Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway made Oscars history Sunday night – but for an embarrassing reason. The iconic pair presented the Best Picture trophy to Damien Chazelle’s historically nominated musical La La Land, but as producer Jordan Horowitz revealed moments later – after a round of heartfelt acceptance speeches – the award was intended for Barry Jenkins drama Moonlight.
The presentation felt bizarre even before the botched announcement, as Beatty gazed at the award envelope, then at his Bonnie and Clyde co-star, with a puzzled expression. La La Land‘s cast and producers took the stage and began their speeches before Horowitz displayed the winning card to the cameras. “There’s been a mistake,” he said. “Moonlight won.”
Beatty returned onstage to apologize for the gaffe, which he blamed on being handed the wrong envelope. The actor explained that the saw La La Land star Emma Stone’s name on the envelope before handing it to Dunaway, who made the first announcement.
Early Monday morning, Pricewaterhouse Coopers apologized for the mistake. “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 auditing firm behind the Oscars wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Despite the error, La La Land still achieved a historic night with its record-tying 14 total nominations. Chazelle’s film finished the ceremony with six wins, including Best Director and Best Actress (Emma Stone). Moonlight earned eight nominations; in addition to Best Picture, the acclaimed drama took home Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali) and Best Adapted Screenplay.