'La La Land' producer Jordan Horowitz describes 'surreal' moment of Oscar envelope mishap
"La La Land" was at first mistakenly announced as the best picture winner.
— -- "La La Land" producer Jordan Horowitz called it "surreal" to stand onstage to accept the Oscar for best picture and then learn that it was another movie that had actually won the award.
"It was a surreal moment for sure," Horowitz said today on "Good Morning America" by phone in his first public remarks about the incident.
"La La Land" was at first mistakenly announced as the best picture winner at Sunday night's 89th Academy Awards. Horowitz said there was "a lot of confusion and chaos" onstage before it became clear that "Moonlight" had in fact won the best picture honor.
It was Horowitz who announced the correction to the Oscars audience, saying, "There's a mistake. 'Moonlight,' you guys won best picture ... This is not a joke."
"There was a lot of confusion onstage, and at a certain point it was clear that the wrong envelope had been given," he told "GMA." "Then they kind of showed us the best picture envelope, and it said 'Moonlight,' and that's when I sort of jumped to the mic and made sure everybody knew what was going on."
"It was like this slow, steady realization that something wasn't right," he said. "It needed to be corrected, so we jumped in and did it."
Horowitz held up the best picture card naming "Moonlight" as the winner for the audience to see because, he said, "I think people needed clarity at that moment."
"I wanted to make sure that the right thing was done, because, you know, at that point it was not about me," he said. "It was about making sure that 'Moonlight' got the recognition it really deserves."
"Moonlight" director Barry Jenkins and stars, including Mahershala Ali and Janelle Monae, then went onstage to accept the Oscar.
"As I said onstage, those guys are my friends," Horowitz said of the people behind "Moonlight," whom Horowitz said he got to know well during the monthslong buildup to the Oscars. "I wanted to make sure they had their moment."
Faye Dunaway, who along with Warren Beatty presented the best picture award, read "La La Land" from the card they held, right after Emma Stone won best actress for her role in the modern-day musical.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, the firm that oversees Oscar balloting, issued a statement Monday about the mishap.
"We sincerely apologize 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," it read. "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."
Horowitz said he saw Jenkins, Ali and others from "Moonlight" at the Governors Ball after the ceremony and reflected with them on the headline-making Oscars moment.
"We kind of shared a moment, gave each other a hug, said, 'Wasn't that surreal?' and congratulated each other on our work and put it all behind us," he said. "We'll move forward and do more work together."