an envelope error. Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the accounting firm that has accounted votes for the Oscars for years, announced on Sunday night that they messed up. Evidently, someone gave Warren Beatty the wrong envelope.

“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, Pricewaterhouse Coopers explained in a statement. “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.”

Somehow, Beatty was handed the wrong envelope. Apparently, Beatty had been given the envelope for Best Actress, which was announced earlier in the evening.

The rest of the story is history. The La La Land cast and crew walked on stage and started to give their speeches, then a producer ran and told them they had lost and Moonlight was the real winner.

oscars 2017 moonlight
Mahershala Ali at the 89th Annual Academy Awards – Press Room held at the Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood, USA on February 26, 2017. (Tinseltown /

Moonlight filmed in Miami, Florida in 2015 and premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in September. The movie has earned over $25 million worldwide. By the end of the Oscars, Moonlight won Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Moonlight is a coming of age story of an African-American man going through three different stages of life including being a young boy, teenager and finally as an adult.

Meanwhile, La La Land centers around an aspiring actress who falls in love with a musician. Ultimately, the Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone starring motion picture won six Academy Awards including Best Director, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Original Song and Best Production Design.