Think of the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you. Now, breathe a sigh of relief because nothing — not even showing up to school without trousers on — could compare to the Best Picture blunder at last year's Oscars when La La Land erroneously (and briefly) defeated Moonlight.
Though we've since gained more insight into what actually went down, those three minutes of utter disarray that unfolded on live TV will forever live in infamy as some of the biggest names in Hollywood gawked and scrambled to understand just what the hell went wrong; and now, thanks to The Hollywood Reporter's off-the-charts-wild oral history of the events, we know that things were 100% as chaotic as they appeared. If not more.
"I could hear [a stage manager] say, 'Moonlight is the winner!'" Busy Philipps, who sat in the front row with best friend Michelle Williams, said. "We clearly heard him say, 'Moonlight is the winner! Moonlight is the winner'...Then I'm like, 'I'm sitting next to Ben Affleck — he can stop the show because he's fucking Batman!' I kind of grabbed his arm — we're not friends, but I was like, 'You have to do something! Do something!'"
"I was laughing hysterically because I just thought it was the funniest thing," she added.
"The Oscars is the biggest night in Hollywood, and when they did it, I lit a cigar and drank a glass of scotch and celebrated," he said. "I was free! Thank you, God!"
"It never quite felt like we won, even though we won, in part because we were so connected with the La La Land people," he said. "In that moment, I don't think we could be as joyous. It wasn't what it should have been."
"It was very awkward, but I revel in awkwardness," Kimmel added.
Honestly, if you read the entire oral history, you might agree that "awkward" doesn't even begin to describe how bizarre the events actually were. The whole situation seemed to have sent Hollywood into a scarring dystopian tailspin, and I'm not sure that anything or anyone will ever fully be the same again.
Thankfully, the Academy has taken some steps to prevent a similar mistake isn't made in the future, including firing PricewaterCooper partners Brian Cullian and Martha Ruiz, the two folks responsible for passing along the envelopes. Additionally, Oscars staff are no longer allowed to use their mobile phones backstage and presenters will know the winners in each of their categories before they make the announcements on stage.