×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Moonlight’ Director: Best Picture Snafu Made Winning ‘More Complicated’

The best picture snafu that closed out Sunday’s Academy Awards telecast was still reverberating on Monday’s network morning news programs.

Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins told “CBS This Morning” that the mix-up that resulted in “Moonlight” being named the winner a few minutes after “La La Land” was mistakenly announced only added to the surreal quality of the night for him. “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that his focus after learning the truth was “making sure ‘Moonlight’ got the recognition it deserves.”

The key players on both films emphasized that they have become friendly while traversing the awards circuit together during the past few months.

“They say truth is stranger than fiction. That was the moment I’ve been living in,” Jenkins said, adding that it still felt “surreal” to him to be up on the Oscar stage.

At the climax of the three and a half hour telecast, presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announced “La La Land” as the best picture winner, capping a strong run of wins by the Lionsgate musical. But after the movie’s cast and producers were on stage exulting, “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz came to the mic to explain there was a mistake and that the film industry’s top honor actually went to “Moonlight.”

Jenkins was clearly still processing the experience as he and writer Tarell Alvin McCraney spoke with “CBS This Morning.”

“It just made it much more complicated,” Jenkins said. “The celebration is bound up now between our film, ‘La La Land’ and the Academy in a very complicated way. As somewhat of a Shakespearean tragedy, maybe is a bit more interesting,” he said. 

McCraney added that the confusion and the time pressure they faced after getting up to the stage “made it difficult to say all the thank-yous we needed to say. But at the same way, it was a great way to show all the camaraderie we had for both of the films.”

Horowitz has earned kudos for his graceful handling of what had to be a crushing blow for the “La La Land” team.

“It was a surreal moment for sure but I wanted to make sure the right thing was done. At that point it was not about me — it was about making sure ‘Moonlight’ got the recognition it deserves,” Horowitz told “GMA” in a telephone interview. “Those guys are my friends. I wanted to make sure they had their moment.”

“GMA” anchors pressed Horowitz for details on how he was informed of the mistake. Horowitz said “it was just confusion and chaos” on stage and “this slow, steady realization that something wasn’t right.” Finally, he realized that showing the card inside the envelope was the way to prove that he wasn’t kidding in citing “Moonlight” as the real winner.

“When everybody saw that (in) writing then it was really clear this was something that was happening,” Horowitz said.

After the show, Horowitz spoke with Jenkins and “Moonlight” star Mahershala Ali (who won supporting actor) at the Governors Ball.

“We shared a moment. We gave each other a hug and said ‘Wasn’t that surreal?’ We congratulated each other on our work and put it all behind us,” Horowitz said.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • She Monkeys

    LevelK Boards International Sales on Lisa Aschan's 'Call Mom!' (EXCLUSIVE)

    LevelK has acquired international sales rights to Lisa Aschan’s new film “Call Mom!”, a sequel to her well-received feature debut, “She Monkeys.” Produced by Anna-Maria Kantarius (“Amateurs”) at Garagefilm Intl., “Call Mom!” follows Niki, a 35-year-old who lives like she’s 25 and is forced to come to grips with all of her relationships and past [...]

  • The Spokeswoman

    Mexico’s Luciana Kaplan on Indigenous Candidate Doc ‘The Spokeswoman’

    In 2017, Luciana Kaplan’s globe-spanning documentary feature “Rush Hour” was selected as the best in competition at that year’s Morelia Intl. Film Festival – only one of many such plaudits for the film – and the director returned to the festival Impulso section for pix-in-post with her next latest, “The Spokeswoman,” taking three of the [...]

  • Ella Balinska, Kristen Stewart and Naomi

    China Box Office: 'Charlie's Angels' Kept Earthbound by Local Romcom

    The new “Charlie’s Angels” reboot was no match for a local romantic comedy or a 20-year-old Giuseppe Tornatore film at the Chinese box office, bringing in just $7.6 million in its debut weekend, according to figures from consultancy Artisan Gateway. Directed by Elizabeth Banks and starring Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska, the film [...]

  • Climbing Blind

    ‘Climbing Blind’ Snares Kendal Mountain Festival Grand Prize

    KENDAL    “Climbing Blind,” from Alastair Lee, took the Grand Prize at the 2019 Kendal Mountain Festival on Saturday. Detailing the ascent of a vertical rock pillar, the film revealed how a blind mountaineer led the climb, assisted only by a sight-partner a rope length below. The film had particular significance for a British audience, [...]

  • Jon Voight'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' film

    President Trump to Award Jon Voight the National Medal of Arts

    President Trump will present actor Jon Voight, musician Allison Krauss, and mystery writer James Patterson with the national medal of arts. Voight is one of few in Hollywood who has been vocal about his support of President Trump in the past, calling him “the greatest president of this century.” The White House announced four recipients [...]

  • Zack Snyder arrives at the 2018

    'Justice League': Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Zack Snyder Support Release of 'Snyder Cut'

    Zack Snyder, Gal Gadot, and Ben Affleck have taken to social media to request that Warner Bros. release the Snyder cut of “Justice League.” Snyder, who helmed “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman” and was “Justice League’s” original director, had to leave production on the film partway through after his daughter died, with Joss [...]

  • Whose Side Is 'Marriage Story' On?

    Whose Side Is 'Marriage Story' On? (Column)

    Do we choose sides when we watch “Marriage Story,” Noah Baumbach’s brilliant and wrenching drama of divorce? The question, on the face of it, sounds facile in a dozen ways the movie isn’t. Rarely are there winners in divorce, and there are two sides to every breakup. “Marriage Story” is a movie that reflects that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content