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)