In an epic mix-up of staggering proportions at the #89th Academy Awards on Sunday, the Best Picture award was mistakenly given to La La Land. That is, until the panicked backstage crew made it to the podium to rectify the embarrassing situation.

An ostensible human error combined with a swift live telecast created the most powerful and heart-racing reversal witnessed by a #Hollywood audience – pretty much ever.

Hard-earned work not recognized

Dampening the euphoria of film professionals and the creatives who had spent many years working on beloved projects, the blunder cut deep into the core of the industry and the awards show itself.

It also highlighted – a few months after the #presidential elections – that no voting system is absolute.

And sadly, for the winners of #Moonlight, the gaff ate up a precious moment of screen time and recognition for black filmmakers, a recognition that had been hard won through years of Hollywood history and since the #OscarsSoWhite uproar last year.

This was the first time an #all-black cast had won a Best Picture award, but instead of a leveling moment of awareness and respect to those who had struggled for years within a white-centric industry, there was confusion and bewilderment.

PricewaterhouseCoopers makes an apology

On Monday, the accounting firm #PricewaterhouseCoopers, who handled the award voting and the distribution of the envelopes, issued a statement apologizing to those involved.

They focused their apologies on the cast and crew surrounding the movies #La La Land and Moonlight, as well as the harried and gob smacked presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. Oscar viewers were also given an apology “for the error that was made during the award announcement for best picture.”

The statement said that, “We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the academy, ABC and #Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation,” referring to how presenter Kimmel tried to make humor from the situation whilst also trying to find the right balance of sincerity and respect in such astonishing circumstances.

The world wonders what actually happened

According to the New York Times, #PricewaterhouseCoopers always arranges two matching sets of closed envelopes with the winners inside. Martha L. Ruiz and Brian Cullinan, the two partners of the firm who manage the voting process, each have a briefcase with the envelopes and they stand opposite each other on either side of the stage.

The envelope for the Best Actress Award, came from the side of the stage where Ms. Ruiz stood. After #Emma Stone accepted her Best Actress award, Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty emerged to present the Best Picture award from the other briefcase. But a Best Actress envelope had been left, still unopened, and Mr. Cullinan mistakenly handed Beatty the incorrect envelope. Once the incorrect Oscar winner had been televised, the two accountants told the stage manager, which led to a chaotic and unnerving display onstage.

In an excruciating twist, three of the #La La Land producers gave their acceptance speeches and had to concede victory once the mix-up was clarified. The dismayed cast of La La Land stood onstage as the Moonlight cast and creators came up to claim their hard-won award.

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