“I got to give my Oscar acceptance speech and I got to be a presenter,” joked La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz on Sunday night, moments after giving an acceptance speech where he thanked his wife and baby and then handed his trophy over to Moonlight, the actual recipient of the best picture prize. “It was really a two-for-one sort of a night.”
Horowitz, standing at the bar of the Governor’s Ball with his wife, director Julia Hart (Miss Stevens), was still processing the evening’s epic snafu — as were most of the guests in the sleek star-studded ballroom. Despite winning six Oscars and being the favorite to take home best picture, La La Land didn’t nab the night’s top prize, even though presenter Faye Dunaway announced the film as the winner.
“I don’t know what happened. I don’t care to know what happened. There was a f— up. I saw the envelope that said Moonlight and it needed to be corrected,” said Horowitz. “I’m glad it was them because I love those guys. We’ve spent a lot of time together over the last couple of months.”
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Horowitz gave his speech and was then asked by a stagehand for his envelope, which he hadn’t opened yet. Once opened, it read “Emma Stone, La La Land” — the winner of the best actress category, which had been announced before best picture. Backstage following the incident, Stone said she had her envelope with her, but PricewaterhouseCoopers creates two envelopes for every award, to be handed by the accountant to the presenter, depending on which side of the stage they enter.
“We knew then it was f—ed up,” said Horowitz. “Eventually they found the best picture envelope and it said Moonlight. I happened to be standing next to the guy when that happened and I took it and went up to the mic. What else are you going to do?”
According to a statement released by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the error was made when Dunaway and Warren Beatty were handed the wrong category envelope. “We sincerely apologize to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway and Oscar viewers…. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred.”
In the wake of the mistake, Horowitz was praised for the way he handled the situation — including by Moonlight director Barry Jenkins. “Jordan Horowitz. Wow. I’m slipping slowly into reflection, perspective,” he wrote. “Much respect to that dude.”
“It was a real crazy thing that happened but if it had to happen, I’m glad I got to give it to them,” added Horowitz.