For the briefest of moments, La La Land was the winner of the 2017 Best Picture Oscar. The romantic musical was both the critical and crowd favourite for the Academy Awards, and it had 14 nominations. After Damien Chazelle won for best director, it looked like the production had bagged the Best Picture too, until one of the movie’s producers, Jordan Horwitz, took the mic and said, “There has been a mistake. Moonlight won.”
Actor Warren Beatty, who made the initial erroneous announcement, tried to explain what had happened. Beatty seems to have been handed the envelope for Best Actress, which went to La La Land’s Emma Stone, and so accidentally read out that movie’s title for the Best Picture Oscar too.
But by the time Beatty was reading out his explanation, social media was already going crazy about the twist ending – with many, many people making a joke about another closely fought competition that went down to the wire just a few months ago.
Naturally, with all that last-minute drama, there was plenty of time for some conspiracy theorising that carried over from the elections.
La La Land had been nominated in 14 categories, making it the third-most nominated movie, although there were many who believed it was an undeserving winner when compared to Moonlight. As it happened, some saw the twist ending as more than appropriate for a movie that featured plenty of fantasy. (Even Moonlight director Berry Jenkins compared the mix-up to a dream that had become real.)
And Twitter jumped in to suggest what other mistakes the presenters might have made.
And, of course, people found it useful to bring up an old tweet from the man who is now Twitter’s commentator-in-chief (even though he has so far remained silent about this year’s events).