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Executives Behind ‘Moonlight’ Re-Live Best Picture Flub: ‘I Watched People Almost Pass Out’

GQ Style goes deep with indie distributor A24 founders Daniel Katz and David Fenkel

The Best Picture Flub heard around the world — when “La La Land” was erroneously handed the top Academy Award in February over “Moonlight”– was a veritable meme factory thanks to shocked A-listers and filmmakers from both projects.

What we haven’t yet heard is an account from the film boutique “Moonlight’s” distributor A24, a five-year-old art house that defied the odds and claimed Best Picture in its young life.

Daniel Katz and David Fenkel relived the moment in a profile from May’s GQ Style — an unusual oral history of a very inside Hollywood operation that features commentary from the likes of Robert Pattinson and Sofia Coppola.

“David and I are sitting next to each other. In pretty decent seats, actually,” Katz recalled.

“I think if you had asked us beforehand, we would have said, you know, ‘La La Land’s gonna win,” Fenkel said.

The play-by-play of envelopegate, starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, with additional comments from A24 Production and Acquisitions Head Noah Sacco and “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins:

Katz:  I remember when all the commotion started, I look at David. I go, “Huh.”

Fenkel: I stare straight ahead. I don’t even look at him. I say, “Don’t go there.” Because what happened was, someone ran out with a red envelope. We saw the red envelope. And when you’re a loser, you think for a split second, Maybe they got it wrong.

Katz: By the way, a thousand times out of a thousand, you’re wrong. You lost.

Fenkel: And then I started saying, “No way. No way.”

Katz: It was just like, “Wait. Did Moonlight just win Best Picture?”

Sacco: I used to think seeing people faint was what happened in movies. I legitimately watched people almost pass out. I don’t think that switch in psychology is supposed to happen that dramatically, or that abruptly.

Jenkins: I just would never allow myself to believe that something I made could win Best Picture.

Fenkel: You don’t know how to control yourself. I think we lost control. But you’re in a tuxedo and everyone around you is older and they’re quiet….

Jenkins: It sucks, man, because of how it happened, none of us thanked them! It was such an out-of-body experience. And we’ve been so consistent about thanking them. And then it’s like on the biggest stage, I didn’t thank anybody! I just started talking. But I do remember finally looking over, because I didn’t know where they were sitting, and I spotted Dan Katz and Dave Fenkel, and, man, the smile on their faces! I just raised the Oscar at them. I was like, “Fuck yeah!”

And there you have it. For a full oral history of A24 — behind films like “Room,” “The Witch” and “Spring Breakers” — head to GQ Style.

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