Oscars Academy Weighs Next Moves After PwC Best-Picture Blunder

  • Accounting firm blames tweeting partner for envelope mix-up
  • Academy ‘committed to upholding the integrity of the Oscars’

The cast of 'Moonlight' and 'La La Land' appear on stage as presenter Warren Beatty shows the winner's envelope for Best Movie 'Moonlight.'

Photographer: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

The organization behind the Academy Awards is weighing its next move after a partner at accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers handed out the wrong envelope for best picture, triggering the most spectacular blunder ever on Hollywood’s biggest night.

“We have spent last night and today investigating the circumstances, and will determine what actions are appropriate going forward,” the Beverly Hills, California-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences said late Monday in a statement on its Twitter account. “We are unwaveringly committed to upholding the integrity of the Oscars and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.”

Brian Cullinan, center, on Feb. 26.

Photographer: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

The gravity of the statement underscores the potential fallout in Hollywood, where an Oscar win can mean millions in box-office revenue and make an artist’s career. The snafu, pegged to PwC account co-leader Brian Cullinan, has drowned out the usual media afterglow that follows the Oscars, threatening to disrupt the flow of dollars in which winners like “Moonlight” would otherwise expect to bask.

The academy and PwC made clear in separate statements that the mistake went beyond human error, identically citing “breaches of established protocols” at the ceremony. After the award was mistakenly given to “La La Land,” two of the film’s producers made full acceptance speeches before the issue was flagged to viewers.

Cullinan and PwC were widely pilloried on social media such as Twitter, where the hashtag #youhadonejob was trending. PwC said Cullinan and his partner didn’t correct the error quickly enough, concluding “last night we failed the academy.”

A spokeswoman made PwC’s peril even more explicit. The process will be “looked at extensively to see what measures need to be evaluated or evolved or completely replaced,” she told the Hollywood Reporter.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.
    LEARN MORE