The accounting firm responsible for the integrity of the Academy Awards said Monday that its staffers did not move quickly enough to correct the biggest error in Oscars history — the mistaken announcement of the best picture winner.
PwC, formerly Pricewaterhouse Coopers, wrote in a statement that several mistakes were made and two of its partners assigned to the prestigious awards show did not act quickly enough when La La Land was mistakenly announced as the best picture winner. Three of the film’s producers spoke before the actual winner, the coming-of-age drama Moonlight, was announced.
“Once the error occurred, protocols for correcting it were not followed through quickly enough by Mr. Cullinan or his partner,” the statement read. It did not address in detail which protocols were violated, or say whether a tweet Cullinan sent about best actress winner Emma Stone before the best picture announcement contributed to the mistake.
The firm, which has handled Oscar winner announcements for eight decades, apologized to Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, the cast and crew of La La Land and Moonlight, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and host Jimmy Kimmel.
“We wish to extend our deepest gratitude to each of them for the graciousness they displayed during such a difficult moment,” the statement said. “For the past 83 years, the academy has entrusted PwC with the integrity of the awards process during the ceremony, and last night we failed the academy.”
The statement came after nearly a day of speculation about how the worst gaffe in Oscars history unfolded. The fiasco launched countless punchlines, memes and a probe of what went wrong. The mystery deepened Monday afternoon after the Wall Street Journal reported that Cullinan tweeted a behind-the-scenes photo of winner Emma Stone holding her statuette. “Best Actress Emma Stone backstage!” the tweet read. The tweet, sent moments before the best picture announcement, raised the question of whether the accountant was distracted from the task at hand.
Although the tweet was deleted from the social media site, a copy of it was kept by Google and available through a cache page.
Brian Cullinan has deleted this tweet, which he posted shortly before the debacle happened last night. Distracted? #Oscars pic.twitter.com/4eSwD4XXKg
— Big4Veteran (@Big4Veteran) February 27, 2017