Best Picture Mix-up: 'Moonlight' takes home top prize after 'La La Land' blunder

Best Picture Mix-up: 'Moonlight' takes home top prize after 'La La Land' blunder
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

In an unbelievable mix-up at the 2017 Academy Awards, the award for best picture was handed out to La La Land — at least at first. Presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway initially announced the wrong winner, though it wasn't revealed until after the producers of La La Land corralled on stage and began their acceptance speeches. The real best-picture winner, however, was Moonlight.

Moonlight, which was nominated for eight other Oscars, is a relative surprise as best picture, considering the momentum La La Land carried throughout awards season. However, Moonlight's nuanced exploration of black masculinity and sexual identity has been hailed by critics. That it ultimately claimed the academy's top honor is emblematic of what Mic's Kevin O'Keeffe previously described as a requirement for best picture: "choosing the picture that best represents the year."

"Now more than ever, Moonlight's story is so vital," Mic's Jordan Appugliesi wrote in a review of the film. "As we've seen this year, both the gay and African-American communities were victims of attacks. There was June's mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. There's the Black Lives Matter movement, which calls for an end to the systemic mistreatment of African Americans. In a year that has featured so much attention to violence against queer and black people, this movie is all the more vital."

"There are plenty of films likely to be nominated for best picture this year (MoonlightFencesHidden Figures and more) that have purpose beyond escape; they have something to say not just about themselves, or about film, but about the world," Mic's Kevin O'Keeffe wrote in December. "They're grounded in today, whereas La La Land can't stop dreaming about the past." 

But the real shock of the evening was Beatty's mishap. The Twitterverse — and everyone at the Oscars — was shaken. 

Mic has ongoing Oscars coverage. Please follow our main Oscars hub here.

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Miles Surrey

Miles is a staff writer at Mic, covering culture. He is based in New York and can be reached at miles@mic.com.

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