New Delhi: Directors Barry Jenkins and Damien Chazelle have spoken about Envelopegate at the 89th Academy Awards in a joint interview to Variety, describing what the Best Film Oscar blooper involving their films Moonlight and La La Land felt it like. In an unprecedented and chaotic finish, La La Land was announced as the Best Film and then, two minutes into the speeches, the winner was corrected to Moonlight. It was a tragicomic moment, described by Moonlight director Barry Jenkins (considered the aggrieved party in the case of the switched envelopes) to Variety as "messy but kind of gorgeous." He explained why.
- It was "messy but kind of gorgeous," said Barry Jenkins
- "At first, I thought there was some kind of prank," Mr Chazelle said
- PwC accountants blamed for Envelopegate have been barred from future show
"You have these two groups of people who came together for a second. There's a picture of me hugging Jordan Horowitz (producer of La La Land) and Adele Romanski (producer of Moonlight) has her arm on his shoulder. That's what the moment was," Mr Jenkins told Variety.
The source of the mistake has been traced to Brian Cullinan, one of the two PriceWaterhouseCoopers accountants charged with custody of the Oscar envelopes that contain the winning names. Mr Cullinan, who was busily live-tweeting the Oscars from backstage, is believed to have handed presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope - Best Actress instead of Best Film. Compounding the error, Ms Dunaway read out La La Land, the film that Emma Stone won the Best Actress Oscar for.
Nearly two minutes after Team La La Land had been on stage, the correction was made (by Mr Horowitz, who has been praised for his brisk and gracious handling of a situation so fraught) and the cast and crew of both films ended up on stage together, sharing an unlikely moment of amity. "That's something Barry and I have talked about. It's weird to be friendly with someone but to feel like there's a mano-a-mano thing, which I guess is the nature of the Oscars. So it was nice to explode that myth a little bit on a big stage." Damien Chazelle, who won and kept his Best Director Oscar, told Variety.
"Everything looked so energized, I at first thought there was some kind of prank going on," Mr Chazelle added. Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel later made it clear on his TV show Jimmy Kimmel Live that there had been no prank (conspiracy theories suggested he had masterminded the mix-up as a joke).
"My first thought was to get to the stage to give Jordan a hug as quickly as possible," said Mr Jenkins, about how he felt when he learnt that it was his film that had really won.
La La Land won six Oscars of 14 nominations. Moonlight won three, including Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali.
Meanwhile, the Academy has announced that Mr Cullinan and his colleague Martha Ruiz will not be allowed to attend the Oscars from next year.