Jewish ‘La La Land’ producer takes starring role in Oscars gaffe
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Jewish ‘La La Land’ producer takes starring role in Oscars gaffe

Despite losses for Jordan Horowitz and Natalie Portman, Jewish Hollywood stars still score big at Academy Awards

(L-R) Prior to learning of a presentation error, 'La La Land' producers Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt accept the Best Picture award for 'La La Land' (later awarded to actual Best Picture winner 'Moonlight') onstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images via JTA)
(L-R) Prior to learning of a presentation error, 'La La Land' producers Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt accept the Best Picture award for 'La La Land' (later awarded to actual Best Picture winner 'Moonlight') onstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images via JTA)

“La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz was in the midst of his acceptance speech for winning the Best Picture award at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles when he found out that all was not right for his big moment.

He was a stand-in for the night’s actual big winner.

“Moonlight” was named Best Picture at the 2017 Academy Awards two minutes after the cast of the film “La La Land” arrived on stage having been mistakenly announced by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty as the award winners.

The presenters, it turned out, had been given the wrong envelope by tabulators PwC, in this case the one awarding Emma Stone for best actress for her role in “La La Land.” It was not immediately clear how the wrong envelope ended up in the hands of the “Bonnie and Clyde” stars.

Horowitz, holding someone else’s statuette, realized the mistake when he was approached onstage by Academy security in the closing minutes of the Sunday night broadcast from Los Angeles.

“There’s a mistake,” Horowitz said into the microphone onstage. “This is not a joke, ‘Moonlight’ has won best picture.” He then flashed for the cameras the card from which Dunaway and Beatty should have read.

"La La Land" producer Jordan Horowitz (L) shows the card reading Best Film 'Moonlight" next to US actor Warren Beatty after the latter mistakingly read "La La Land" initially at the 89th Oscars on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON)
“La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz (L) shows the card reading Best Film ‘Moonlight” next to US actor Warren Beatty after the latter mistakingly read “La La Land” initially at the 89th Oscars on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON)

“I’m going to be really proud to hand this to my friends from ‘Moonlight,’” Horowitz said, raising the golden Oscar statuette that he had been handed.

Actor Ryan Gosling (R) and actress Emma Stone, winner of Best Actress for 'La La Land' backstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images/AFP)
Actor Ryan Gosling (R) and actress Emma Stone, winner of Best Actress for ‘La La Land’ backstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images/AFP)

As confusion and bafflement overwhelmed those in the Dolby Theatre and at home on their couches, “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins and “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle shared a hug at the back of the stage, out of sight from the television cameras.

“I wasn’t trying to be funny,” Beatty explained, saying he had seen the name Emma Stone from “La La Land” when he opened his envelope.

“The folks of ‘La La Land’ were so gracious. I can’t imagine being in their position and having to do that,” Jenkins told reporters backstage afterward. “It was unfortunate that things happened as they did but, goddamn, we won best picture.”

The cast of “La La Land” still took home six Oscars, after being nominated for 14, tying the record set by “All About Eve” and “Titanic.”

Hours later, Horowitz, who was cheered for being a good sport, said on twitter that he was “Humbled,” congratulating “Moonlight” again.

Among those to hop on stage to accept the Oscar for “Moonlight” was producer Jeremy Kleiner, who like Horowitz is a Member of the Tribe.

Emma Stone won Best Actress for her performance in “La La Land,” beating Jewish actresses Natalie Portman and Isabelle Huppert, and Casey Affleck won Best Actor for his role in “Manchester By the Sea”; in the category of Best Supporting Actress, Viola Davis won for her role in “Fences,” and Mahershala Ali won for his performance in “Moonlight.”

During his acceptance speech, Ali thanked his teacher Zelda Fichandler, a Jewish stage producer, director and educator who was chair of the graduate acting program and Master Teacher of Acting and Directing at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

Chazelle, who won Best Director, grew up in a Catholic household in Princeton, New Jersey, but attended Hebrew school for four years after his parents became dissatisfied with his religious education at a church Sunday school.

(L-R) Songwriters Justin Paul, Benj Pasek and Justin Hurwitz accept Best Original Song for 'City of Stars' from 'La La Land' onstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images/AFP)
(L-R) Songwriters Justin Paul, Benj Pasek and Justin Hurwitz accept Best Original Song for ‘City of Stars’ from ‘La La Land’ onstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images/AFP)

Composter Justin Hurwitz, Chazelle’s Jewish roommate at Harvard University, won for Best Original Score and for Best Original song for “City of Stars,” from “La La Land.” Benj Pasek, who is Jewish, and Justin Paul wrote the song’s lyrics. During the acceptance speeches Pasek thanked his mother, who he said “let me quit the JCC soccer league to be in a school musical.”

Kenneth Lonergan, whose mother and stepfather are Jewish, took home an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for “Manchester By the Sea.” He had also been nominated for best director.

Filmmaker Ezra Edelman attends the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images/AFP)
Filmmaker Ezra Edelman attends the 2017 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images/AFP)

Ezra Edelman, who with Caroline Waterlow won in the category Best Documentary Feature for “O.J.: Made in America,” is the son of Marian Wright Edelman and Peter Edelman, among the founders of the New Israel Fund. Ezra Edelman also serves on the board of Americans for Peace Now.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” based on the 2001 book by Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling, which features two Jewish characters, took an Oscar in the Best Costume Design category.

Among the actors who died since the last Academy Awards ceremony were Jewish thespians Gene Wilder, Anton Yelchin, and Carrie Fisher.

AP and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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