Oscars mixup eclipses triumph for black filmmakers
Coming-of-age drama “Moonlight” celebrated its best picture Oscar Monday with the rest of Hollywood still reeling over an embarrassing mixup that threatened to eclipse a triumphant night for black cinema.
More than 30 million viewers witnessed Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly announce that musical “La La Land” had taken the top prize at Sunday’s 89th Academy Awards, rather than the real winner.
Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, which is responsible for tallying safeguarding Oscar votes and results, took the blame after the gala evening ended in chaos, vowing to investigate what had gone wrong.
The company said Monday a managing partner with years of experience at the Oscars had mistakenly handed Beatty, 79, a duplicate of the envelope announcing Emma Stone’s best actress win for “La La Land.”
“He is very upset about this mistake. And it is also my mistake, our mistake and we all feel very bad,” Tim Ryan, PwC’s US chairman, told trade magazine Variety.
The most shocking error in the Oscars’ 88-year history largely overshadowed the significance of the achievement of “Moonlight” on a night of a record number of wins by black stars.
Not only did the underdog pull off a stunning upset against awards juggernaut “La La Land,” it was also the first best picture winner in history made by an African American directing an entirely black principal cast.
“It was a heartbreaking fiasco. You felt embarrassed for Dunaway and Beatty, who clearly knew something was amiss when he opened the envelope but didn’t know how to proceed,” wrote Entertainment Weekly critic Jeff Jenson.
“Moonlight,” the story of a young African American struggling to find his place as he grows up poor in Miami, was seen as the ultimate antidote to the #OscarsSoWhite diversity controversy that engulfed the last two ceremonies.
One of its stars, African American Mahershala Ali, became the first Muslim acting winner in history, while…