Moonlight certainly isn’t the first underdog film to pull off a surprise win. But after the chaos of last night’s Oscars finale, its (extremely deserved) win is now forever associated with the Great Envelope Scandal of 2017.
BREAKING: #Moonlight actually won Best Picture. #Oscars pic.twitter.com/pFlIveatVr— Dan Linden (@DanLinden) February 27, 2017
The shock and confusion caused by the question of which envelope was delivered and read onstage for the Best Picture award consumed viewers following along on the internet.
Trying to decipher that Best Picture card like... pic.twitter.com/aUjmlUFvYP— Ronan Farrow (@RonanFarrow) February 27, 2017
A mix-up of the kind that occurred at Sunday night’s ceremony can really only incur one response from the internet: memes.
Here's a blank "Best Picture" card. Please milk this meme before it becomes stale by Wednesday pic.twitter.com/GCwdHB7rxy— jacksfilms (@jacksfilms) February 27, 2017
Immediately, the envelope meme was equated with other recent surprise upsets of our time.
Has anyone done this yet pic.twitter.com/zTK1t0hI4D— Jen Lewis (@thisjenlewis) February 27, 2017
If only. #Oscars pic.twitter.com/wdjvVzNNnB— Alex Goldschmidt (@alexandergold) February 27, 2017
Meme-happy Oscar viewers quickly got to work inserting countless jokes, alternate movie titles, political references, and preexisting memes onto the now-famous blank page.
What the card actually said.... #Oscars pic.twitter.com/a6zPmqDWiP— Tyrion Lannister (@GoT_Tyrion) February 27, 2017
February 27, 2017
OMG they just announced the real winner pic.twitter.com/6Slcryr7c4— Andrew Todd (@mistertodd) February 27, 2017
Although this made me laugh! #BestPicture #Oscars pic.twitter.com/1jXfeFhIrs— The Grump Crusader ツ (@grumpcrusader) February 27, 2017
Interestingly, this is the second “blank page” meme of the year to make waves, following Donald Trump’s defiant executive order signing ceremony, which quickly turned into an “insert thing here” meme.
Of course, the Oscars aren’t usually subject to such irreverent meme-making unless it’s prompted by a staged gag, like Ellen DeGeneres’s famous selfie, or a particularly juicy reaction from the live audience in attendance. It’s rare to see something onstage take off and go viral of its own accord, unless it’s an impromptu flub like the famous “Adele Dazeem” meme prompted by John Travolta’s onstage butchering of Idina Menzel’s name. So something as unexpected and unscripted on the Oscar stage as Sunday night’s shocking finale was bound to spark a flurry of memes.