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In the fallout to Sunday’s jaw-dropping Best Picture flub that concluded the 89th Academy Awards telecast, we have learned that the two PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants responsible for the mistake will not be invited back for future Oscar ceremonies. Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs revealed this to the Associated Press on Wednesday. In a story that will go down in history, Hollywood veterans Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced the film industry’s top prize and erroneously named La La Land the Best Picture winner instead of rightful victor Moonlight.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) – the governing body of the Oscars – was slow to respond to the gaffe, waiting a full day before offering an official statement expressing an apology to the creative teams of Moonlight, La La Land, Beatty, Dunaway and the Oscars audience. Beatty, himself, offered a comment shortly thereafter, stating, “I feel it would be more appropriate for the president of the Academy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, to publicly clarify what happened as soon as possible.” The first official statement, made public shortly after the ceremony, came from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the longtime accounting firm for the Academy, where they expressed responsibility for the Best Picture mistake.
The two accountants – Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz – were the one tasked with handing out, and effectively safeguarding the winning envelopes on Oscar night. As has been noted, Cullinan mistakenly handed the wrong envelope to Beatty and Dunaway – they were handed the envelope for the Best Actress award (won by La La Land‘s Emma Stone) instead of the Best Picture envelope. Following visual confusion from Beatty on the stage, he deferred to Dunaway, who read La La Land as the winner of Best Picture. It wasn’t until after the producers of La La Land had started giving their speech that it was corrected – chaotically in real time – that Moonlight was the rightful winner. Variety recently published some damning behind-the-scenes images that showcase a distracted Cullinan, who was tweeting ahead of the snafu.
Variety also reports that the Academy is investigating and reviewing ties to PricewaterhouseCoopers but nothing further has yet to be unearthed.