Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight was in fact given the accolade, in an unbelievably surreal piece of television and undoubtedly the most dramatic moment in Oscars history.
Presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announced La La Land as the winner of the night’s biggest award, with cast and crew flooding the stage.
Producer Jordan Horowitz launched into an acceptance speech, getting quite far into it, before the truth slowly spread through the gaggle of people on the podium.
Horowitz then began insisting that Moonlight won Best Picture, and many assumed he was trying to be self-effacing and respectful by passing the award onto Jenkins’ beloved picture as a gesture.
But no, Beatty stepped forward to explain that he had been handed the wrong envelope – the one that revealed Emma Stone had won Best Actress for La La Land.
Jenkins, understandably blindsided, took the stage and tried his best at saying a few words. Host Jimmy Kimmel was left to look astonished/bemused and try and crack jokes.
Though the gaff was initially pinned on Beatty/Dunaway, it appears it was a crew member’s responsibility to ensure the correct envelopes make it on stage.
Steve Harvey quickly started trending, his infamous Miss Universe screw-up having been well and truly upstaged:
Many joked that maybe Hillary Clinton did win the presidential election after all, and M. Night Shyamalan had fun with the moment too:
The shocking twist, itself worthy of an award, capped off a slightly disappointing night for La La Land, which also failed to pick up many of the technical awards it was expected to, though the film did pick up Best Director, Best Actress and Cinematography.
Moonlight meanwhile, in addition to the night’s biggest award, ensnared Best Supporting actor thanks to Mahershala Ali along with the Original Screenplay prize.Mahershala Ali along with the Original Screenplay prize.
Hacksaw Ridge picked up an unexpected number of awards and the critically-panned Suicide Squad is now an Oscar-winning film (if just for Hairstyling and Make-up).
More to follow as the situation unfolds. Full list of winners here.