Moonlight Director Barry Jenkins on Best Picture Mix-Up: 'Things Just Happen'
At the close of the 89th Academy Awards, audiences watched as Faye Dunaway stood alongside Warren Beatty and incorrectly named La La Land as the best picture winner in the final award reveal of the night.
Although Jenkins, 37, was not given a formal explanation for how the blunder occurred, he understands that mistakes happen.
“No explanation. Things just happen,” Jenkins said in the press room after accepting the Oscar.
According to Jenkins, there were two winners cards, which caused for confusion.
“I will say, I saw two cards, and so things just happen. I wanted to see the card, to see the card, and Warren refused to show the card to anybody before he showed it to me. And so he did. He came upstairs and he walked over to me, and he showed the card. Everyone was asking, ‘Can I see the card?’ And he was like, ‘No, Barry Jenkins has to see the card, I need him to know.’ And I felt better about what had happened,” Jenkins explained.
After La La Land was incorrectly announced as the winner, director Damien Chazelle and the film’s cast and team ascended to the stage to accept the award.
La La Land producer Fred Berger was in the middle of delivering his acceptance speech when staff from PricewaterhouseCoopers entered the stage. Producer Jordan Horowitz stepped back up to the microphone, stating, “There’s been a mistake. Moonlight won.”
“It’s not a joke,” he said. “This is not a joke, come up here.”
“I think all the movies that were nominated were worthy, so I accepted the results, I applauded like everyone else. I noticed the commotion that was happening, and I thought something strange had occurred,” said Jenkins. “I’m sure everybody saw my face, but I was speechless with the result. I had always watched the Academy Awards and I had never seen that happen before. It made a very special feeling even more special, but not in a way I expected.”
Of taking home the award after La La Land was mistakenly announced as the winner, Jenkins said: “I will say, the folks from La La Land were so gracious. I can’t imagine being in their position and having to do that. We spent a lot of time together over the last six months, and I can’t imagine being in their position. It’s why I was speechless — I wasn’t speechless because I won, I was so speechless that they had to do that.”
Beatty, 79, said he was given the wrong envelope. “I want to tell you what happened. I opened the envelope and it said Emma Stone, La La Land. That’s why I took such a long look at Faye and at you. I wasn’t trying to be funny.”
Moonlight was nominated in the best picture category alongside Arrival, Fences, Hidden Figures, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, La La Land, Lion, and Manchester by the Sea.