National

Updated: February 28, 2017

PricewaterhouseCoopers identifies man responsible for Oscars Best Picture mix-up

Watch - Wrong Best Picture Winner Announced, Moonlight Wins

By Brianna Chambers

Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Nicole Moschella contributed to this report.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm responsible for organizing results and monitoring distribution of awards at the Oscars, has identified the man responsible for a snafu Sunday night in which "La La Land" was mistakenly announced as Best Picture instead of "Moonlight."

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After releasing a statement apologizing to Faye Dunaway, Warren Beatty and the casts and crews of "Moonlight” and “La La Land," the company released another apology, acknowledging that an accountant at the firm is to blame for the mistake.

"PwC takes full responsibility for the series of mistakes and breaches of established protocols during last night's Oscars," the statement says. "PwC partner Brian Cullinan mistakenly handed the back-up envelope for Actress in a Leading Role instead of the envelope for Best Picture to presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.

"Once the error occurred, protocols for correcting it were not followed through quickly enough by Mr. Cullinan or his partner. We are deeply sorry for the disappointment suffered by the cast and crew of 'La La Land' and 'Moonlight.' We sincerely apologize to Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Jimmy Kimmel, ABC and the Academy, none of whom (were) at fault for (Sunday) night's errors.

"We wish to extend our deepest gratitude to each of them for the graciousness they displayed during such a difficult moment. For the past 83 years, the Academy has entrusted PwC with the integrity of the awards process during the ceremony, and last night we failed the Academy."

According to People magazine, Cullinan, who was explicitly told to not use social media during the awards show, tweeted just minutes before accidentally handing Beatty and Dunaway the wrong envelope.

In a now-deleted tweet, Cullinan posted a picture of Emma Stone holding her award backstage after she had accepted the award for Best Actress for her role in "La La Land."

"Brian was asked not to tweet or use social media during the show," an unnamed source told People. "He was fine to tweet before he arrived at the red carpet but once he was under the auspices of the Oscar night job, that was to be his only focus. Tweeting right before the Best Picture category was announced was not something that should have happened."

According to the source, the blunder may have put PwC's relationship with the Academy Awards in jeopardy.

"The Academy has launched a full-scale review of its relationship with PwC, but it is very complicated," the source told the magazine. "Vote-tallying and the Oscar night job is just one part of what PwC does with the Academy. It is too early to say how this will play out, but everyone is of course taking it very very seriously."

Before the start of the Oscars on Sunday, Cullinan told The Huffington Post that a mishap announcing an incorrect winner was "unlikely," and that if there were a mistake, PwC executives "would make sure that the correct person was known very quickly."

"Whether that entails stopping the show, us walking onstage, us signaling to the stage manager -- that’s really a game-time decision, if something like that were to happen," he said.

>> Here's how the Oscars mix-up for Best Picture happened

"La La Land" producers had already begun their acceptance speeches before being notified of the mix-up.

Cullinan has not publicly commented on the incident or posted on his Twitter account since the mistake on Sunday night.

Tim Ryan, a senior partner and U.S. chairman at PwC, told Variety magazine that he has spoken with Cullinan about the incident.

"He 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," Ryan said.

According to Cullinan's Twitter bio, he is a Cornell alumnus and a managing partner for PwC's Southwest region. He is based out of Malibu, California. 

Oscars 2017: Academy issues statement on Best Picture mishap 

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