Oscar Oddsmakers Weep Along with ‘La La Land’ Producers at Erroneous Best Picture Snafu

Posted on: February 27, 2017, 07:57h. 

Last updated on: February 27, 2017, 09:39h.

Online and overseas sportsbooks taking bets on the Best Picture winner at Sunday night’s Oscars in Hollywood naturally assumed their predictions had come true, as the Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone picture was the heavy favorite for the momentous award. William Hill, Paddy Power, and Coral all had “La La Land” at a 1-6 sure thing.

Academy Awards Best Picture Moonlight
The Academy Awards ended with a plot twist after the wrong Best Picture was announced, and online betting operators across the pond bore the brunt. (Chris Pizzello/Associated Press)

But once “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz reached the stage, he realized “Moonlight” had actually won. A card mixup from long-time Academy Award vote counting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was responsible for the shocking error, which caused confusion and mayhem among everyone on stage, including presenters Warran Beatty and Faye Dunaway.

“I’m sorry, there’s a mistake,” Horowitz explained. “‘Moonlight,’ you guys won Best Picture. This is not a joke.” Horowitz had to repeat the “This is not a joke” phrase several times before anyone would believe it.

Indeed, the 89th Academy Awards finished in a manner that could have seemingly only happened in Hollywood.

Beatty and Dunaway presented Best Picture: the two famed stars were given the honor of presenting the top Oscar in celebration of the 50th anniversary of “Bonnie and Clyde.” After opening the winning envelope, Beatty paused in what many thought was a moment to add suspense. It was later revealed they had been given the wrong card, but Dunaway ran with it, unaware, and announced “La La Land” as the winner.

Sportsbook Shakeup

“Moonlight,” a drama based in Miami, Florida, is the story of a young black American and his struggles being raised in a poor and drug-inflicted community. The film had won just one Oscar prior to Best Picture, though it was nominated in seven other categories.

There were a total of nine Best Picture nominees, and “Moonlight” came with the second-strongest odds. The film was the only somewhat reasonable candidate to upset “La La Land” at 5-1. “Manchester by the Sea” and “Hidden Figures” posted at 25-1, followed by “Lion” (90-1), and “Arrival,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hell or High Water,” and “Fences” all at 100-1.

The erroneous announcement was certainly a bad beat for the books. “La La Land” was such a big favorite that sites took bets on the field versus the assumed victor.

However, the oddsmakers got Best Actor right, with Casey Affleck in “Manchester by the Sea,” with odds at 4-7. They also correctly predicted Emma Stone’s win on 1-6 odds.

Not the First Time

Beatty and Dunaway’s goof was reminiscent of Steve Harvey’s Miss Universe announcement in 2015. In December of that year, the comedian wrongly announced the first runner-up as the new Miss Universe.

Harvey would later return to the stage to correctly identify Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach as the title recipient. In that instance, the host fessed up to the error, but at the Oscars last night, Dunaway exited the stage, while Beatty did his best to explain what happened.

Host Jimmy Kimmel concluded the evening by saying, “I blame myself for this. Let’s remember, it’s just an awards show.”

Not to the oddsmakers it wasn’t, but oh well.