The Academy Award for Best Picture is the most coveted statue in moviemaking — an accolade one film thought it landed before an infamous mix-up left them empty-handed.
The entire cast of La La Land took the stage to accept Hollywood’s biggest award in 2017, with several cast and crew from the musical giving emotional acceptance speeches with their statuettes in hand before producer Jordan Horowitz realized the category’s presenters, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, had announced the wrong winner.
“I’m sorry, no, there’s a mistake. Moonlight, you guys won Best Picture,” he told the audience. “This is not a joke. Moonlight has won Best Picture.” Horowitz held up the correct card for all to see before graciously handing the award over to the romantic drama.
While the cast of La La Land — which had previously taken home 12 Oscars that night including Best Actress, Best Actor and Best Director — exited the stage, host Jimmy Kimmel attempted to ease tensions by joking about the first-ever mix-up in Oscars history.
“This is very unfortunate, what happened. Personally, I blame Steve Harvey for this,” he quipped, referencing Harvey’s similar Miss Universe 2015 flub. “I would like to see you get an Oscar anyway. Why can’t we just give out a whole bunch of them?”
Beatty and Dunaway later explained that they had been handed the wrong card — the one that revealed Emma Stone as Best Actress — which is why the twosome looked confused before announcing the winner.
Beyond now-infamous error, Moonlight’s win was a major event for the Academy Awards as it marked the first-ever LGBTQ film to take the Best Picture prize. While many queer-centered stories have been nominated for the** award — Milk, Brokeback Mountain, Boys Don’t Cry and Philidelphia to name a few — none had ever snagged the statue.
“There was a time when I thought this movie was impossible because I couldn’t bring it to fruition,” director Barry Jenkins said in his 2017 acceptance speech. “I couldn’t bring myself to tell another story. Everybody behind me on this stage said, “No, that is not acceptable.” I want to thank everybody up here behind me. Everybody out there in this room. We didn’t do this. You guys chose us. Thank you for the choice. I appreciate it. Much love.”
Kimmel returned as Oscars host the following year and once again in 2023. The late-night talk show host opened up about landing the gig prior to the event, joking that he was only asked back after other hosts declined.
“Being invited to host the Oscars for a third time is either a great honor or a trap,” Kimmel told Variety at the time. “Either way, I am grateful to the Academy for asking me so quickly after everyone good said no.”
Academy Award executive producers and showrunners Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner, for their part, said they were “thrilled” to welcome Kimmel back. “We know he will be funny and ready for anything,” they said.
Sign up for Us Weekly’s free, daily newsletter and never miss breaking news or exclusive stories about your favorite celebrities, TV shows and more!
Keep scrolling to see every Oscars Best Picture winner over the years.