| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES Feb 27 Oscar officials on Monday
were investigating an embarrassing mix-up over the best picture
award, which eventually went to African-American coming-of-age
drama "Moonlight," after a ceremony studded with political jokes
and minor mishaps.
In a mistake that stunned the Dolby Theatre crowd in
Hollywood and a television audience worldwide, presenters Warren
Beatty and Faye Dunaway at first said the winner was romantic
musical "La La Land," the presumed best picture favorite.
As both films' casts stood awkwardly on stage, Beatty
explained he had received the wrong envelope.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, which oversees the ballots,
confirmed the error and apologized.
"We are currently investigating how this could have
happened, and deeply regret that this occurred," the
professional services firm said in a statement while apologizing
to "Moonlight," "La La Land," Beatty, Dunaway and Oscars
Officials from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
Sciences were not available to comment.
"Is that the craziest Oscar moment of all time?" Stone, who
won the best actress award for her "La La Land" role as a
struggling actress, told reporters backstage.
While the best picture mix-up took top spot in the evening's
embarrassments, the ceremony was beset with smaller blunders.
During the "in memoriam" segment, the name of celebrated
Australian costume designer Janet Patterson, who died last year,
was accompanied by a photo of Jan Chapman, an Australian movie
producer who is alive and well.
There was also a hit for Auli'i Cravalho, the 16-year-old
actress and lead voice in Disney's animated film "Moana." While
performing the best song-nominated, "How Far I'll Go," Cravalho
was struck on the head with a flag waved by a backup dancer.
"Moonlight," a tale about a young boy struggling with
poverty and his sexuality in Miami, also brought a supporting
actor Oscar for first-timer Mahershala Ali.
Viola Davis won for her supporting role as a long-suffering
housewife in African-American family drama "Fences."
The recognition for both the actors and their films was a
stark contrast to the 2016 Academy Awards, when no actors of
color were even nominated.
"Moonlight" producer Adele Romanski said she hoped the movie
would inspire "little black boys and brown girls and other folks
watching at home who feel marginalized."
"LA LA LAND" SWEEPS SHOW
"La La Land" began the evening with a leading 14 nominations
and emerged with six wins, including for its score and theme
song "City of Stars." Director Damien Chazelle, 32, became the
youngest person ever to win for best director.
"Manchester by the Sea" star Casey Affleck was named best
actor, winning his first Oscar despite 2010 sexual harassment
allegations that resurfaced during awards season. Affleck denied
the allegations, which were settled out of court.
"Man, I wish I had something better and more meaningful to
say," said Affleck, who played a heart-broken father in the
movie. " ... I'm just dumbfounded that I'm included."
The best picture mistake during Hollywood's biggest night
seemed to eclipse the prior three hours of a show peppered with
jokes about U.S. President Donald Trump.
The gibes capped an awards season marked by celebrities'
fiery protests of Trump's policies.
Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel fired off political zingers and
even tweeted at the Republican president, getting no immediate
Several celebrities wore blue ribbons on Sunday in support
of the American Civil Liberties Union advocacy group, which
worked to get Trump's bid to ban travelers from seven majority
Muslim nations blocked in U.S. courts.
But for the most part, the speeches were mild or made
general pleas for tolerance rather than direct attacks on Trump.
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi was an exception. His drama
"The Salesman" was named best foreign-language film, but Farhadi
boycotted the ceremony because of Trump's travel ban.
In a speech given on his behalf by Iranian-American space
expert Anousheh Ansari, Farhadi said his absence was due to "an
inhumane law that bans entry into the U.S. ... Dividing the
world into the 'us' and 'our enemies' categories creates fear, a
deceitful justification for aggression and war."
(Additional reporting by Laila Kearney in New York; Editing by
Daniel Wallis and Lisa Von Ahn)