Accountants behind Oscars snafu will no longer attend show

By AFP   March 1, 2017 | 08:39 pm PT
Accountants behind Oscars snafu will no longer attend show
Martha Ruiz (left) and Brian Cullinan of PricewaterhouseCoopers confer on stage after the Best Picture was mistakenly awarded to 'La La Land' instead of 'Moonlight'. Photo by Reuters/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
Two PricewaterhouseCoopers' accountants were responsible for the mix-up that briefly declared 'La La Land' best picture winner.

The two accountants involved in the embarrassing mix-up at Sunday's Oscars will not be invited back to the show, a spokesperson for the Academy told AFP on Wednesday.

Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz were the two members of PricewaterhouseCoopers -- the firm responsible for tallying and safeguarding Oscar votes and results -- who were in charge of handing out the winning envelopes to presenters at the ceremony.

However a mix-up resulted in Cullinan handing Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway a duplicate of the best actress envelope -- instead of the one that had "Moonlight" winning for best picture.

The screw-up marked the most embarrassing mistake in Oscars history, with the musical "La La Land" briefly declared the winner for best picture before organizers realized the flub.

Cullinan has come under scrutiny for reportedly tweeting during the ceremony, sending out a picture of Emma Stone, who won the best actress award for "La La Land," minutes before handing Beatty the wrong envelope.

PricewaterhouseCoopers took the blame after the gala evening ended in chaos and said Cullinan was mortified by his mistake.

"He is very upset about this mistake. And it is also my mistake, our mistake and we all feel very bad," Tim Ryan, PwC's U.S. chairman, told trade magazine Variety.

The company had no immediate comment on Wednesday on the Academy's decision to drop Cullinan and Ruiz from future shows.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy president, told The New Yorker magazine that she was horrified as the disastrous ending to one of the most watched shows on television unfolded.

"I just thought, What? What? I looked out and I saw a member of Pricewaterhouse coming on the stage, and I was, like, Oh, no, what—what's happening? What what WHAT? What could possibly...? " she said. "And then I just thought, Oh, my God, how does this happen? How. Does. This. Happen."

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