Moments after Emma Stone won best actress for her role in “La La Land” she walked back on stage to celebrate that film’s victory for best picture, too – though that only lasted until – in one of the most bizarre moments in Oscar history – it was revealed that “Moonlight” not “La La Land” had won that top prize.
“I don’t know if this is a measurable thing but is that the craziest moment of Oscar history of all time?” Stone said after arriving backstage with her Oscar in hand. “Cool! We made history!”
Stone said that despite the rug being pulled out from under the “La La Land” crew she wasn’t disappointed.
“Of course it was an amazing thing to hear “La La Land,” Stone said. “But God, I (bleepin’) love ‘Moonlight.’”
As for what happened? Warren Beatty, who’d presented the best picture award with Faye Dunaway, said on stage that when he opened the envelope it said Emma Stone and “La La Land,” and Dunaway then announced the best picture was “La La Land.”
“I was holding my best actress in a leading role card the whole time, so whatever story that was, I don’t know what that was,” Stone said backstage. “I think everyone’s in a state of confusion still.”
And as for her little fella, she’s in love, sort of.
“I had a little creepy moment back there where I was looking down at this like it was a newborn child,” Stone said. “This is a naked man! Hopefully I’ll look at my own newborn children differently.”
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Barry Jenkins, who won Oscars as the director and writer of “Moonlight,” followed Stone to the stage in the press room. He and the rest of the team that won -- eventually -- the best picture award seemed still stunned.
“I think all the movies that were nominated were worthy, so I took the results, I applauded like everyone else,” Jenkins said. “It made a very special feeling even more special but not in the way I expected.
“The last 20 minutes of my life have been insane.”
Asked if anyone had explained what happened Jenkins said no one had.
“Things just happened,” he said. “I wanted to see the card. And Warren refused to show the card to anybody before he showed it to me.
“And so he did he walked up to me and showed me the card and I felt better about what happened.”
The card Beatty showed him said “Moonlight” as best picture, 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. I wasn’t speechless because we won, I was speechless because it was so gracious of them to do that.”
A few questions later, Jenkins paused, grinned, and said what everyone who worked on the film must have been thinking: “Hot damn, we won best picture!”
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It takes nearly an hour after the start of the Academy Awards for the first winners to make their way backstage, shiny gold Oscars in their hands, and unlike most years, it’s not the supporting actor or actress, whose categories always open the show.
When winners do arrive they’re from the below-the-line categories such as makeup and hairstyling, which went to “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them,” which unbelievably is the first Oscar to ever go to a film from the Harry Potter canon.
“I didn’t realize that, that’s shocking,” said Colleen Atwood, the Oscar winner for costume design. “There’s so much incredible artistry in the Harry Potter movies.”
Director Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar for best foreign language film for “The Salesman,” but was not at the ceremony as a statement against President Donald Trump’s ban on travel to the United States by residents of seven Muslim-majority countries including Farhadi’s Iran.
Anousheh Ansari, an Iranian astronaut who flew on the International Space Station, and Firouz Naderi, a former NASA director for solar system exploration, came backstage to speak on Farhadi’s behalf.
Naderi said many Iranian-Americans could have accepted the Oscar for him, but he believes Farhadi chose him and Ansari for a reason specific to their own endeavors.
“She’s an astronaut, I work for NASA,” he said. “I think the reason is if you go away from Earth and look back at Earth you don’t see any borders or lines. You just see one whole beautiful Earth.”
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