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"Moonlight" Wins Best Picture Academy Award after On-Stage Mix- up; Oscars Get Political; Fashion Statements on the Red Carpet. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired February 27, 2017 - 02:00   ET



[02:00:25] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome. You're watching a special edition of NEWSROOM L.A. on Hollywood's biggest night, the 89th Academy Awards.

Hello. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Amara Walker. Thank you very much for being with us.

It is moment for the Oscars that everyone is talking about.

VAUSE: Everybody it seems. It all happened in the last few moments of Sunday's ceremony, all live on television. The musical"La La Land" was announced as best picture winner, but it wasn't.

WALKER: The acclaimed drama "Moonlight" was the actual winner. A "La La Land" producer told the stunned crowd, there's been a mistake. "Moonlight" won and this is not a joke.

Let's more from our Stephanie Elam.

VAUSE: She's at the governor's ball in Hollywood.

Stephanie, this is what everybody will be talk about right now.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Everyone is talking about it, no doubt about it. What is sad about this is here you have folks from "La La Land" that thought they won. It takes the shine away from them. This was a major upset that "Moonlight" won. This little movie made in 25 days for $1.5 million up against this behemoth. The fact they won is a huge deal.

In case you missed the moment everyone is talking about, take a look back at how it all went down.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: And the Academy Award --


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: -- for best picture -- UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You're awful. Come on.

"La La Land."


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: We lost, by the way.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I'm sorry. There's a mistake. "Moonlight"," you guys won best picture.



UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: This is not a joke.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: This is not a joke. I'm afraid they read the wrong thing.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: This is not a joke. "Moonlight" has won best picture. "Moonlight"," best picture.



ELAM: And everyone thought it was some sort of joke but like the cruelest joke ever to play on anyone in that situation, on the biggest, biggest award of the night.

Adding to the confusion, Emma Stone, who did win best actress, she was backstage and this is what she had to say.


EMMA STONE, ACTRESS: We are so excited for "Moonlight." I think it's one of the best films of all time. I was pretty beside myself. I also was holding my best actress in a leading role card that entire time.


So whatever story -- I don't mean to start stuff -- but whatever story that was, I had that card.


I'm not sure what happened. I really wanted to talk to you guys first.


ELAM: To clear things up, we did zoom in on the envelop envelope, being held by Warren Beatty. It does say lead actress or actress in a lead role. You can see that on there. He did say that on there.

What I also learned is there are always two cards that are printed. They both have sets of the right answers of who did when. That is because when one is on stage reading the card the celebrity is up there reading it, another has the card to make sure they are reading the right thing. That's where they realized the discrepancy.

How did this -- did a third card show up? I don't know but I know what Emma Stone is saying she could have her card and there could be another card. Getting more clarity now. It is still the story everyone will be talking about for probably the next 24 hours.

WALKER: I think. It's confusing but it seems like there are multiple prints of the same card or something like that.

Stephanie, thank you.

VAUSE: All right. Let's bring in our panel. Joining us, five-time Golden Globe nominee, Actress Marilu Henner; entertainment journalists, Segun Oduolowu and Samantha Schacher.


WALKER: Also with us, Fandango correspondent, Alicia Malone; and TV writer and comedian, Louis Virtel.

Let's start with you, Louis,

How in the world does this happen? It was so painful to watch.

LOUIS VIRTEL, TV WRITER & COMEDIAN: Every single second of that video is horrifying. It starts with him clearly knowing he has the wrong envelope then she says will you read the right thing already? Then it turns into a stranger running on stage and yelling somebody is lying or whatever that was. I am shocked. I have seen that video with Alicia five or six times. Every time I have to swallow the biggest gulp ever because it is so strange and unprecedented.

[02:05:15] ALICIA MALONE, CORRESPONDENT, FANDANGO: It makes me feel so ill to watch it. It is sad "Moonlight" didn't get the big moment as they deserved, but good on the producer for "La La Land" for bringing the cast up.

VAUSE: Good old Bonnie and Clyde. They have done it again.


Marilu, as an actor, can you describe what this moment would be like?

MARILU HENNER, ACTRESS: Oh, my gosh, Warren looks like is someone going to save me, should I just keep going? He says best picture. Why didn't he stop it? I want someone to interview warren to see what he was thinking. Your heart is pounding anyway. Everybody is dying to hear what comes out of your mouth next. He's a director, he should have stopped it and said, hey, I don't have the right card here.



VAUSE: Apparently, Fay Dunaway turned up at the governor's ball and is refusing to talk about it.

VIRTEL: Of course, she is.


WALKER: I feel bad for "Moonlight." I know social media is talking about this. But this was their moment and, right now, not as many people are talking about "Moonlight" but more about this crazy mix-up.

SAMANTHA SCHACHER, ENTERTAINMENT JOURANLIST: Most I've read are in response to "Moonlight" and this moment rather than this film that highlights addiction and one struggle with their sexuality. You're really missing out on this moment. Yes, we talked about the fact that because of this controversial moment it could bring attention to the film but I would have much rather had the moment that "Moonlight" deserves. They would have gone up and send their award and all of the questions would have been about the films, actors, directors.

SEGUN ODUOLOWU, ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALIST: And for the movie, it's a horrible blow on the biggest night, the biggest stage. You're getting your just due. As a viewer at home --


-- it's so good.


ODUOLOWU: Yeah. You can't script this!


HENNER: Memory is tied to adrenaline which is why everybody remembers the highs and lows of their life. Because of it this will be one of the most memorable moments in history and "Moonlight" will be brought up every year as the little engine that could and also the movie that --


VAUSE: Louis, this movie, "Moonlight," that cost $1.5 million to make walked away with three awards, including best supporting actor for Mahershala Ali, who is the first Muslim to ever win an Academy Award.

VIRTEL: It is thrilling in every way. When you talk about best pictures, and I'm thinking back years and years, there's never any weird themes. I can't think of an entirely non-white cast. As long as we can have movie where we can have worlds of non-white people that don't feel like they have to establish a relationship with a white character to feel relevant that is awesome. It is awesome for many reasons. WALKER: Alicia, were you surprised that Casey Affleck won over Denzel


MALONE: Yeah. It surprised me. Denzel won the SAG award, the Screen Actors Guild award and the winner of that award goes onto win the Oscar, plus that performance in "Fences." He is fierce and can go from being terrifying to charming in a blink of an eye. Casey Affleck's performance was understated. It was more about keeping your emotion in and he has the controversy. I felt it would harm his chances. So I was surprised to see Casey Affleck win for best actor.


ODUOLOWU: How do we know Denzel didn't really win?



VAUSE: Casey Affleck did take the crumbs out of his beard.


VAUSE: David, best supporting actress.

SCHACHER: Viola Davis' acceptance speech is an exact mirror of how she acts. She speaks with her heart on her sleeve and her role in fences, flawless. She jumps out of the screen. You're captivated the moment you see her ton screen. Well-deserved win for her. With Casey Affleck, even though he won the Oscar, people are upset because of the sexual harassment allegations.

[02:10:02] ODUOLOWU: There's a cloud over it. In response to Viola Davis, this is like a long -- she has deserved an Oscar for a long time. She does incredible work. She will continue to do incredible work.

WALKER: She told Stephanie Elam she felt like she might get snubbed again.


ODUOLOWU: You have to prepare. Again, the idea of the Academy Awards aren't being judged --


ODUOLOWU: Yeah. But for Viola to win -- first of all, she was amazing in that red dress. Her speech was flawless. But I hope that it is the spring board for an actress that deserves more and bigger things to come. You know, in the same way I hope for my dear friend, Octavius Spencer. Let's seeing these ladies as more than these characters of, oh, strong black woman. Let's her play an alien hunter. Let's start to see them cast outside of --

(CROSSTALK) VAUSE: Without being judged here, because "La La Land" had 14 nominations. It was a tie for the most nominations ever. I think it walked away with four Academy Awards at the end of the day.

Marilu, what happened?

HENNER: I think people wanted to spread the love. I also feel like they started to really evaluate each character. Once they really went to fill out their ballot that story --


VAUSE: Maybe that self-indulgent --


WALKER: Yeah. "La La Land", we both saw it and didn't exactly enjoy it. I sort of fell asleep and had to wake myself up.

Samantha, explain to us --


VAUSE: Did you like "La La Land?"

SCHACHER: I loved "La La Land." I don't think it should have been nominated for best picture.

WALKER: Not nominated?




SCHACHER: It was a fantastic film. I do think it was a great escapism from the volatile political climate we are all in right now. However, when you compare that film to a "Moonlight," to a "Lion," I just don't see the comparison. I didn't fall asleep. I think the right picture --


WALKER: Eight to 10 nominations.


SCHACHER: Emma Stone did a fantastic job. She was also singing and dancing. A lot of rehearsal time involved. I do think the best actress nomination should have gone hands down. That was the most captivating performance.

VAUSE: Alicia, how unlucky was Nicole Kidman to be nominated in a year? Nicole Kidman, I thought was truly --


VAUSE: Yeah.

MALONE: You can tell she brought to much of her personal story she is so emotionally raw. I thought he did an awesome Australian accent. He did a really good job. Nicole Kidman has been turning out performance after performance a long time. I hope more people see "Lion" because that is another film deserving of --

WALKER: I loved that film. Do you feel like it was snubbed this year Louis?

VIRTEL: "Lion?"


VIRTEL: I go back and forth on "Lion." I knew when he was scrolling on google earth that he was eventually going find his home. There was less suspense than there should have been.

I think the biggest stuff of the night was Isabel --


VIRTEL: In the history of best actress winners, routinely, they are the most vulnerable performance of the year. She in that movie is so stony and so stoic and so hilarious. I was really rooting for her.


ODUOLOWU: If she walked in her right now with a sign that said I'm Isabel --


VAUSE: OK. We have to squeeze in a break, guys.


HENNER: She has been around for a long time.

WALKER: All right everyone.

Up next --

VAUSE: She is going places.

[02:14:35] WALKER: Up next, as expected, U.S. President Donald Trump came up repeatedly during the Oscars. We are going to look at the political humor and commentary from Hollywood's big night. Stay with us.





VIOLA DAVIS, ACTRESS: I grew up in poverty. I grew up in apartments that were condemned and rat infested. I just always sort of wanted to be somebody. I just wanted to be good at something. And so this is sort of like the miracle of God of dreaming big and just hoping that it sticks and it lands, and it did. Who knew?


VAUSE: Viola Davis there, winner of the best supporting actress.

WALKER: Powerful speech.

VAUSE: Great speech on stage and press conference backstage. She is definitely somebody.

WALKER: Yeah, gorgeous.

VAUSE: Back with us here in Los Angeles, Actress Marilu Henner, entertainment journalists, Segun Oduolowu and Samantha Schacher; and Fandango Correspondent Alice Malone and TV writer and comedian, Louis Virtel.

We were all expecting Donald Trump to get panned throughout the night. There were jabs but not the sort of anti-Trump tirades we have seen.

Before the awards started, Trump supporter and former Arkansas govern, Mike Huckabee, kind of set the stage. He tweeted, "Watch celebrities spew ignorant political venom at the Oscars? No. I would rather have a colonoscopy. Both happen from the same location."

Louis, it was certainly the expectation this would be a big night of Trump bashing, but it didn't quite work out that way, did it?

[02:20:] VIRTEL: No. I need to respond to the tweet. I'll quote my friend, who one saw that tweet, and said, wait, the Oscars happen in Mike Huckabee's rectum?


You messed that up entirely. Try again.


I'll disagree with Segun a little bit. I am always happy when artists like live up to the task of being an artist and announce how political they are or have political thoughts. They are exciting to me. It proves to me they are an artist. I thought for the speech as read by somebody else was like a real amazing moment. People were listening to every word of that. It was almost the craziest and saddest moment of the night. I was really happy with what I heard in terms of political grandstanding. But we could stand to have more. A lot of the ceremony was a typically whimsical adventure into the audience with candy flying everywhere. So I was very happy it was --


VIRTEL: I thought it could have gotten more political.

ODUOLOWU: Wait, Louis, just to respond, I didn't say that I don't like actors or actresses being political. I said I don't think the Oscars is the best place for it. If I'm sitting at home watching the show I don't thigh these people connect with me. When you get on this podium in a 2000 tuxedo and you tell me how upset you are about the travel ban, but you're a rich white or black person living in the country, it doesn't have the same impact --


ODUOLOWU: No. You know what? When George Clooney is going to Darfur or Sean Penn is going to Haiti, when you put your money where your mouth, is I'm fine. Don't --


WALKER: But again, Louis was talking about the Iranian director. He boycotted the Oscars in protest to President Trump's travel ban. The fact he was absent seemed to give a strong statement.


WALKER: I want to hear more from his spokesperson that spoke backstage after that moment. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED SPOKESPERSON: I think he want today spend in solidarity with the rest of the people who have been suspect of the travel ban and are not able to go see their friends, their family members and a lot of other, you know, important -- share the important moments in their lives. He could not be here receiving that award that. It is a big message he was sending.


VAUSE: Samantha, did it have more or less impact, the biggest anti- Trump criticism didn't really come from the American actors. It came from someone who is in Iraq.

SCHACHER: I think in this case silence is golden, in this specific case. Everybody was glued to their seats listening in. It allows it to marinate. You see people quote it. You and I disagreed because the Oscars has such a large audience. It the perfect platform for someone to speak to their politics. Not everybody that is nominated, by the way, for an Oscar, whether it could be for makeup or acting, is a millionaire. Just because you are a millionaire doesn't mean that you're not a global citizen and you don't have an opinion.

ODUOLOWU: I'm not saying you can't have an opinion. I'm not saying that. I'm saying put your money where your mouth is. They got $140,000 swag bags for being on that stage. Donate that to charity. If you --


SCHACHER: Most people do.

ODUOLOWU: If you show me you stand with regular people that are really suffering in this country or really worried about health care or really worried about loved ones not being able to come to this country don't do it from a stage. Stand outside a Walmart.

SCHACHER: Can I challenge you really quick? Can I challenge you really quick? Because when you see someone subtly wearing an ACLU ribbon and have it whether it's ton red carpet it gives them the opportunity to speak about the ACLU. There could be a young person at home who has no idea what's really going on, who has no idea what's going on with the travel ban. Perhaps it is effecting that one or two or thousands of people out there. That's important.

ODUOLOWU: It's not enough.

HENNER: No. But I also think --


ODUOLOWU: It's not enough.

HENNER: You don't want to hear the same thing from every person up there. You have to pick your platform. If it's something you feel passionate about you work it into your speech. When you win something, you go up there and you're in the land where elephants die. You're like nervous, excited. You don't want to overdo it in any one direction.

[02:25:10] WALKER: And not doing it in one direction what about Jimmy Kimmel?

Alicia, what did you think about his performance. His job was to strike the right balance. He mocked him with tweeting and mocked him the way he said that Meryl Streep is overrated. What did you make of his performance? Did he do it the right way?

MALONE: Yeah. He really impressed me. I thought he struck that direct tone between being funny and also making a statement. I also loved how he called himself out when a joke didn't work that well. I love the tweeting. I think it was the right balance of politics for the night and I agree that the Oscars has such a big platform and such large audience that it does really make a statement when you have someone like him not turning up to it. I think it was just the highlight of the night.


ODUOLOWU: So you agree with me?


VAUSE: Everybody agrees with you.



WALKER: Not everybody cannot be there.


WALKER: Hold that thought.


WALKER: Next on NEWSROOM L.A., after the uh-oh, there was elation. Diversity wasn't just a major theme at the Academy Awards, it was triumphant.


[02:30:11] VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching a special edition of CNN NEWSROOM, live from Hollywood, where it's just gone 11:30 on a Sunday night. I'm John Vause.


It's the Oscar moment that is going down in history.

VAUSE: "Moonlight" pulled out surprise win for best picture, but it's what happened right before that moment which shocked everyone. Watching all around the world.

WALKER: The musical "La La Land" was first announced as the best picture winner. It's cast and producers were making their acceptance speeches. Then a "La La Land" producer said, to gasps, there has been a mistake, "Moonlight" won. He added, "This is not a joke."

Let's go back to Stephanie Elam for more on all of this.

VAUSE: She is at the governor's ball in Hollywood.

Stephanie, this mix-up, unprecedented flub at the Oscars, it's now sinking in exactly what happened. What are people saying there?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's been nothing like this. That's what everyone is talking about, which is sad because it takes away from "Moonlight's" win. But it was an awkward moment for those from "La La Land."

In case you didn't see what happened, take a look at how it all went down.


WARREN BEATTY, ACTOR: And the Academy Award --

(LAUGHTER) -- for best picture --

FAY DUNNAWAY, ACTRESS: You're awful. Come on.

"La La Land."



UNIDENTIFIED PRODUCER: I'm sorry. There's a mistake. "Moonlight"," you guys won best picture.



UNIDENTIFIED PRODUCER: This is not a joke.

UNIDENTIFIED PRODUCER: This is not a joke. I'm afraid they read the wrong thing.


KIMMELL: This is not a joke. "Moonlight" has won best picture. "Moonlight," best picture.



ELAM: It was a stunning moment. Everyone thought it was some sort of twisted joke at first, and then realizing this really did happen.

I want you to know we did zoom in on the envelope that Warren Beatty was holding and it did say actress in a lead role. He was handed the wrong card.

Adding to the confusion, back stage, Emma Stone talked about what happened when she was on stage.


EMMA STONE, ACTRESS: We are so excited for "Moonlight." I think it's one of the best films of all time. I was pretty beside myself. I was also holding my best actress in a leading role card the entire time. Whatever story -- I don't mean to start stuff, but whatever story that was, I had that card. I don't know what happened. I really wanted to talk to you guys first.


ELAM: So to clear it up this is what I'm learning. There are auditors. Each one has a full set of cards of who won that night. The reason why they do that is so one can see who won and if something is read wrong they can correct it. When one comes up to present they are handed the card and the other editor is supposed to discard their card. That did not happen. That's what we are learning happened. It was not Warren's fault or Fay's fault.

Barry Jenkins, the director of "Moonlight," did come by and speak to us. I asked him if this, does it take away or tarnish their win? This is what he had to say.


ELAM: With this win, despite how it happened, and that was a shock of how to handle that, what does it mean and how did it feel that you had this?

BARRY JENKINS, DIRECTOR: It feels good. The choice was made by the academy. I think it's a statement. I think the academy recognized the work. You have to choose and whatever distinction was made, what it symbolizes is these lives who are at the sent are of a narrative, there are many different versions of the American experience. So in that way I'm hopeful. It makes me feel -- it makes me look forward to the future.

ELAM: Do you feel like your win was tarnished at all?

JENKINS: Not at all. I'll give an actor the bad direction or it ruins the take. These things happen. Unfortunately, this thing happened. It wasn't malicious in any way. Thankfully it happened amongst friends and peers. It kind of bonded us more.

[02:35:32] ELAM: Hold up your Oscar and show it to us. I hope you get to enjoy this moment.

JENKINS: Thank you.


JENKINS: I will drink champagne and dance little dance.

ELAM: I think you should do it. Enjoy.


ELAM: What's interesting because they both said they think it makes them feel even stronger in that bond -- Amara and John?

WALKER: It's nice to see him taking it in stride. It really feels like that spotlight moment was kind of taken away with them.

VAUSE: Stephanie, stay with us, because we want to ask, you were with us when all of this actually was playing out. It was a stunning moment for us here on air with our panel.

WALKER: Very confusing moment.

VAUSE: Yes. We were here trying to figure out what happened. This was that moment. Take a listen.


VAUSE: Sorry to interrupt because we are just being told they read the wrong thing.

WALKER: Oh, my god.



VAUSE: "La La Land" did not win.


VAUSE: Apparently -- I want to double check this is accurate. Are you guys messing with me?


WALKER: I'm going to twitter now.

VAUSE: The bottom line is they read out the wrong name.


WALKER: How could they do that?

VAUSE: I don't know. Apparently, so it looks as if it was not "La La Land" that won best picture.


VAUSE: It is "Moonlight."



WALKER: I still want believe that happened. There was so much confusion. What?

VAUSE: And then we were trying to work out exactly what happened.

I guess, the question is, they are piecing together how this went so wrong. Do you think they worked out where the problem was and how it could happen again, Steph, quickly?

ELAM: Yes. No. They are probably breaking it downright now and they will be doing it tomorrow for the best of the week. Where we were, you can hear people inside the theater. They didn't know what it was. The Oscars never want that to happen obviously. You -- all that happened.

VAUSE: Stephanie Elam, thanks for being with us live. Appreciate it.

WALKER: And still to come on CNN NEWSROOM, a shocking mix-up and, in the end, a triumph for diversity at the academy awards.

VAUSE: Is it here to stay? We'll ask our Oscar panel.


[02:41:26] VAUSE: Back to our panel.

We had three Academy Awards for "Moonlight," a movie with an all-black cast, dealing with issues with the African-American community, beating out an all-white movie of singing and dancing.

Marilu, what does this say about the film industry when it comes to diversity?

MARILU HENNER, ACTRESS: It's moving in the right direction. Last year was such a shock to everybody, the whole Oscars are so white. People were more conscious about it, the voters for the academy. What's great about -- I mean, what's great about what's happening politically is people are banding together, becoming more conscious. Everyone's talking about it. I think the kids, the high school kids, college kids are much more aware what's going on in this country and might not have been before.

WALKER: How do we bring about lasting change, something more meaningful seeing more diverse faces, not just winning the Academy Awards, more diverse faces on the big screen? How do we allow that to happen, doesn't it start with casting?

SUGEN ODUOLOWU, ENTERTAIMENT JOURNALIST: It's the opportunity from the studios, how many black heads of studios are there? How many women heads of studios are there? If you want to see the face you see in the mirror represented in films, it has to see those faces in positions of power, not just casting, not just screen writing, not just cinematography. All 360 from behind the camera to in front of the camera to in the boardroom. I am tired of the old Hollywood mentality, if I cast these kinds of actors nobody will see my movie. I hate to use the "Madea," it's number one at the box office and every weekend he drops a new movie. Give the artist a chance to show themselves, give all people, stop letting white actors play Asian roles or stop rewriting roles and saying, I don't think a black guy would work there or making ancient Egypt, English. Come on!


ALICE MALONE, CORRESPONDENT, FANDANGO: There's so much backlash that happens with the whitewashing. We immediately follow it on social media and there's a repercussion. Then you get hashtags not to go to the movie and that in the end affects the bottom dollar in the box office. I think Hollywood is learning if it's not the right thing to do, which it is the right thing to do, they will look at the bottom line and see how much it hurts their pocketbooks.

HENNER: Look how much "Hamilton" has changed Broadway. People want diversity. You would have never seen that before. A musical about the founding fathers. VAUSE: Louis, I'm wonder if all the controversy about the past two

Academy Awards, Oscars So White and no actors of color or minority actors nominated for stellar roles essentially snubbed, given all that controversy does that impact how the people in the academy think about their vote, I don't want to take away anything that went out tonight, to "Moonlight" and actors in the movie. Did "Moonlight" win because of the controversy last year?

LOUIS VIRTEL, TV WRITER & COMEDIAN: I would think not. I personally think it's a tremendous movie and a unique movie. I would hope Oscar winners think not only does this movie have the merits to win best picture. It represents something new and that's an artistic triumph in itself. When you look at the list of roles of people of color we have given Oscars to in the past, it's a lot of people like maids and subservient roles and they serve as a timeline how we've been traditionally welcoming people of color. You have a movie like "Moonlight," roles we haven't seen before, they aren't maids and we should be extra aware of its merits as a film.

[02:45:31] WALKER: Mahershala Ali, who won the best actor for "Moonlight," he just reacted to this crazy mix-up that happened. Let's listen.


MAHERSHALA ALI, ACTOR: It threw me a bit. It threw me more than a bit. I didn't want to take anything from somebody. It's very hard to feel joy in a moment like that, you know. Because somebody else -- in front of them. I feel very fortunate for all of us to have walked away with the best picture award. It's pretty remarkable.


VAUSE: Alicia, that does sum it up in many ways, you have to feel joy after something like this happened.

MALONE: Yeah. It's kind of a shock when you see that clip and Jordan Harrowitz (ph) says it's "Moonlight" and they don't get their magical moment, shock in the room, not that joy one deserves, but on the other hand it is a movie we will be talking about a long time and hopefully that means people will go check out "Moonlight" to see what this fuss is about. You can see it both ways. I felt bad for the cast in that moment. That clip is hard to watch.

WALKER: Yeah. I wish we could stop playing it, but we kind of --


WALKER: About the academy, as we're talking about diversity, the academy has made some efforts to diversify the membership. The "L.A. Times" was reporting in 2012, 94 percent of the 6,000 members of the academy were white, 94percent, 77 percent male, and the median age, 62.

Louis, can you speak to this and some of the changes that are coming? VIRTEL: When you talk casually with people obsessed with the Oscar,

some waiting for old white demographic to die off, that they are the ones that made the decision since the Oscars have been around. It's hard not to be cynical about that. The future speaking of what you were talking about before. It seems, thanks to people like Shaara Boone Isaacs (ph), who helped transform the Academy Awards. In the future, we will have a more balanced voting block and hopefully reflected in the films they choose.

MALONE: It also doesn't reflect Hollywood as a whole, Hollywood has been a white man's club such a long time, way too long, no doubt there is systematic institutional racism and sexism that happens in Hollywood. And hopefully conversations like this will help it and films like "Moonlight."



WALKER: We are always on your side.

ODUOLOWU: Mahershala Ali said it best, we're not here to take something from somebody. Oscars so White was not about saying you only had five black movies in a decade so now you have to have five black movies all the time.

WALKER: Right.

VAUSE: We've got to get a break in.

When we come back, on this special edition of NEWSROOM L.A., from elegant words to elegant dresses that rocked the red carpet, we're looking at Oscars top frocks and the statements.

WALKER: And John has some strong opinions on some of the dresses.


WALKER: We'll hear about it.





[02:52:50] WALKER: Welcome, everyone. You could say this year's Oscars red carpet was all about style with substance.

VAUSE: Absolutely. Amid all the gowns and top designers, the annual Academy Awards fashion statement was also transformed this year into a political statement as well. You can see the blue ribbons on the dresses. We'll explain what that's about.

WALKER: In just a second.

For more on the best dressed and eye grabbers on the red carpet, we're joined by an eye grabber himself, celebrity stylist and fashion expert, George Kotsiopoulos.

Did I say it, right?


Kotsiopoulos, I like it. It rolls off the tongue.

VAUSE: Let's start with the risk takers

KOTSIOPOULOS: The risk takers.

VAUSE: -- and the eye grabbers.

KOTSIOPOULOS: My biggest was Janel Monet (ph), has a personal style, wears black-and-white. She went over the top with a headpiece and choker on her neck. I think she looked great. It was over the top but it was right for the Oscars. It was a great combination of her style and the Oscars. A lot of times you don't do that.

WALKER: I thought, what is she wearing and the more I looked I enjoyed looking at the details of the dress.

Jessica Biel, she looked very statuesque and glittery.


KOTSIOPOULOS: The dress on its own was nothing, a very simple dress. She added that tiffany choker, really made it impactful. I thought it was cool and she looked fantastic in it.

VAUSE: Who else?

KOTSIOPOULOS: Naomie Harris wearing a custom Calvin Klein gown. It was interesting, short, had a tail or train or cape. Super, super cool. Mi mismatched shoes. There were crystals around here and here. They were asymmetrical. I just didn't think it was right for the Oscars. For the "Vanity Fair" party but not the Oscars.

WALKER: What about best dressed? My favorite was Emma Roberts?

KOTSIOPOULOS: She was my top choice. I thought it was a great way of infusing modern and old fashioned. She looked gorgeous, and a great way to do the plunge.

[02:55:07] VAUSE: And Emma Stone.

KOTSIOPOULOS: Emma stone, that's the dress you wear when you're going to win an award.


KOTSIOPOULOS: In 20 years, it will be timeless, that look. You look at the bottom with all that beautiful fringe moving around, that gave it its fashion moment.

VAUSE: George, thanks for coming.

KOTSIOPOULOS: Thank you very much.

WALKER: Thank you.

VAUSE: Thank you for watching. This is NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. And I'm John Vause.

WALKER: I'm Amara Walker.

The news will continue now with Cyril Vanier and Rosemary Church after this quick break. They'll have much more on this monumental mix-up. They have much more after this.

VAUSE: An unprecedented flub.




[02:59:55] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to have it fixed and we're going to repeal and replace. And I think you're going to see something very, very special.


CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR: U.S. President Donald Trump promises more information soon on his plan to replace Obamacare.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, the U.S. issues a warning to Russia about the fighting in Ukraine.