The Academy Finally Issues an Apology for the Oscars Best Picture Snafu
In the latest development in envelopegate, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has finally issued an apology. But before we get there, lets do a quick recap.
In the most awkward televised moment in awards season history on Sunday night (but also maybe the best), La La Land won Best Picture before losing to the correct winner Moonlight. Soon after Americans became full-fledged detectives investigating what happened in the Best Picture debacle and why Warren Beatty was handed the wrong envelope. PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that handles the tabulation of votes on Oscar night, issued a statement early Monday morning admitting to an error, but said they they didn’t know how the duplicate Best Actress envelope got in the presenter’s hand.
Then on Monday night PwC issued a second apology taking full responsibility for the mix-up. PwC Chairmain Brian Cullinan was the one who handed Beatty the wrong envelope, and as we reported earlier via The Wall Street Journal, Cullinan might have been distracted because he was posting a photo of Emma Stone to Twitter during the Best Picture announcement (he later deleted it because, duh). At that point the Academy remained silent on the matter until finally issuing a statement late Monday evening. Here’s the full statement via Variety:
We deeply regret the mistakes that were made during the presentation of the Best Picture category during last night’s Oscar ceremony. We apologize to the entire cast and crew of La La Land and Moonlight whose experience was profoundly altered by this error. We salute the tremendous grace they displayed under the circumstances. To all involved — including our presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, the filmmakers, and our fans watching worldwide — we apologize.
For the last 83 years, the Academy has entrusted PwC to handle the critical tabulation process, including the accurate delivery of results. PwC has taken full responsibility for the breaches of established protocols that took place during the ceremony. We have spent last night and today investigating the circumstances, and will determine what actions are appropriate going forward. We are unwaveringly committed to upholding the integrity of the Oscars and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
It’s worth noting that both statements from Monday night claim that “established protocols” had been breached. The only problem is, PwC had no established protocols in place for a situation like this. In a random act of chance, The Huffington Post spoke to Cullinan last week ahead of the ceremony about what would happen if the wrong winner was announced at the awards, claiming it was “so unlikely.” Cullinan and PwC supervisor Martha Ruiz said that if a presenter named the wrong winner, a stage manager and producer would be notified to correct the error, but beyond that HuffPost writer, “the exact procedure is unknown because no mistake of that kind has been made in the Oscars’ 88-year history.” Until, of course, it happened in the 89th year.
As the Academy’s statement’s says, they’re still deciding what to do moving forward. Will Cullinan be fired for his Twitter distraction, or will a more secure protocol be set in place? Maybe they should hire more than two people to handle the situation so, you know, next time the wrong winners aren’t given a full two minutes to give an acceptance speech for an award they didn’t win.