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Accounting Firm Issues a Second Apology Over the Oscars Calamity — and This Time It’s Naming Names

Feb 28, 2017  •  Post A Comment

A leading contender has emerged in case anyone has to fall on his sword over the disastrous mixup at Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony. Based on a second apology statement issued late Monday by the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, accountant Brian Cullinan, a partner in the firm, is clearly in the hot seat.

“PwC takes full responsibility for the series of mistakes and breaches of established protocols during last night’s Oscars,” the company’s “revised statement” reads. “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.”

The statement adds: “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 was at fault for last 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.”

Media reports have suggested that Cullinan was too focused on watching the celebrities backstage and not focused enough on his job. The U.K. publication The Telegraph notes: “Moments before he handed out the wrong envelope in one of the worst blunders in Oscar history, Mr Cullinan tweeted a behind-the-scenes photo of winner Emma Stone holding her just awarded statuette saying ‘Best Actress Emma Stone backstage!'”

Emma Stone backstage at Oscars (Twitter)

 

3 Comments

  1. OK SOMEONE ALWAYS HAS TO TAKE THE FALL. A MISTAKE IS A MISTAKE AND HE SHOULDN’T GET THE AXE. I STILL AM NOT CONVINCED THIS IS THE CORRECT STORY OR JUST ANOTHER STORY. WHY DO YOU NEED A BACK UP ENVELOPE? ONE WINNER, ONE ENVELOPE OR AT THE VERY LEAST A DIFFERENT COLORED ENVELOPE IF YOU NEED A BACK UP. EMMA STONE IS LOVELY AND I CAN SEE HIS FACINATION WITH HER BUT COME ON?? THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ONE ENVELOPE. PERIOD.

  2. PwC believed in redundancy, so no matter which side of the stage the presenter entered, the envelope was to be available. This guy was more focused on tweeting photos than doing his job, so yes, he should be reassigned and reprimanded.

  3. It’s not that they believe in redundancy, they’re just adapting to the fact that some presenters enter from stage right, and some from stage left. Whatever side the presenter(s) enter from, the PwC person on that side hands them the envelope. It’s not rocket science, Cullinan should have looked at the outside of the envelope which said Best Actress. But yeah, he was too busy tweeting and stargazing.

    What really annoys me, and BOTH PwC employees are to blame for this, is that they did absolutely nothing while the entire cast and producers of LaLa Land made their way to the stage, then not one, not two, but three people gave acceptance speeches. By failing to act quickly the PwC people made a bad situation even worse.

    The person I hold blameless in all of this is Beatty. He opened the envelope, saw that it was the award for Best Actress (he said as much afterwards), and DIDN’T READ IT. Dunaway thought he was mugging for the audience, and started affectionately ribbing him, so he showed her the card. Unfortunately she thought he was inviting her to read the winner, so she just blurted out LaLa Land.

    If Beatty had just said to the audience “excuse me for a minute” and gone to get a producer, all would have been well. Unfortunately the way he handled it, Dunaway blurted out the wrong movie. And then the mistake was compounded by the PwC duo basically freezing.

    Mind you, in interviews the two PwC people said that they actually MEMORIZE all of the winners names in all 25 or so categories. This is to avoid having them written down anywhere.

    So, the second Dunaway said LaLa Land, they both knew something had gone wrong.

    BTW? Cullinan deleted all of his tweets from that evening. And it appears that he was told by PwC that it was OK to tweet from the red carpet but once he got inside, he was to focus exclusively on his job.

    He’s not going to get fired. He’s a partner. But for a firm like PwC … whose reputation is based on reliability and accuracy … this is a disaster. Do you want some starf*cker who rides a Harley and calls himself a Matt Damon lookalike handling your accounting? Or do you want some BORING guy who is obsessed with details?

    Exactly.

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