The Hollywood A-listers seated in the front row of the night's Academy Awards were just as stunned as viewers at home when it was revealed that the Best Picture award had accidentally been given to the makers of La La Land. Photo taken during that moment show the stunned faces of Matt Damon, Michelle Williams, Casey Affleck and many others as one of La La Land's producers revealed that the real winner was actually Moonlight, reports The Daily Mail. Announcers Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway had accidentally been given the wrong envelope by accountants with PriceWaterHouseCoopers, who tabulate the Academy's voting. On stage, La La Land star Ryan Gosling could be seen stifling laughter with his hand over his face. Ben Affleck's first reaction was to look down the row towards his little brother Casey, who won the Best Actor award, and childhood friend Matt Damon. Casey Affleck spoke to the woman next to him while Damon sat slack-jawed - completely stunned at what just happened.
1. David Oyelowo 2. Casey Affleck 3. Michelle Williams 4. Busy Philips 5. Ben Affleck 6. Selma Hayak 7. Matt Damon 8. Mel Gibson 9. Sting
Just a few moments before, Jimmy Kimmel was sitting in the seat vacated by Damon's wife. Soon after, he got up to help sort things out as the evening's host.
Other photos from the night show the celebration elsewhere in the Dolby Theatre when it was announced that Moonlight
had won. The cast was seated further back in the theatre and jumped to their feet when they heard the good news.
PriceWaterHouseCoopers issued a statement after the mix-up taking full responsibility. "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," their statement reads. "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." The terrible end to an otherwise triumphant show left the audience gasping in horror as Beatty revealed he had incorrectly read La La Land as the winner.
As the La La Land
cast were walking on stage to accept the accolade, a stagehand standing in the wings could be heard saying, "Oh ... Oh my god, he got the wrong envelope" and walking back and forth, according to the LA Times.
While still on stage, Beatty blamed the epic mishap on being given the wrong envelope, saying he had seen the name Emma Stone from 'La La Land' when he opened his envelope. 'I want to tell you what happened I opened the envelope and it said Emma Stone, La La Land and that is why I took such a long look at Faye and at you. I wasn't trying to be funny. This is Moonlight for best picture,' Beatty told the shocked crowd as he explained the blunder.
An investigation is continuing into how La La Land
was wrongly named Best Picture rather than the triumphant Moonlight
. Only two people know the Oscars winners list and supervise the counting procedures - PwC tax adviser Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan an accountant who is the chairman of PwC's US board. Just days before the showcase event, they told the Huffington Post
that they were unsure of the exact procedure in the event that the wrong actor or film was named as a winner in any given category since such a mistake had never been made in the awards' 88-year history. Cullinan and Ruiz each carry a suitcase containing a copy of the winning envelope for all the categories - meaning there are two envelopes for each award. The pair stand on opposite sides backstage and memorise the winners to avoid having to write them down and have revealed in the past how they carry out rigorous checks to ensure they have stuffed the envelopes correctly. It is believed Ruiz and Cullinan are ordered to destroy the duplicate cards as the presentation goes on, so by the time Best Picture is awarded, the only envelopes left are the two for Best Picture, according to Free Press.
When Beatty and Dunaway took the stage to announce the Best Picture award, Cullinan and Ruiz realized that they still had two best picture envelopes, meaning that the envelope taken on stage was a duplicate for an award that had already been announced. It is unknown why there was still a Best Actress duplicate available when Beatty walked on stage. Executives from PwC immediately realized there was a problem, but they were too late to rectify the mistake as Dunaway read out the name La La Land
from a card that was meant to be for the Best Actress award, which Emma Stone won for her role in the film earlier in the night. After the officials realised what had happened, they tried to get on stage immediately. But the news was broken to the La La Land
cast and crew after they had started their acceptance speeches. La La Land
producer Jordan Horowitz returned to the microphone after being told about the mix up and said "Moonlight won Best Picture" and insisting that "this is not a joke". Just seconds before, confusion was etched across Beatty's face after he opened the envelope. He took a second glance inside the winner's envelope before showing it to Dunaway who mistakenly thought he was asking her to read out La La Land.
And the rest, as they say, has gone down in Hollywood history.