At the moment the Oscars needed a hero most, “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz saved the night.
Having already won six statues, the musical “La La Land” seemed to clinch the top prize of Best Picture at the end of the 89th annual Academy Awards. But when it was discovered that presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway had been given the wrong envelope, and the LGBT drama “Moonlight” had in fact won, Horowitz was the one to step up and set things right.
As a catchphrase, “There’s a mistake — 'Moonlight,’ you guys won best picture” isn't very catchy, but it accomplished exactly what it needed to: Instead of worrying about the details, he made sure the rightful winners got their moment on Hollywood's biggest night.
Horowitz’s low-key, graceful handoff — he even walked over to “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins and gave him the Oscar statue he’d been presented with — salvaged an impossibly awkward and heart-wrenching moment. They don’t teach grace under pressure in drama school, and as the Washington Post pointed out, it’s a quality that’s in short supply these days.
"It was a difficult situation, there's no doubt about that," he told Entertainment Tonight after the show. "But listen, things get thrown at you and you've got to kind of roll with it. And as I said, I was deeply happy to be able to give it to those guys.”
On “Good Morning America,” he described the moment as surreal, “but I wanted to make sure the right thing was done. There was a lot of confusion onstage, and at a certain point it was clear that the wrong envelope had been given. Then they kind of showed us the Best Picture envelope, and it said 'Moonlight,' and that's when I sort of jumped to the mic and made sure everybody knew what was going on… I think people needed clarity at that moment."
Talented and humble? Naturally, the internet is in love.
👏👏👏👏 @jehorowitz class act..stepped up in the moment. We r defined in our losses not our wins. Last night u defined yourself as a great man.— Scooter Braun (@scooterbraun) February 27, 2017
Jordan Horowitz shows 200 million people what it means to be a great producer. Calm and class in the midst of pure crisis.— Danny Strong (@Dannystrong) February 27, 2017
Even when he was singled out for praise, Horowitz used it as an opportunity to turn the focus back on “Moonlight.”
Humbled. And once again: congrats to Moonlight. A truly beautiful picture made by some even more beautiful people. https://t.co/sOP1K0EiwW— Jordan Horowitz (@jehorowitz) February 27, 2017
To feed your new obsession, here’s what you need to know about Jordan Horowitz.
Young and already successful
The native New Yorker (he grew up in Westchester County) and Northwestern University alum is just 36 years old, but he was already an award winner even before “La La Land.” Horowitz already had a critically acclaimed, award-winning film on his resume. “The Kids Are All Right,” about the rocky marriage of a lesbian couple with two kids, won the Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy in 2011.
For him, “La La Land” was personal
Many critics have written off “La La Land,” the story about a jazz musician (Ryan Gosling) and an ingenue (Emma Stone), as so much candy-colored confection. But for Horowitz, the story was truly one from his heart.
“The film was all of our collective journeys and very much the idea of transplants, coming to L.A. and pursuing your dreams,” Horowitz told The Daily Northwestern. “We definitely pulled from our own experiences of having moved to L.A. and wanting to be in the film industry.”
His wife is also his collaborator
Horowitz is married to former New York City schoolteacher turned screenwriter Julia Hart. They worked together on her debut film, an acclaimed indie with Lily Rabe called “Miss Stevens.” They’re also working together on a superhero drama called “Fast Color” coming out next year, which already has Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Black Mirror,” “Concussion”) attached.