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Gaffe again: Oscars' 'In Memoriam' includes living producer

The best picture mix-up apparently wasn't the only gaffe at Sunday night's Academy Awards.

An Australian film producer says she's "alive and well" despite her photo's inclusion in the "In Memoriam" tribute at the Oscars.

Jan Chapman's photo was shown during the montage next to the name of Janet Patterson, an Australian costume designer who died in 2015.

Chapman tells Variety that prior to the awards, she urged Patterson's agency to "check any photograph which might be used." Chapman says she was told that "the Academy had it covered." She adds that it's "very disappointing that the error was not picked up."

Chapman and Patterson were both nominated for Oscars for their work on 1993's "The Piano."

The Academy didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Oscars mistake puts consulting firm's reputation in jeopardy

For 82 years, accounting and consulting firm PwC has enjoyed a reputational boon from handling the balloting process at the Academy Awards.

Now its hard-won image as a dependable partner is under threat.

The company has apologized for a colossal mistake at the 89th Academy Awards on Sunday night when actors Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty wrongly announced the top Oscar went to "La La Land," instead of "Moonlight."

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." The representatives from PwC, formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, eventually corrected the mistake on air but it's not clear yet how the wrong envelope ended up in the hands of the "Bonnie and Clyde" stars.

Whatever the reason, it's been a cue for endless jokes and hilarity around the world.

For London-headquartered PwC, it's anything but funny.

According to Nigel Currie, an independent London-based branding specialist with decades' worth of industry experience, this mistake is "as bad a mess-up as you could imagine."

"They had a pretty simple job to do and messed it up spectacularly," he said. "They will be in deep crisis talks on how to deal with it."

Brands go to extraordinary lengths to protect their image and reputation and to be seen as good corporate citizens. History is littered by examples when a hard-won reputation nosedives — from sporting legends Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong to business giants like BP following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster and Volkswagen after its emissions cheating scandal.

Crisis managers say PwC has no other option than to front-up immediately and explain exactly what happened to contain the damage to its reputation and brand and plot a way forward where there's no repeat.

"There will certainly have to be accounting for this error," said Jeremy Robinson-Leon, principal and chief operating officer at New York-based public relations firm Group Gordon. "The onus will be on PwC, assuming they stay as partners, to institute controls to ensure this doesn't happen again."

PwC, which originated in London over a century ago, was quick to apologize to the movies involved, Beatty, Dunaway and viewers, but has yet to fully explain what happened.

"The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and, when discovered, was immediately corrected," it said in a statement. "We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred."

In fact, it took over two minutes on air, during which time the "La La Land" team gave three acceptance speeches, before PwC corrected the mistake on stage.

PwC's representatives were Brian Cullinan, a partner at the firm — and, according to his bio on the company's website, a Matt Damon lookalike — and Martha Ruiz, the second woman to serve as a PwC Oscars tabulator.

Cullinan is the lead partner for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, including the annual balloting for the Oscars ceremony. He has been part of the balloting team since 2014.

Ruiz, a 19-year veteran at PwC who specializes in providing tax compliance and advisory services to entertainment clients in southern California, joined Cullinan as the Oscars balloting co-leader in 2015.

In a promotional video on the company's website ahead of Sunday's show, Cullinan said he and Ruiz are the only two who knew who the winners were on the night of the awards.

"There are 24 categories. We have the winners in sealed envelopes that we hold and maintain throughout the evening and hand those to the presenters before they walk out on stage," he said.

According to Mike Davies, PwC's director of global communications, both Cullinan and Ruiz would have had a briefcase on either side of the auditorium to hand out the envelope for the category to be announced. Each briefcase would have had one envelope of each category winner.

In his remarks before the show, Cullinan had said PwC's relationship with the Academy Awards is testament to the firm's reputation in the market for being "a firm of integrity, of accuracy and confidentiality and all of those things that are really key to the role we have with the Academy in counting these ballots."

"But I think it's really symbolic of how we're thought of beyond this role and how our clients think of us and I think it's something we take very seriously and take a lot of pride in."

Robinson-Leon said it was important to remember that counting ballots is not PwC's core business but that it will have to be serious about dealing with the aftermath of Sunday's embarrassment and media fallout.

"This can happen once and there will be relative forgiveness but it can't happen twice," said Group Gordon's Robinson-Leon. "If they were to do this again, that could have an impact on the brand. If this is an isolated incident, the long-term impact on the brand will be minimal."

Steve Harvey reacts to epic Oscars gaffe

Oscars flap eclipses 'Moonlight' win, but civility reigns

The 89th Academy Awards got off on the right foot, with a song and dance, but ended with the most stunning mistake ever to befall the esteemed awards show when the best picture Oscar was presented to the wrong movie. Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, holding an incorrect envelope, wrongly presented the top prize to "La La Land" instead of "Moonlight."

The moment at the conclusion of the Sunday-night show was so jaw-dropping, it eclipsed everything else in a ceremony that was packed to the brim with Donald Trump jabs, fun stunts, heartfelt positivity and a stunning upset by "Moonlight" over what had been a "La La" juggernaut throughout the awards season. Yet somehow, even the embarrassing moment pivoted into grace.

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 on the back of the stage, out of sight from the television cameras.

"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. "It was unfortunate that things happened as they did but, goddamn, we won best picture."

Oscar tabulators PwC, in their 83rd year providing the service to the academy, later apologized in a statement and are investigating why it happened.

There's no denying, though, that "Moonlight's" win over "La La Land" was a massive upset, made only more pointed by the envelope gaffe. Chazelle's candy-colored musical was widely presumed to be a shoo-in for the top prize after its record-tying 14 nominations and a relative sweep of the awards season. The film still won six Oscars, including best director for Chazelle, who at 32 became the youngest ever to take the prize, and for score, song ("City of Stars") and actress to Emma Stone.

The actress, who pledged her deep love of "Moonlight," said later, "Is that the craziest Oscar moment of all time? Cool!"

The best picture mix-up apparently wasn't the only gaffe at the Oscars. An Australian film producer's photo was mistakenly included in the "In Memoriam" tribute. Jan Chapman's photo was shown with the name of Janet Patterson, an Australian costume designer who died in 2015. The Academy didn't respond to a request for comment.

The academy usually throws awards at films that gaze lovingly at Hollywood, but Barry Jenkins' heartfelt coming-of-age drama seduced academy voters in the end — a subtle tide change perhaps informed by both a prickly political climate and an urgent imperative to honor more diverse films after two consecutive years of OscarsSoWhite.

Diversity could be found in every corner of the awards this year, with supporting acting wins for "Moonlight's" Mahershala Ali and "Fences'" Viola Davis, although the best actor category proved to be a bit of an upset when Casey Affleck won for "Manchester by the Sea" over Denzel Washington of "Fences," who had picked up momentum in recent weeks.

The improvement followed efforts by Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs to diversify the membership of the largely white, older and male film academy. "Tonight is proof that art has no borders, no single language and does not belong to a single faith," said Isaacs.

Davis gave a particularly powerful speech in which she praised the late "Fences" playwright August Wilson who, she said, "Exhumed and exalted the ordinary people." Kimmel said later that Davis, "Just got nominated for an Emmy for that speech."

Ezra Edelman, whose nearly eight-hour epic "O.J.: Made in America" took best documentary, dedicated the award to the victims of the famous crime, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

Rich Moore, one of the three directors of Disney's best animated film winner "Zootopia," described the movie as about "tolerance being more powerful than fear of the other."

The majority of speeches were moving and personal and generally in praise of art's ability to create empathy in the world, including Jenkins' in his win for adapted screenplay, who said, "All you people out there who feel like there isn't a mirror out there for you, the Academy has your back, the ACLU has your back, and for the next four years we will not leave you alone, we will not forget you." But not one speech came close to Meryl Streep's Golden Globes barnburner.

"Personally, I didn't say anything because my head was completely blank," Affleck said backstage of his not political speech.

Instead, politics stayed largely with host Jimmy Kimmel, who kept his barbs coy and irreverent, stating at the start that he wasn't the man to unite the country.

The host peppered the evening with digs at President Trump, at one point asking the crowd to stand for the "overrated Meryl Streep," and, later, for any news outlet with the word "Times" in its name to leave, saying, "We have no tolerance for fake news."

Kimmel even jokingly thanked the president for shifting the focus of the night.

"Remember last year when it seemed like the Oscars were racist?" he said in the opening.

The evening's most blunt protests against Trump came not from the A-list stars but from foreigners, a few of whom were not even in attendance and could communicate their sentiments only through statements.

Kimmel, as if predicting that this would be the case, said early that the Oscars are watched by 225 countries "that now hate us."

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, whose "The Salesman" won best foreign film, his second win in the category, did not attend the ceremony in protest of Trump's travel ban to seven predominantly Muslim nations.

Anousheh Ansari, an Iranian astronaut, read a statement from Farhadi.

"I'm sorry I'm not with you tonight," it read. "My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S."

Gael Garcia Bernal, the Mexican actor, while presenting an award, also declared: "As a migrant worker, as a Mexican, and as a human being, I am against any wall."

But, of course, the big best picture mistake will be the thing that history remembers about the 89th Academy Awards.

"Let's remember this is just an awards show," Kimmel said at the close. "I knew I would screw this show up, I really did. I promise I'll never come back."


AP Film Writer Jake Coyle contributed from Los Angeles.

Oscars best picture gaffe dominates after-party chatter

Academy Awards after parties are always swanky and star-studded. But this year, even disparate celebrations had a conversation topic in common: The best-picture gaffe that saw Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway award the night's top prize to "La La Land," only to correct themselves and present it to "Moonlight." The unprecedented error dominated post-party talk.

ELTON JOHN AIDS FOUNDATION VIEWING PARTY: The mix-up rocked the annual Elton John AIDS Foundation viewing party. There were a few cheers when "La La Land" was announced as the best picture winner, and then gasps and screams when the mistake unfolded on stage and "Moonlight" was revealed to have won.

"Wow. Thank (expletive) we didn't have Warren Beatty doing the auction," said Elton John to laughs after the telecast ended. But he added that his heart went out to the makers of "La La Land" for the painful error.

Laverne Cox, Sharon Stone and the cast of "Transparent" were among those urging attendees to the swanky affair to donate even more to the foundation, which has worked to help those dealing with AIDS and HIV for more than two decades.

John told guests that the foundation's mission had gotten harder with the new political landscape.

"People are at risk of losing their health care," said John.

"We're seeing a darker discourse on race," gay rights and more "happen before our eyes," he added.

An auction of items including a photograph of Carly Simon and other art helped the foundation raise more than $7 million during the evening.

The night's highlight was a raucous, soulful performance by the Alabama band St. Paul and Broken Bones. The band — joined by John himself for a spell — had the audience riveted.

"You can't beat that," beamed lead singer Paul Janeway.

— Nekesa Moody, @nekesamumbi

GOVERNORS BALL: The first stop for many stars attending the Oscar show is the Governors Ball, a posh soiree held in the same complex as the ceremony, just upstairs from the Dolby Theatre. The ballroom was dressed in white and champagne colors, with vases of red roses dotted throughout.

The best picture gaffe delayed host Jimmy Kimmel's arrival, but the Oscar host was beaming when he finally arrived with pregnant wife Molly McNearney. Other show guests who made their way to the official after party included the cast of "Moonlight" and director Barry Jenkins, Viola Davis, Lucas Hedges, Vince Vaughn and Pharrell Williams.

Since most show guests had nothing to eat but candy dropped from the ceiling during the show, consuming calories is a top priority for many after the show. The Governors Ball is catered by Wolfgang Puck, a waiters passed out comfort food including macaroni and cheese, individual pot-pies and mini cheeseburger sliders. A dessert bar at the back of the room offered chocolate Oscars.

The Governors Ball is also where Oscar winners can have their nameplates attached to their statuettes. A private engraving station — open to Oscar winners only— stood ready to customize their statuettes.

But everyone was welcome to take to the dance floor at the center of the room. Broadway star Cynthia Erivo performed, followed by a DJ spinning Prince and Michael Jackson.

— Sandy Cohen, @APSandy

VANITY FAIR PARTY: The big botch of best picture was of course the most popular topic of the night by far.

Faye Dunaway, the one who actually presented the misplaced award in the first place, stood at a table nursing a cocktail at the Vanity Fair party in Beverly Hills, chatting with various men as though nothing amiss had happened at all.

Seth Rogen stood with his crew outside recounting the play-by-play of the fiasco, Rogen's unmistakable laugh bubbling up throughout the tale.

Those connected with "Moonlight," including lead actor Trevante Jones and co-screenwriter Tarell Alvin McCraney, got a strange mix of congratulations and consolations as they walked the room, with admirers declaring their happiness at the victory and regret over the strange way it happened.

But the strange ending of the ceremony did little to dim the mood of the ridiculously star-studded party.

Partiers engaged in the annual ritual of ending their awards-season fast with In N Out burgers, which are passed around the party as though they were fancy Hors d'oeuvres. CEO Jeff Bezos, whose monolithic company is now in the fine film business, appeared to enjoy his movie mogul role, holding court with several people around him.

Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst, 'Fargo' co-stars who are now engaged, huddled together like they were the only people in the room.

— Andrew Dalton, @andyjamesdalton

Oscar-winning Syrian group hopes award will stop 'massacres'

A young volunteer in the Syrian search-and-rescue group featured in an Academy Award-winning documentary said Monday he hopes the award will help stop "massacres" in his country, and described a U.S. decision to block him from traveling to Los Angeles for the Oscars as "America's loss."

Khaled Khateeb, a 21-year-old cinematographer and volunteer with the Syrian Civil Defense, told The Associated Press from Turkey that although he had expected the Netflix documentary "The White Helmets" to win, he stayed awake all night smoking shisha with friends and watching the ceremony.

"It is a media prize, it's not a political prize," he said. "But still it sheds light on the tragedy of the Syrian people. Maybe it will help stop some of the massacres," he added. "It is a strong movie."

Khateeb was scheduled to arrive on Saturday in Los Angeles on a Turkish Airlines flight departing from Istanbul, but his plans were upended after U.S. officials reported finding "derogatory information" regarding him. According to internal Trump administration correspondence seen by The Associated Press, the Department of Homeland Security decided at the last minute to block him from traveling to Los Angeles for the Oscars.

"I tried and it didn't work," Khateeb said of his hopes to attend Sunday's ceremony, where the film was named best documentary short. "It is America's loss!"

Raed Saleh, the head of the Syrian Civil Defense — widely known as the White Helmets — said he hopes the award will inspire his volunteers to keep up their work. He called on governments around the world "to stop the bloodshed of the Syrian people."

Speaking in a video recorded in southern Turkey, he quoted from the Quran: "Whoever saves a life — it is as if he has saved mankind entirely."

The film focuses on Syrian first-responders who risk their lives to save people from the civil war, now in its sixth year. It captures the volunteers as they race to rescue people from the rubble of airstrikes, knowing that they themselves could be bombed in a so-called "double tap" attack.

Many of the group's members have been killed by Syrian government airstrikes, and they were among the last rescuers working in eastern Aleppo when it fell to government forces in December after one of the most devastating battles of the war. The group was also nominated for last year's Nobel Peace Prize.

Director Orlando von Einsiedel and producer Joanna Natasegara accepted the Oscar, but devoted most of their short time on stage to sharing a statement from Khateeb.

"We're so grateful that this film has highlighted our work to the world," said the statement, read by von Einsiedel.

He invited "anyone here who hears me to stop the bloodshed in Syria and around the world," and to "show that we all care that this war ends as quickly as possible."


Associated Press writer Lindsey Bahr in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

A snafu for the ages tops Oscar's notable moments

As for us, forget everything that came before it — the political barbs and the calls for inclusiveness, the emotional crescendos and the floating cookies. The moment we'll be discussing for years to come will be the Great Mistake of Oscars 2017, when "La La Land" was shockingly named the best picture winner, to be corrected only after the film's producers had made joyful speeches. Only then was the rightful winner, "Moonlight," announced.

Here's are some of the evening's most notable moments — ending with the big one:



Justin Timberlake had promised a politics-free opening and he delivered, getting the party going with a high-energy medley. He started in the lobby and danced through the aisles as he sang his Oscar-nominated song "Can't Stop the Feeling," high-fiving people like Denzel Washington and getting A-list actors up and dancing. Kimmel joked that if Timberlake's former 'N Sync bandmates were watching, they'd probably let him back into the band.



In his monologue, Kimmel made pointed barbs about nemesis Matt Damon, and the age of best director nominee (and eventual winner) Damien Chazelle, 32, of "La La Land." But he saved his most pointed jokes for the actress President Donald Trump famously called "overrated" — the much-decorated Meryl Streep, nominated for the 20th time. Kimmel said Streep had "stood the test of time for her many uninspiring and overrated performances" and "phoned it in for more than 50 films." Streep, who has been unstinting in her criticism of Trump, received a standing ovation.



She said only two words — "thank you" — but it was a stirring moment. Former NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, 98, an inspiration for the film "Hidden Figures," was wheeled onstage to a thunderous ovation. She was introduced by Taraji P. Henson, who played her, and the other two actresses who played female black mathematicians in the Oscar-nominated picture, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae.



Viola Davis gave one of the more emotional speeches of the night when she won best supporting actress for "Fences."

"I became an artist, and thank God I did, because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life," she said, in tears.

Davis had previously won a Tony award in the same role in the August Wilson play, also starring opposite Denzel Washington. "Here's to August Wilson who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people," she said.



If there was extra applause for the sound editing award, it was because Kevin O'Connell had won on his 21st try — after not being in contention since 2007. It had been the longest losing streak in Oscar history. O'Connell won for his work on "Hacksaw Ridge."

"I can't even tell you the experience that it was for me," O'Connell said backstage, of finally winning. "It's the greatest feeling I've had in my entire life."



The most political speech of the night came from a winner who wasn't present. When "The Salesman" from Iran, directed by Asghar Farhadi, won best foreign-language film, Iranian astronaut Anousheh Ansari accepted the award on his behalf; Farhadi had stayed home to protest Trump's travel ban. "My absence is out of respect for the people of my country," Farhadi said in the statement, "and those of other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S."

It was the second Oscar for Farhadi, who previously won in the same category for "A Separation" in 2012.

"Dividing the world into the 'us' and 'our enemies' categories creates fear," he said. "A deceitful justification for aggression and war."



Not all Hollywood bus tours are worth their while. THIS one was.

An unsuspecting group of tourists got a trip right into the Oscar ceremony Sunday night. Kimmel told the Dolby Theatre audience that the group was told they were going to stop at an exhibit of Oscar gowns and tuxedos. "But we didn't tell them," Kimmel said, "that people would be in them."

The lights went down in the theater, then came up as the group walked in to cheers from Hollywood's royalty.

Among the group was Gary Cole of Chicago who quickly became a trending hashtag on Twitter — #GaryFromChicago — and the Chicago Bulls offered him tickets to a game.



At the Golden Globes, they serve dinner. At the Oscars, people are hungry. And so Kimmel and producers delivered candy, popcorn, and later, cookies too, which came soaring down from the rafters in little bags. Kimmel quipped that maybe to save time, the Oscars should be handed out this way next year. (Would that have prevented the best-picture snafu, one wonders?)



Winners often thank their moms, but Benj Pasek, one of the best original song winners from "La La Land," had an especially endearing shoutout for his mother. "I want to thank my mom who is amazing and my date tonight and she let me quit the JCC soccer league to be in a school musical," he said. "So this is dedicated to all the kids who sing in the rain and all the moms who let them." Another mom who had a good night: Lin-Manuel Miranda's, who heard Kimmel announce to the world that her son was an American national treasure. (Miranda, an original song nominee for "Moana," was denied his EGOT, however, when he lost to "City of Stars" from "La La Land."



Yes, Chazelle won best director for his exuberant direction of "La La Land." Casey Affleck won best actor for his searing performance in "Manchester By the Sea," and Emma Stone for her luminous work in "La La Land." But then ... came that mess-up of blockbuster proportions, when Warren Beatty was somehow handed the wrong envelope. Now we know why Beatty had such a strange look on his face as his presenting partner Faye Dunaway read the name of the winner — "La La Land." Then came the correction, and gasps, and whistles, and general chaos.

As a stunned "Moonlight" director Barry Jenkins said: "Oh, my goodness."

Oops, our bad: 'Moonlight' really won in major mess-up

It was one of the most awkward moments in the history of the Oscars, of television, in entertainment, heck maybe in American history.

And somehow Warren Beatty, Hollywood's ultimate smooth leading man, was at the center of it, and the accounting firm that is responsible for the integrity of Oscar voting apologized and was vowing a full investigation.

The producers of "La La Land" were nearly done with their acceptance speeches for Best Picture, the Oscar broadcast's credits sequence about to roll, when a stir of whispers began on stage. Moments later "La La Land" producer Jordan Horowitz returned to the microphone and said "Moonlight won Best Picture" and insisting that "this is not a joke."

The collective jaw of the crowd at the Dolby Theatre — and of America — remained dropped long after they became convinced it was no joke, but what academy historians later called an apparently unprecedented Oscar error. The accounting firm PwC, formerly Price Waterhouse Coopers, said early Monday that Beatty and Dunaway had been given the wrong envelope.

"We sincerely apologize to 'Moonlight,' 'La La Land,' Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for Best Picture," a statement from the firm said. "The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred."

The statement came several hours after the chaotic ending, which featured Beatty returning to the mic to explain that he had opened the envelope and he was confused when it read "Emma Stone, La La Land." He had shown it to co-presenter Faye Dunaway briefly, as though he wanted her to read it, which she did, apparently assuming the Emma Stone part was off but the "La La" part correct.

"It's one of the strangest things that's ever happened to me," Beatty said backstage. "Thank God there were two of us up there," Dunaway responded.

The actress then asked Beatty, "Who else should I tell?"

"Everybody," he said.

At that point, a security guard tried to take the real envelope and Beatty said, "Security is not getting this. I'm giving it to (Moonlight director) Barry Jenkins at a later time." Beatty also refused to show it to anyone else.

ABC News, tweeting about the ceremony broadcast on its network, said the envelope held by Beatty read, "Actress in a leading role." A close-up photo of Beatty onstage verified that.

PwC has counted votes and provides winner envelopes for the Oscars and has done so for more than 80 years.

When the firm's representatives realized the mistake, they raced onstage to right it, but too late, officials told The Associated Press.

The result was a bizarre scene with the entire cast of both movies standing together on stage exchanging sympathetic awkward stares and hugs.

The crowd had to rouse itself from its stunned stupor to try to give "Moonlight" its just due for winning the big award. And as the credits rolled, usually bringing sweet relief after a long night, people appeared hesitant to leave in their disbelief.

"It made a very special feeling even more special, but not in the way I expected," a bemused Jenkins, co-writer and director of "Moonlight," said backstage.

"The folks at 'La La Land' were so gracious," he added. "I can't imagine being in their position and having to do that."

Filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan, who won a best screenplay award for "Manchester by the Sea," cracked wise backstage: "It turns out that we actually won best picture, which we're really happy about," he said.

The ceremony's chaotic scene immediately raced to the top of all-time Oscar moments, far more stunning than the nude man who raced across the stage in 1974 as part of the "streaking" fad.

And it immediately evoked Steve Harvey's recent gaffe of naming the wrong Miss Universe winner.

The Miss Universe Twitter account quickly let the Oscars know they felt their pain.

"Have your people call our people, we know what to do," the tweet read.

That was the beginning of a Tweet pile-on that may be the biggest of all time, with many declaring that "La La Land" won the popular vote while "Moonlight" won the electoral college.

But this stage, and this audience, were far, far bigger and are likely to last far, far longer in collective memory.


AP writers Lynn Elber, Beth Harris and Lindsey Bahr contributed to this report.

Iranians cheer Farhadi's Oscar as rebuke of Trump policies

The Oscar for Asghar Farhadi's "The Salesman" energized many of the filmmaker's fellow Iranians, who saw the win for best foreign film Monday as a pointed rebuke to the Trump administration and its efforts to deny them entry into the U.S.

Farhadi refused to attend the Academy Awards, announcing after the temporary U.S. travel ban was initially imposed last month for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries that he would skip it even if an exception was made for him. Iran was one of the seven countries affected by the measure, which has since been blocked from being carried out by a federal court ruling.

"The Salesman" — about a couple performing Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" and their attempts to find peace and justice after the wife is attacked at their Tehran apartment — had become a rallying cry for immigrant rights after the travel ban.

The six nominated directors in the foreign language category had put out a joint statement ahead of the award decrying what they called the climate of "fanaticism" in the United States and dedicating the award to the promotion of "unity and understanding" regardless of who won.

Film critic Esmaeil Mihandoost, who wrote a book about Farhadi, told The Associated Press that thanks to the boycott, the film director has now "more influence on public opinion than a politician."

"It created an exceptional opportunity for criticism" of Trump's policy, he added Monday.

The award was the second Oscar for Farhadi, after his film "A Separation" won in the same category for 2012.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he saw the prize as taking a stance against Trump's executive order. "Proud of Cast and Crew of "The Salesman" for Oscar and stance against #MuslimBan. Iranians have represented culture and civilization for millennia," he tweeted in English.

Vice President Ishaq Jahangiri praised Farhadi both for the award and for boycotting the ceremony, calling it a "priceless action."

State radio and television briefly reported on Farhadi's Oscar, while Tehran film daily Banifilm ran an op-ed saying that Trump had "probably never imagined what contribution the travel ban would have for Farhadi's film." The trade paper said the executive order had likely propelled "The Salesman" to victory.

Trump's victory has prompted concern among many in Iran, particularly in the wake of a 2015 nuclear deal with the U.S. and other world powers that led to the lifting of crippling economic sanctions. The Trump administration earlier this month said it was putting Iran "on notice" after it test-fired a ballistic missile.

Many Iranians learned of the Oscar win from social media.

"I am proud of this," Mahbod Shirvani, a 19-year-old music student said outside the campus of Tehran University. "It shattered the U.S president's stance on Muslim nations. It showed that American people and artists are against Trump's policies."

Davood Kazemi, 21, who studies painting, said the "award showed Trump cannot stop international figures and he cannot thwart artists' solidarity that has formed, regardless of race, nationality and religion."

Iranian news websites published cartoonist Bozorgmehr Hosseinpour's sketch depicting Farhadi playing chess and using a small Oscar statue to knock out an unseen opponent's last chess piece, a figure resembling Trump.

In a statement read out at the Oscars ceremony on his behalf by Anousheh Ansari, an Iranian-American astronaut, Farhadi said the empathy filmmakers can foster is needed today more than ever. Ansari was joined onstage by another accomplished Iranian-American, Firouz Naderi, a former NASA director.

"I'm sorry I'm not with you tonight," Farhadi's statement read. "My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations who 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," it said.


Associated Press writer Linsey Bahr in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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