Friday, December 03, 2021

Oscars 2017: Damning pics prove PwC accountant was distracted, academy fires him

PwC accountant Brian Cullinan was taking a photo of Emma Stone in the wings with her new Oscar minutes before giving presenters the wrong envelope for best picture.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
March 2, 2017 11:52:47 am
oscars 2017, oscars 2017 Brian Cullinan, PwC accountants oscars 2017, oscars 2017 goof up, Brian Cullinan tweet, Brian Cullinan tweet emma stone, Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, the PwC accountants who handled the winners’ envelopes at Oscars 2017, have been permanently removed from all film academy dealings.

The 89th Academy Awards will not be remembered for Moonlight winning the Best Film Oscar, they will go down in history for the monumental blunder due to which La La Land was erroneously named the winner. And now, the two accountants who let the gaffe happen in the first place and then did nothing to clear it up for the next few moments, have been taken off Oscars duty.

The president of the film academy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, says the two accountants responsible for the best-picture flub at Sunday’s Academy Awards will never work the Oscars again. She also laments that the error overshadowed a show that celebrated a rich diversity of talent and storytelling.

The announcement came at a time when details and pictures emerged that broke down moment-by-moment how Envelopegate happened. It seems the mistake lies at the door of PwC partner Brian Cullinan who is seen holding two envelopes in his hand as Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, presenters of Best Film Oscar, are seen approaching him. Warren hugged the winner of the Best Actor award, Casey Affleck, while Brian holds both the envelopes in his hands.

Variety has shared images which not only show Cullinan engaged on his phone shortly before the La La Land blunder but he has two red envelopes in his hand. This disputes PWC’s official explanation that Cullinan grabbed the wrong envelope from a “backup pile.” It seems he was always in possession of both the best actress envelope (which he mistakenly handed over to Warren Beatty) and the best picture envelope.

Academy has accepted Cullinan was distracted backstage. He tweeted (and later deleted) a photo of Emma Stone in the wings with her new Oscar minutes before giving presenters the wrong envelope for best picture.

Check out the tweet here: 

brian cullinan tweet

Breaking her silence four days after the biggest blunder in the 89-year history of the Academy Awards, Cheryl Boone Isaacs praised the show’s producers and host on Wednesday for “a most beautiful, beautiful, wonderful evening. Then, of course, there was the last 90 seconds,” Boone Isaacs said. “And what angered me, I would say, in these last couple days is (the focus on) this 90 seconds and moving to the side the brilliance of the day.”

The academy president said that Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, the PwC accountants who handled the winners’ envelopes at Sunday’s show, have been permanently removed from all film academy dealings.

While Cullinan was responsible for handing over the errant envelope that led to La La Land mistakenly being announced as the best picture rather than Moonlight,’ PwC said both partners failed to follow protocols and did not act quickly enough to catch the error.

Also read | Oscars 2017: The Emma Stone photo that changed La La Land’s fortunes, made PwC the villain

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ relationship with PwC, which has been responsible for tallying and revealing Oscar winners for 83 years, remains under review, Boone Isaacs said.

Accepting that Cullinan was distracted, Boone Isaacs said, “They have one job to do. One job to do! Obviously, there was a distraction.”

Watch | Oscars 2017: Moonlight emerges winner after onstage goof-up

PwC released a statement late Sunday and another Monday taking “full responsibility for the series of mistakes and breaches of established protocols” during the Oscar show.

“Once the error occurred, protocols for correcting it were not followed through quickly enough by Mr. Cullinan or his partner,” the statement said. Both partners remain with the company, a PwC spokesman said Wednesday.

Protocols for handling the winners’ envelopes had been established by the accounting firm, Boone Isaacs said, “and they have worked for 83 years.”

Also read | Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone’s reaction after La La Land losing the Oscar is priceless. See pics

“We are reviewing those protocols, of course,” she said. “Because it never happened before and we never are going to have it happen again. And we are setting new guidelines, new protocols and really re-examining every step to make sure this never ever, ever happens.”

Though the academy released a statement late Monday apologizing to the artists of Moonlight and La La Land,’ Boone Isaacs said she waited to say more until her team had a better understanding of what led to the error.

“You need to get some facts under your belt,” she said. “It needs to be not just an emotional response. It needs to have some sort of clarity. … We wanted to say something right away, but we also didn’t want to misspeak.”

She commended show producers Jennifer Todd and Michael De Luca, presenters Beatty and Dunaway and host Jimmy Kimmel for handling the unprecedented situation so gracefully.

“Warren, he took charge there,” Boone Isaacs said. “He took charge of a situation that he did not create.” She also lauded La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz, who she said “went from a nominee to a winner to a presenter” in a matter of minutes.

Still holding the Oscar, he thought he’d won, Horowitz was the first to announce that Moonlight was the actual best picture recipient.

Though unexpected, having the casts of two films onstage at the end of the Oscar show revealed “the very best” of Hollywood, Boone Isaacs said: “And that is a camaraderie and respect for each other.”

“It’s important to remember that that is what this is all about,” she said.

WATCH |Oscars 2017 Winners

Also on Wednesday, the academy addressed another embarrassment on Sunday’s show, apologizing to the Australian movie producer incorrectly shown during the in memoriam segment.

In a statement, the academy extended “our deepest apologies” to producer Jan Chapman, whose photo was mistakenly used in the tribute instead of Chapman’s colleague and friend, the late Janet Patterson. Chapman had said she was “devastated” by the error.

Boone Isaacs said she regrets that the best-picture flub has overshadowed the show and its diverse array of winners. After two years of “OscarsSoWhite,” with all white acting nominees, Sunday’s ceremony recognized several actors and writers of color, and named a tender film about a gay black boy best picture. It followed two years of extensive reform to improve inclusion within the academy.

“Going back to the brilliance of the show, as well as a year of conversation about Hollywood today and the evolution of Hollywood in so many different ways, and to culminate in such a beautiful evening,” she said. “It (attention on the flub) was beyond disappointing.”

Ryan Gosling reacts as the true winner of best picture is announced at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. It was originally announced that "La La Land" won, but the winner was actually, "Moonlight." (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) Ryan Gosling reacts as the true winner of best picture is announced at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. It was originally announced that “La La Land” won, but the winner was actually, “Moonlight.” (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

And though she’s ready for public attention to shift back to the winning films rather than the errant envelope, Boone Isaacs appreciates that so many people care about the Academy Awards.

“The Oscars are truly special, to such a degree that everyone has an opinion about it, but I’m fine with that,” she said. “They have an opinion about how it should be, how it shouldn’t be, what we should do, who should win. … I love that we’re in the conversation. Let’s just make sure that, certainly this year, the conversation is about celebrating a fantastic year in the film business and a fantastic show.”

📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines

For all the latest Entertainment News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
X