Last night's "Best Picture" snafu at the 89th Academy Awards will definitely go down in Oscars history. The cast of La La Land took the stage to claim their victory after being announced as the winner — only to discover that the presenters had been given the wrong envelope. The "Best Picture" winner was actually Moonlight.
As awkward as the situation was, though, it could have been a lot uglier. The producers and actors from both films have been incredibly understanding about the whole ordeal. And given the circumstances, that's no easy feat.
La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz was the first to declare the mixup at the awards ceremony. He took the mic, saying to the stunned audience, "Guys, I'm sorry. There's been a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won Best Picture."
Horowitz went on to be an incredible sport about the situation last night. "This is not a joke," he said at the Oscars. "I'm afraid they read the wrong thing. This is not a joke, Moonlight has won Best Picture," he added, holding up the correct card as evidence. "I'm going to be really proud to hand this to my friends from Moonlight." That's quite a gracious statement, given the fact that he was losing the award he thought the film he worked on won.
After the ceremony, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins took to Twitter to thank Horowitz for his generosity and composure.
And Horowitz was quick to respond to the tweet by congratulating Jenkins on Moonlight's victory.
The situation could easily have escalated last night. But by showing sincere words of congratulations for Moonlight, Horowitz stopped things from getting worse — and directed the attention back to the award-winning film, rather than the mixup. It's also worth noting that neither side appears to have criticized the Academy producers or PricewaterhouseCoopers, which tabulates the Oscars ballots.
Moonlight star Mahershala Ali, who won the "Best Supporting Actor" award for his work in the film, also shared kind words about La La Land with Entertainment Weekly after the mixup.
"La La Land has done so well and has resonated with so many people, especially in this time when people need a sense of buoyancy in their life, and need some hope and light," Ali told EW. “So that film has really impacted people, sort of in a very different way than Moonlight. So when their name was read, I wasn't surprised. I was really happy for them."
Horowitz showed the world how to handle a shocking loss with composure and grace. And Jenkins, Ali, and the rest of the Moonlight team demonstrated how to be appreciative and respectful. Their kindness is something we can all learn from — and it extends way beyond the entertainment sphere.