PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm in charge of tabulating nominations and votes for the Oscars, has addressed the shocking mix-up that saw the wrong film announced as best picture, followed by an awkward onstage correction.
The firm released a statement apologizing “to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for Best Picture. The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred. We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation.”
The disarray began when Beatty and Dunaway emerged to present the night’s top award, and Beatty was visibly perplexed by the contents of the envelope. Dunaway initially declared La La Land as the best picture winner, while the filmmakers and cast took the stage to give their acceptance speeches.
The mistake was eventually corrected, and Moonlight was recognized as the actual winner. Beatty also went back to the microphone to explain that their envelope contained the winner for a different category — La La Land star Emma Stone, who won best actress moments before. “I opened the envelope and it said, ‘Emma Stone, La La Land,’” Beatty said. “That’s why I took such a long look … I wasn’t trying to be funny.”
Speaking to reporters backstage, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins recalled his reaction to the mix-up. “I think all of the movies that were nominated were worthy, so I accepted the result,” he said. “I applauded like everyone else. I noticed the commotion that was happening and I thought something strange had occurred, and then I’m sure everybody saw my face, but I was speechless when the result was [revealed].”
He added, “I’ve never seen that happen before. So it made a very special feeling even more special, but not in a way I expected.”