Official word from the Academy’s accountants.
The official accountants for the Oscars think they’ve discovered just how that Best Picture botch happened.
Last night’s 89th Academy Awards ended in confusion when presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced La La Land as Best Picture, only for the real winner Moonlight to be revealed moments later.
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In the middle of that bizarre scene, Hollywood legend Warren Beatty returned to the microphone to insinuate that he’d been given the wrong winner’s envelope by mistake.
“I want to tell you what happened,” Beatty tried to clarify. “I opened the envelope and it said Emma Stone, La La Land. That’s why I took such a long look at Faye and at you. I wasn’t trying to be funny!”
Now we’re hearing from the Academy’s accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers that its representative Brian Cullinan did indeed hand off the wrong envelope to Beatty as he walked onto the stage.
Attributing the mistake to simple “human error”, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ chairman Tim Ryan told Variety: “We clearly made a mistake and once the mistake was made, we corrected it and owned up to it.”
Ryan went on to say: “[Handler Brian Cullinan] feels very, very terrible and horrible. He is very upset about this mistake. And it is also my mistake, our mistake, and we all feel very bad.”
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, their representatives Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz were both placed on opposite sides of the stage – each with a pile of original envelopes and a back-up pile.
It was a Best Actress envelope pulled from the backup pile that was accidentally given by Cullinan to Warren Beatty as the Hollywood icon made his entrance onto the Oscars stage.
That chain of events would obviously absolve both presenters, although Faye Dunaway admitted on Monday (February 27) that she was perplexed by the error.
“It was very quick, I can’t talk about it,” she insisted. “The card read that way. It was a very odd thing. It wasn’t Warren’s fault.”
Witnessing the whole scene play out from backstage was presenter Salma Hayek, who described the chaos as “kind of freaky, but exciting”.