There’s only one thing people of the Internet love more than an absolutely epic mistake on live television — conspiracy theories about how it could have happened.
A few hours after Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announced “La La Land” as best picture at the Academy Awards (when the trophy actually belonged to “Moonlight”), PricewaterhouseCoopers, the longtime accounting firm in charge of the Oscar ballots, took responsibility and released an apology statement. Dunaway and Beatty were apparently given the envelope and card for the best actress category, which read “Emma Stone, ‘La La Land.’ ” Thus, the confusion.
“The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected,” the statement read in part. “We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred.”
Okay. Sure. But social media had other ideas: What if it wasn’t just a simple mix-up? On ABC’s official Oscars “After Party” special, before there was more information, host Anthony Anderson also seemed convinced it was all a conspiracy. Here are some of the theories floated in the early hours of Monday morning:
1. This was an especially mean prank from Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel.
The late-night host is famous for his practical jokes, from his YouTube hoaxes (the twerking girl on fire, the wolf at the Sochi Olympics); to urging parents to pretend they ate their kids’ Halloween candy; to his holiday prank war with his neighbors, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt. So … couldn’t this just be a way to make his Oscars gig really, really memorable?
Kimmel really upped his prank game from "sorry I ate your Halloween candy, kid" to "jk you didn't win the Oscars"
— David Pierce (@pierce) February 27, 2017
classic jimmy kimmel prank
— brian feldman (@bafeldman) February 27, 2017
@jimmykimmel that was a really mean prank – to both La La Land and Moonlight.
— Charlie Roxbee (@buy2andsave) February 27, 2017
this was kimmel's best prank tbh
— Lana Berry (@Lana) February 27, 2017
2. It’s all Leonardo DiCaprio’s fault.
Some eagle-eyed viewers noticed that Leonardo DiCaprio, who announced best actress, didn’t give Stone her card when she won. Uh oh — could he be responsible?
Later, Stone said she was in possession of the card; which is actually plausible, as there are two cards printed for each category. Either way, time for some suspicions about DiCaprio’s role in this madness.
LEO CARRIED THAT CARD OFFSTAGE PUT IT DOWN WHEN HE SAW WARREN AND WARREN PICKED IT UP
Plot thickens all the way back to Leonardo https://t.co/VvYo8lmCia
— Laura June (@laura_june) February 27, 2017
The Oscars fiasco was Leonardo DiCaprio's fault. He never gave Emma Stone her envelope and it ended up back on stage. Take away his Oscar!
— Mitch Pollock (@pollock_mitch) February 27, 2017
Hey, maybe Leonardo DiCaprio laid the Best Actress card on top of the Best Picture card while walking off stage? It's his fault. #Moonlight
— Mona (Mo) Tracy (@MoZone) February 27, 2017
3. This was a prank from Matt Damon on Jimmy Kimmel.
Throughout the entire ceremony, Kimmel mercilessly teased Damon, extending their years-long “feud.” Toward the end of the show, the announcer referred to Damon as Ben Affleck’s “guest” when they presented an award, and music played over Damon when he started talking. So it looked like Kimmel got the last laugh … or did he?
— High Value Images (@highvalueimages) February 27, 2017
— Julie Sutton Salek (@tampajulie) February 27, 2017
that best picture flub is the BEST prank Matt Damon has ever played on Jimmy Kimmel though. #Oscars
— Ashley Lee (@cashleelee) February 27, 2017
95% sure this was a revenge prank by Matt Damon to finally get @jimmykimmel back
— The Gregory Brothers (@gregorybrothers) February 27, 2017
4. The universe.
Ultra-dramatic, stunning upset victories and twists for the election, World Series, Super Bowl and now this? Maybe the universe is just having some fun.
I really think we're in some break in simulation. Things are just going haywire. NBA final. World Series. Election. Super Bowl. Oscars.
— Farhad Manjoo (@fmanjoo) February 27, 2017
This year's Oscars, Super Bowl, and Presidential Election were written by M. Night Shyamalan
— Alena Smith (@internetalena) February 27, 2017
— RenéeEliseGoldsberry (@ReneeGoldsberry) February 27, 2017
— Will Presti (@WillPresti) February 27, 2017
I can't believe the Super Bowl and the Oscars were both decided in overtime for the first time this year.
— Josh Gondelman (@joshgondelman) February 27, 2017
According to an email I got from a reader, anyway: