Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali opens up about that awkward Oscars mix up

‘I just didn’t want to go up there and take anything from somebody’

The Oscars 2017 took place last Sunday, seeing La La Land and Moonlight emerge as the night’s top winners, scoring eight statues between them.

La La Land bagged the Academy Awards for best actress, director, original music score, cinematography and production design, while Moonlight took home the gold for best supporting actor and best adapted screenplay.

It was the best picture award, however, that saw both casts on stage due to an unfortunate mishap, where La La Land was mistakenly announced as the winner of the award, when Moonlight had actually won.

The La La Land cast had already assembled on stage and were mid-acceptance speech when their producer, Jordan Horowitz, noticed the error. ‘There’s a mistake,’ he announced to the crowd, waving the winner’s envelope at the camera. ‘Moonlight, you guys won best picture. This is not a joke, come up here.’

Fortunately both casts are pros, and the La La Land team graciously embraced the cast of Moonlight, handing over their Oscars and vacating the stage, prompting a standing ovation from the startled crowd.

Mahershala ali

Since Sunday night’s award show, Mahershala Ali (who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in Moonlight FYI), has spoken out about the blunder and how it was difficult to process.

La La Land has done so well and has resonated with so many people, especially in this time when people need a sense of buoyancy in their life and need some hope and light’, he explained. ‘That film had really impacted people, sort of in a different way than Moonlight.’

He continued: ‘When their name was read, I wasn’t surprised. I was really happy for them…and when I saw security people coming out on stage and their moment was being disrupted in some way, I got really worried.’

‘And then when Jordan Horowitz said, “Moonlight, you guys had won”, it just threw me a bit. It threw me more than a bit. I just didn’t want to go up there and take anything from somebody, you know? And 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.’

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