Oscars Bans PwC Accountants Responsible for Best Picture Gaffe

The Oscars is taking definitive action against the two PricewaterhouseCooper accountants at the center of Sunday’s best picture debacle.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) President Cheryl Boone Isaacs told the Associated Press Wednesday that PwC’s Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, who handled the winners’ envelopes on the night, will never work on the awards, or any other AMPAS events, again.

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"They have one job to do. One job to do,” said Boone Isaacs. “Obviously there was a distraction."

PriceWaterhouseCooper representatives Martha L. Ruiz (L) and Brian Cullinan (R), the only two people who know the results carry two briefcase with the winning envellopes before the 89th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, February 26, 2017. They've been banned from working the Oscars in future. VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty

The distraction in question was newly-minted best actress winner Emma Stone.

Since Sunday’s ceremony it has emerged that Cullinan, who was responsible for handing actor Warren Beatty the wrong envelope resulting in La La Land being announced as best picture instead of Moonlight, was swept up by Stone appearing backstage with her Oscar statue.

The La La Land actor’s category was announced just before the best picture award was handed out. As Stone returned backstage, Cullinan tweeted a picture of her clutching her award, which has since been deleted.

According to Variety, the tweet was sent at 9:05 p.m. Pacific time, two minutes after Beatty and Faye Dunaway had begun their presentation for best picture and just moments before they announced the wrong winner.

Boone Isaacs told AP that the Academy is evaluating its 83-year relationship with PwC, which is responsible for counting the votes for the Oscars.

She said “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."

In a statement issued Monday, PwC said it takes “full responsibility” for the gaffe.

The firm said that although Cullinan was responsible for handing Beatty the wrong envelope, both he and Ruiz failed to enact protocols to rectify the situation “quickly enough.”

Boone Isaacs commended Beatty for trying to make sense of the situation onstage and the gracious way La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz handled the mix-up.

Horowitz was the first to announce that Moonlight had in fact won as confusion broke out and he handed over his Oscar to the producers of the poignant drama.Try Newsweek: Subscription offers


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