Oscars: Twitter Data Reveals How the Best Picture Mix-Up Played Online

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Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway onstage presenting the award for best picture.

The Super Bowl of the entertainment industry didn't deliver super-sized ratings, but it did have one thing in common with the football championship: a surprise ending that left mouths agape and sent tweets flying — and even gave Steve Harvey a chance at redemption.

The final minutes of the Oscars on Sunday night not only shocked audiences (both inside the Dolby Theatre and at home) but also set Twitter alight with hot takes, theories and general surprise. 

Of the 14.7 million tweets sent in the hours before, during and after the show, 1 million were sent during the final 10 minutes of the broadcast, during which the best picture award was handed out to La La Land and then abruptly given to Moonlight instead. The conversation during that time peaked when the team behind Moonlight, the A24-produced indie film about the coming of age of a young black boy from Miami, took the stage to give their acceptance speeches. But conversation continued well after host Jimmy Kimmel said goodnight to the audience. 

Here, THR breaks down how Twitter audiences reacted to the best picture mix-up — even explaining how Steve Harvey became a hot topic in the final few moments of Hollywood's biggest night, using data from 4C Insights.  

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This story first appeared in the March 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.