7 Biggest Jaw-Droppers at the 2017 Oscars

From the best cameo ever by a busload of unsuspecting tourists to perhaps the most shocking moment in Oscar history

By Natalie Finn Feb 27, 2017 1:00 PMTags

Who's still a little bit shaken up from the Miss Universification of the 2017 Oscars?

Over the years, the Academy Awards stage has born witness to all manner of historic, memorable and downright strange moments. Tears have been shed. Speeches have gotten heated. Marlon Brando sent Sacheen Littlefeather onstage to refuse his Oscar for The Godfather. A streaker flashed his shortcomings at David Niven. Cuba Gooding Jr. loved everybody. Adrien Brody gave Halle Berry a thank you kiss for the ages. 

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But while we haven't been around for all 89 ceremonies, we're fairly confident in declaring that the Oscars have never ended in such shocking fashion as they did last night, with triumph, devastation and awkwardness smashing into each other with nauseating force.

So without further delay, here are the seven biggest jaw-droppers from the 2017 Oscars:

Oscars 2017 Winners: The Complete List

1. Hollywood Thriller: M. Night Shyamalan couldn't have scripted the twist at the end of the 89th Academy Awards any better. In what has to have been one of the most shock-, angst- and anxiety-inducing moments in Oscars history—an absolutely bonkers moment for those in the room and those watching at home—the wrong movie was declared Best Picture at the end of the night.

Worse yet, the whole La La Land production team was onstage and three people had already expressed thanks by the time it was revealed that Moonlight had actually won Best Picture.

"This is not a joke, Moonlight has won Best Picture," producer Jordan Horowitz said. "Warren, what did you do?!" host Jimmy Kimmel mock-exclaimed at co-presenter Warren Beatty.


What happened, or so it goes right now, was that Beatty had acquired the duplicate Best Actress envelope (apparently they make two, one for the winner and one for posterity) and, according to him, that's why he gave the card such a long look ("I wasn't trying to be funny," the legendary actor explained) before co-presenter Faye Dunaway went ahead and read "La La Land" off the card. (Who wants to bet that hand-off is going to be slowed down and endlessly scrutinized for days to come?)

We'd certainly never seen anything like it. Even Kimmel couldn't come up with anything truly brilliant to say, though he handled the inexplicable moment as well as he could, blaming first Steve Harvey and then himself for mucking it all up. "I think you guys should keep it anyway," Kimmel encouraged the La La Land team. "Why can't we just give out a whole bunch of 'em?"

Proof of just how shell-shocked Kimmel was: Matt Damon wasn't left holding the bag.

Aaron Poole / ©A.M.P.A.S.

2. La-Di Da: After all the fantasy and magic, and all that dreaming...La La Land was just as subject to the mockeries of human existence as anything. Mia and Seb could relate.

About an hour into the ceremony, the film's chance at Oscar history was behind it, the awards for costume design, sound editing and sound mixing having gone elsewhere and therefore erasing the possibility of a record 12 Oscars. It could only tie TitanicBen-Hur and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King with 11 by that point—and it did not.

Instead, the widely beloved musical took home a respectable six Oscars, including Best Actress for Emma Stone and Best Director for Damien Chazelle.

And while those wins are in no way diminished in the long run...it's really hard to not be thinking right now about the one that got away. 

Oscars 2017 Red Carpet Arrivals
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

3. History in Our Midst: Back to Moonlight's momentous victory. Barry Jenkins became the first African-American to direct a Best Picture winner (12 Years a Slave helmer Steve McQueen was the first black director to achieve that, but he's British), and the film's structure and subject matter overall—a modern-day coming-of-age story about a young gay black man, told in three parts—marked a first for the Academy. Jenkins also shared the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar with playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, who penned the source material, In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.

"Very clearly, even in my dreams this could not be true. But to hell with dreams, 'cause this is true!...It is true, it's not fake...My love to La La Land. My love to everybody. Man!" an exhausted Jenkins said.

Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor for Moonlight, his portrayal of a drug dealer whose heart goes out to a troubled young boy being short on minutes but long on effectiveness, and became the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar. And Viola Davis, already the first African-American woman to be nominated for three Oscars, became the first black actress to have an Emmy, a Tony and now an Oscar (all for acting) for her role in Fences as a long-suffering housewife whose gestating discontent explodes like a gut-punching geyser as a result of her husband's infidelity.


4. Oscar is for Affleck: In the end, Casey Affleck went the distance and got what he deserved—a Best Actor Oscar for his stunning, so nuanced you almost take it for granted portrayal of a man completely unmoored by grief but still putting one foot in front of the other every day in Manchester by the Sea. Affleck won the Golden Globe, as well as a host of critics honors and the Independent Spirit Award just this weekend, but Denzel Washington won the Screen Actors Guild Award—and frankly, it seemed as though the tide was turning against Casey for off-screen reasons. Not to mention, Denzel gave one hell of a performance in Fences, which he also directed.

But with director Kenneth Lonergan also winning Best Original Screenplay for Manchester (a win that entailed beating La La Land), the idea that Affleck was going to win slowly came back into focus. 

"Dammit," Affleck whispered as the moment sunk in. He credited Washington for being the first to teach him how to act (he cited Denzel at the Globes too), expressed his gratitude at being part of such a prestigious acting community, thanked Lonergan and producer/longtime pal Matt Damon, who was originally going to star in Manchester, and, finally, big brother Ben Affleck.

"Ben, I love you. You ain't heavy," Casey said, going for the inside joke, as Ben applauded proudly. (Of course, this time he forgot to thank his kid because there's always going to be something.)

Oscar Records & Milestones

5. Out of the Woods?: Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge won two Oscars, for sound mixing and film editing—which is often a precursor to a Best Picture win, and served as just enough mid-show intrigue to make us lean that much more forward in our chairs when the last award of the night was announced. (Ultimately, of course, we fell right out of our chairs anyway.)

Gibson took a few knocks from host Jimmy Kimmel, but if was far less grief than was directed at President Trump and the most dishonored man of the night, Matt Damon. And the embattled actor and filmmaker, who 10 years ago was more or less blackballed from polite society, seemed to be having a great time rolling with the punches. It must have felt nice for him to be back in the ring at all.


6. Welcome to La La Land: Has anyone ever had a better trip to Hollywood than Gary from Chicago and his fiancée Vicki? In one of the truly inspired bits of the night, Jimmy Kimmel welcomed into the Dolby Theater a dozen seemingly unsuspecting but probably thoroughly vetted sightseers from a Starline Tours bus who supposedly thought they were going to see an Oscar gowns exhibit—but ended up getting to hobnob with the front row full of stars at the Oscars instead.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

7. The Salesman Knocks: Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for The Salesman, having previously won in 2012 as well for A Separation. But this year he chose not to attend and this statement was read on his behalf:

"It's a great honor to be receiving this valuable award for the second time. I would like to thank the members of the Academy, my crew in Iran, my producer Alexandre Mallet-Guy...Amazon and my fellow nominees in the foreign film category. I'm sorry I'm not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of the other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S. Dividing the world into the 'us' and our 'enemies' categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression. Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others, an empathy which we need today more than ever."

For complete Oscars coverage, tune in to E! News at 7 p.m. and Fashion Police at 8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 27.