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The cringe-inducing confusion during the 2017 Oscars’ best picture announcement, in photos

89th Academy Awards Moonlight La La Land
Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
A lot going on here.
By Johnny Simon
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The moment of yesterday’s 89th Academy Awards ceremony came at the very end, at the climax of one of Hollywood’s most choreographed spectacles: when the makers of film ”La La Land” were called onstage to receive the award for Best Picture, only to find out that the actual winner was “Moonlight.”

While the kerfuffle on stage was awkward and strangely handled, the scene in the audience offered a full spectrum of human experience. Faces filled with joy and surprise contrasted to others shocked and dumbfounded by the unprecedented flub. Celebrities in the front rows, including Meryl Streep, Ben Affleck, Dwayne Johnson, Denzel Washington and Michelle Williams registered looks ranging from ecstasy to pure bafflement.

Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Confusion, delight and shock in the audience.
Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
The audience reacts to “Moonlight” being announced as best picture winner
Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Were you swooning like Meryl, smiling like Dwayne or gritting your teeth like Ben?

From backrow attendees who cannot fathom what just happened…

Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Too much to handle.

to the bemused A-listers who are just along for the ride . . .

Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Denzel seems fine.
Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Dwayne Johnson, just taking it in.

to whatever Lin-Manuel Miranda is going through here…

Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Lin-Manuel Miranda: distraught, concerned or simply moved? You decide.

. . .these photos reveal an amazing spectacle within a spectacle. Within the confines of an extraordinarily exclusive and stage-managed ceremony, it’s the unscripted moments that allow real human emotion to show its many faces.

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