Tonight is going to be a night that will live on as one of the most infamous events in Oscar history. While team La La Land was celebrating its presumed Best Picture win, producer Jordan Horowitz came up to the mic and corrected the record. For a brief second, Moonlight being announced as the winner felt like a tribute from one artist to another for a job well done. And yet, as the envelope of truth was revealed to the public, Moonlight was the winner supreme. But how did this happen? Well, Warren Beatty explained what happened, and it's as simple as the following:
I opened the envelope, and it said "Emma Stone, La La Land." That's why I took such a long look at Faye [Dunaway,] and at [Jimmy Kimmel.] I wasn't trying to be funny.
Now that is a moment you couldn't make up even if you tried... unless you were the writers of The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult. Somehow, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were handed the wrong sealed envelope, and decided to read off the title of La La Land, even though Emma Stone's name was above the title, and not the producers. It's a strange moment that doesn't add up if you look at certain factors, and try to determine just how it all went wrong. For the time being though, let's go back to the video tape and watch Beatty explain the moment in his own words.
How in the world could this have happened? With all of the safeguards and secrecy that are typically in place when it comes to such an event, you'd think someone would have noticed a second Best Actress envelope being present in the mix. We say second, because Emma Stone already has gone on record stating that she had her envelope from her win, and Warren said that his envelope read the same result. However, there is an interesting factor to take into account: the fact that even though Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway didn't know they had the Best Actress in a Leading Role envelope, it was clear as day that they did.
Take a look at the following photo of Dunaway and Beatty, with the envelope right in front of them.
Seems innocuous enough, doesn't it? It's the pair holding the envelope they're about to read from, with the name of the category printed on the front. But what's printed on the front? You can see, clear as crystal, below:
Clearly, there's been a mistake involving what looks like a second envelope printed for the "Best Actress In A Leading Role" award, and that envelope wound up in the hands of Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. There's going to be a lot of attention paid to this chain of events, but from what Warren Beatty is saying, his explanation of events lines up. What probably happened is, neither Beatty or Dunaway had a pair of reading glasses on hand and read the bigger print on the card, without seeing the finer print until later. Rest assured, this looks like more of a clerical error than a conspiracy, so don't go breaking out your magnifying glasses just yet.
Photo Credit: (c)ABC