News of the dramatic best picture reveal at the Oscars last Sunday quickly circulated through the internet and the media. After first announcing “La La Land” as the winner, it was revealed during the middle of their acceptance speech that there had been a mistake; “Moonlight” had actually won the award. The incident has already been dubbed one of the most infamous gaffes in the show’s history, with many citing comparisons to Steve Harvey’s notorious Miss Universe screwup.
Warren Beatty apologized on stage directly after the incident, referencing his confusion over the card he was given. And after PricewaterhouseCoopers released their official statement on Monday, any blame put on Beatty or Faye Dunaway was quickly dispelled. The accounting firm’s statement read: “PwC takes full responsibility for the series of mistakes and breaches of established protocols during last night’s Oscars … Once the error occurred, protocols for correcting it were not followed through quickly enough by Mr. Cullinan (one of the PwC accountants handling the envelopes) or his partner.” They continued on to say, “We are deeply sorry for the disappointment suffered by the cast and crew of ‘La La Land’ and ‘Moonlight.’ We sincerely apologize to Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Jimmy Kimmel, ABC, and the Academy, none of whom was at fault for last night’s errors.”
“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.” These strong closing words put a heavy burden on PwC continuing into their future relationship with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The president of the film academy said the two accountants responsible for the best picture flub, Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, will never work the Oscars again.
PwC handled the situation fairly well. Their statement took full responsibility for the mistake and was issued in a timely manner. However, the incident will undoubtedly cast a shadow over the award show and the accounting firm at Oscars to come. Future representatives in charge of giving the winning cards to presenters will have a lot of pressure on them to make sure everything runs smoothly, or PwC’s reputation will face the consequences.