Moonlight star Naomie Harris reacts to Best Picture Oscars mix-up: ‘It really meant we didn’t have our moment’

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A report by Jess Denham for London’s Independent.

Moonlight star Naomie Harris has admitted that the Best Picture mixup put a dampener on what should have been a night of unbridled joy and celebration for those involved in the film.

The British actress was “disappointed” by the incident, which saw La La Land declared the winner before organisers stepped in during producer Jordan Horowitz’s acceptance speech and revealed that the gong had actually gone to Moonlight.

 Presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway had accidentally been given the wrong envelope to take on stage and were left confused after seeing La La Land star Emma Stone’s name inside. Stone had won Best Actress earlier in the night.
“I was disappointed because it really meant we didn’t have our moment,” Harris told Sky News. “Our producers didn’t have the time to give their speeches and that’s a real shame. We got there after a little uncertainty. It was really incredible.”

Once the confusion was cleared up and the Moonlight cast and crew had taken to the stage, director Barry Jenkins and producer Adele Romanski were able to say a few words, but the shock at what had just happened was visible on everyone’s faces.

Mahershala Ali, who won Best Supporting Actor for his role in Moonlight, also commented on the surreal chain of events. “La La Land has done so well and has resonated with so many people,” he told reporters. “When their name was read, I wasn’t surprised, and I was really happy for them. When I did see security or people coming onstage and their moment was being disrupted in some way I got really worried and then when they said ‘Moonlight, you guys have won’ it just threw me, more than a bit.

“I didn’t want to go up there and take anything from somebody. It’s very hard to feel joy in a moment like that, but I feel very fortunate for all of us to have walked away with the Best Picture award. It’s pretty remarkable.”

It remains unclear who was responsible for the error, which is already being described as the biggest in Oscars history. 

PricewaterhouseCoopers, which has overseen the Academy’s ballot-counting process for the past 83 years, released the following statement: “We sincerely apologise to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for Best Picture.

“The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred. We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation.”

If in doubt, blame Leonardo DiCaprio.

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