HIFF Films at the Center of the Biggest Mistake in Oscars History

The awkward Oscars moment
The awkward Oscars moment. Photo: Eddy Chen/ABC

If you didn’t watch the Oscars last night, you missed what may be one of the biggest gaffes in television history. In a twist not unlike the huge Miss Universe pageant mix-up from last year (in which host Steve Harvey announced the wrong winner), presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced that La La Land had won Best Picture, when in fact the winner was Moonlight.

The error, which was very awkwardly corrected after the La La Land cast and crew took the stage, was due to Beatty and Dunaway receiving a ballot that contained the winner for Best Actress, Emma Stone, for La La Land. PricewaterhouseCoopers, the organization that oversees the ballots, issued an apology to all involved. “We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred,” the company said in a statement.

Hamptonites may have seen both films in the 2016 Hamptons International Film Festival. Directed by Damien Chazelle, La La Land is a musical starring Stone as a struggling actress who falls in love with a down-on-his-luck jazz musician, played by Ryan Gosling. Moonlight is based on the play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney and directed by Barry Jenkins. It tells the life story of Chiron, who starts out as a neglected young boy and ends up a successful drug dealer. As he grows up, he deals with his drug-addled mother, a mentor who deals drugs, a boy with whom he shares romantic feelings and more.

Mahershala Ali, who plays drug dealer Juan in Moonlight, and John Legend, who appears in La La Land, were both named in this year’s 10 Actors to Watch from HIFF and Variety. Ali won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his work.

Congratulations to both films. Regardless of who won, these are great movies that you should absolutely check out if you haven’t already.

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