The two accountants involved in the embarrassing mix-up at Sunday’s Oscars will not be invited back to the show, a spokesperson for the Academy told AFP on Wednesday. Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz from PricewaterhouseCoopers-the firm responsible for tallying and safeguarding Oscar votes and results-were in charge of handing out the winning envelopes to presenters at the ceremony. However a mix-up resulted in Cullinan handing Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway a duplicate of the best actress envelope-instead of the one that showed “Moonlight” winning best picture. The fiasco marked the most embarrassing mistake in Oscars history, with the musical “La La Land” briefly declared the winner for best picture before organizers realized the error.
Cullinan has come under scrutiny for reportedly tweeting during the ceremony, sending out a picture of Emma Stone, who won the best actress award for “La La Land,” minutes before handing Beatty the wrong envelope. PricewaterhouseCoopers took the blame after the gala evening ended in chaos and said Cullinan was mortified by his mistake. “He is very upset about this mistake. And it is also my mistake, our mistake and we all feel very bad,” Tim Ryan, PwC’s US chairman, told trade magazine Variety. The company had no immediate comment on Wednesday on the Academy’s decision to drop Cullinan and Ruiz from future shows.
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy president, told The New Yorker magazine that she was horrified as the disastrous ending to one of the most watched shows on television unfolded. “I just thought, What? What? I looked out and I saw a member of Pricewaterhouse coming on the stage, and I was, like, Oh, no, what-what’s happening? What. What. WHAT? What could possibly…?” she said. “And then I just thought ‘Oh my God, how does this happen? How. Does. This. Happen’.” The Academy also apologized Wednesday to producer Jan Chapman, whose photo was mistakenly flashed in the event’s “In Memoriam” segment honoring film industry figures who died over the past year.
Janet Patterson, an Australian costume designer who died in October, was shown not with her picture but with that of the well-known Australian producer Chapman. “We sincerely apologize to producer Jan Chapman, whose photo was mistakenly used in the Oscars ‘In Memoriam’ tribute for her colleague and dear friend, the late Janet Patterson,” the Academy posted on Instagram. “Janet, an Academy member and four-time Oscar-nominated costume designer, was beloved in our community. We extend our deepest apologies and condolences to the Patterson family.”-AFP