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Oscars: 'Moonlight' wins best picture amid announcement chaos

Published: Updated:

The coming-of-age drama “Moonlight” is the winner of the best picture Academy Award.

The film won after the end of the awards ceremony was plunged into chaos after “La La Land” was mistakenly announced as the best picture winner.

Presenter Warren Beatty says he paused so long before the name was read because the envelope read Emma Stone, “La La Land.” Actress Faye Dunaway read the name “La La Land” after chiding Beatty for taking so long to read the winner.

The film tells the story of a boy's journey to adulthood through his rough upbringing in Miami. The film stars Naomi Harris as the boy's drug-addicted mother, and Mahershala Ali as a drug dealer-turned mentor for the boy.

“Moonlight” has provided some of the stiffest competition during Hollywood's awards season for the musical “La La Land,” which was nominated for a history-tying 14 Academy Awards.

Protest, boycotts and rallies swirled around Sunday's ceremony at the Dolby Theatre, hosted by ABC's Jimmy Kimmel.

Best actor went to Casey Affleck, who edged out Denzel Washington.

The Syrian war documentary “The White Helmets” has won the short documentary Academy Award.

The Netflix film focuses on the rescue workers who risk their lives to save Syrians affected by civil war. Director Orlando von Einsiedel urged Oscar attendees to stand up to demonstrate their support for a quick end to the Syrian civil war, which prompted a standing ovation.

Von Einsiedel also read a statement from the group's founder in which he thanked the academy for the recognition and stating that the organization had saved 81,000 lives.

Many of the group's members have been killed by Syrian President Bashar Assad's air forces. One of the film's cinematographers,

21-year-old Syrian Khaled Khateeb was unable to attend Sunday's ceremony after his entry into the United States was blocked.

Producer Joanna Natasegara told The Associated Press on the red carpet Sunday that the decision “sad and confusing.”

Department of Homeland Security correspondence reviewed by the AP showed that the 21-year-old was blocked because of “derogatory information” - a broad category that can include anything from terror connections to passport irregularities.

Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali won early Oscars on Sunday for their supporting roles in African-American stories “Fences” and “Moonlight” on a night where diversity, and US President Donald Trump, both loomed large.

Ali, and a tearful Davis, each winning their first Oscars, were among a record seven actors of color nominated for Academy Awards this year, in stark contrast to 2016 when there were none.

“O.J.: Made in America,” a series about the 1995 double murder trial of former footballer O.J. Simpson won best documentary.

Trump and actress Meryl Streep also took center stage on the movie industry's biggest night as host Jimmy Kimmel fired off political zingers after an awards season marked by celebrity opposition to the Republican president and his policies.

“I want to say thank you to President Trump. Remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?” quipped Kimmel in an apparent reference to Trump's crackdown on immigrants and travelers from seven majority Muslim nations.

Streep, 67, was given a standing ovation by the Oscar audience after Kimmel recalled how Trump had derided the actress as "overrated" after she attacked him at the Golden Globes ceremony in January.

“Meryl Streep has phoned it in for more than 50 films in the course of her lackluster career,” Kimmel quipped as triple Oscar winner Streep squirmed in her seat.

Several celebrities wore blue ribbons on Sunday in support of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) advocacy group that worked to get Trump's travel ban blocked in U.S. courts.

'ART HAS NO BORDERS'

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which votes on the Oscar winners, made no mention of Trump when she took the stage on Sunday.

But she told the audience of A-listers and the millions of people watching on television around the world that, "tonight is proof that art has no borders, art has no single language and art does not belong to a single faith. The power of art is that it transcends these things," she said.

With a leading 14 nominations, romantic musical “La La Land” had looked set to dance away with an armful of Academy Awards, including best picture at the end of the night, for its love letter to artistic ambition and Los Angeles itself.

A best picture win for "La La Land," starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a jazz pianist and a struggling actress, would be the first musical to win best picture at the Academy Awards since “Chicago” in 2003.

But the movie's chances of equaling the 11 Oscar record held by “Titanic,” “Ben-Hur,” and “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” appeared to have slipped away as the musical lost early technical awards for sound production.

With Reuters, AP