Moonlight wins Best Picture as incredible twist ending makes 2017 Oscars the most fun ever.

Watch the Incredible Twist Ending that Made the 2017 Oscars the Most Fun Ever

Watch the Incredible Twist Ending that Made the 2017 Oscars the Most Fun Ever

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 27 2017 12:47 AM

Watch the Incredible Twist Ending that Made the 2017 Oscars the Most Fun Ever

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La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz holds up the winner card reading actual Best Picture winner Moonlight.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

As La La Land producer Marc Platt thanked his fellow producers and his wife for the movie's Best Picture victory, the other producers of La La Land were engaged in hurried conversation. A stage manager ran onstage, headset on, to take the red envelope out of producer Jordan Horowitz's hand. Chaos reigned onstage as his fellow producer Fred Berger gave a short speech, which ended, confusingly, "We lost, by the way." Horowitz took the microphone back and announced, "There's a mistake." And immediately what had been a dispiriting, unsurprising Academy Awards telecast turned into the funniest, craziest, most memorable awards night in memory. Warren Beatty had apparently been given the wrong envelope! La La Land had not won Best Picture; Moonlight had.

There's long been a rumor that Marisa Tomei should not have won Best Supporting Actress at the 1993 Oscars—that presenter Jack Palance read the wrong name. The official explanation was that, should such a mistake occur, the PriceWaterhouseCoopers vote talliers would immediately remedy the error, even if it meant interrupting the show. And for those of us drama-hungry awards show nuts who've long wanted such a fiasco to happen—it finally did! And man, was it glorious.

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Especially glorious because it was the most welcome twist possible: The best movie of the year came from behind, came from losing, to win Best Picture. La La Land was still richly rewarded, and its producers were remarkably gracious onstage when the error came to light. And we got to see a beautiful work of art get the prize it truly deserved—in the most dramatic way imaginable. Most years, we all forget who wins Best Picture six months later. But no one will ever forget Moonlight won the big prize. "Even in my dreams, this could not be true," Moonlight director Barry Jenkins said when he came onstage. Here's to the ones who dream, indeed.

Dan Kois edits and writes for Slate’s culture department. He is writing a book called How to Be a Family and co-writing, with Isaac Butler, an oral history of Angels in America.