Jaws dropped, eyes went wide, and plenty of faces were in palms in disbelief as it was revealed that Moonlight had won best picture at the Oscars Sunday night, and not La La Land—which had been announced as the winner.
Following minutes of sheer chaos—and co-presenter Warren Beatty trying to explain his and Faye Dunaway's onstage flub—Emma Stone, Mahershala Ali, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, and stars headed to the press room and shared their thoughts about what went down.
“Did you guys see that?” Stone asked as she referred to the mix-up with a giggle, tucked her red hair behind her ear, and walked inside the room at L.A.'s Dolby Theatre in a beaded golden Givenchy Couture dress complete with a fringe skirt.
“I think everyone's in a state of confusion still ... excitement, but confusion,” the La La Land star, who took home her first Oscar for best actress, said about the post-flub mood. Still, while she looked just as confused as everyone else as she stood on the stage with her cast and crew during the show, Stone made it clear she had nothing but love for Moonlight.
“I f— love Moonlight!” she exclaimed. “God, I love Moonlight so much. I was so excited for Moonlight. 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. I think it's one of the best films of all time, so I was pretty beside myself.”
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After Beatty explained that he had been given the best actress card (and not best picture) for the results, though, Stone said she was confused. “I also was holding my best actress in a leading role card that entire time,” she continued. “So, whatever story—I don't mean to start stuff, but whatever story that was, I had that card. I'm not sure what happened ... and I really wanted to talk to you guys first.”
Jenkins said he didn't receive an explanation about how the epic blunder occurred in the first place, but added, “Things just happen, you know? But I will say I saw two cards. I wanted to see the card. And Warren refused to show the card to anybody before he showed it to me ... he showed it to me, and I felt better about what had happened.”
He went on to sing the praises of the La La Land crew. “The folks from La La Land were so gracious. We spent a lot of time together over the last six months, and I can't imagine being in their position and having to do that," he said. "I wasn't speechless because we won. I was speechless because it was so gracious of them to do that.”
PricewaterhouseCoopers later released a statement saying presenters Beatty and Dunaway had been given the wrong category envelope when they walked out on stage.