Emma Stone, who won best actress in a leading role moments prior to Faye Dunaway incorrectly announcing La La Land as the 2017 best picture winner at Sunday’s Oscars, has clarified several online conspiracy theories suggesting Leonardo DiCaprio mistakenly carried the card announcing her victory offstage, where an unsuspecting Warren Beatty supposedly picked it up.
“I also was holding my Best Actress in a Leading Role card that entire time, so whatever story… I don’t mean to start stuff, but whatever story that was, I had that card,” she told reporters backstage at the Dolby Theatre. “So, I’m not sure that happened.”
After the La La Land producers had already begun their acceptance speeches, show staff rushed the stage with the correct envelope, which contained the name of the actual best picture winner: Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight.
Accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers — which tabulates the Oscar votes — apologized after the ceremony to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscars viewers hours after the ceremony.
“The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred. We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation,” the firm said.
PwC accountants keep two sets of winners during the ceremony. “From a security perspective, we double up everything. That’s why there’s two of us. We have two briefcases, that are identical, and we have two entire sets of winning envelopes,” accountant Brian Cullinan said before the show to Wall Street Journal’s Marketwatch.
Though the gaffe is arguably one of the most shocking Oscar moments of all time, Stone expressed her enthusiasm for the film that ultimately trumped La La Land.
“It was an amazing thing to hear La La Land. I think we all would have loved to win Best Picture. But we are SO excited for Moonlight,” she said in the Academy press room. “I think it’s one of the best films of all time… But again, God I love Moonlight. I’m so excited. So I think it’s an incredible outcome, but a very strange happening for Oscar history.”
— Reporting by Marc Snetiker.