UPDATE: PricewaterhouseCoopers has released a second statement apologizing for the Best Picture mistake at Sunday night’s Oscars — the result of mixed-up envelopes backstage. Read the statement below.
PwC takes full responsibility for the series of mistakes and breaches of established protocols during last night’s Oscars. 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 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.
EARLIER: To err is human, and the Oscars accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers had their humanity on full display Sunday night when an envelope mix-up led to the wrong film being announced as best picture, followed by an ungainly onstage correction.
“At the end of the day we made a human error,” Ryan said. “We made a mistake. What happened was, our partner on the left side of the stage, Brian Cullinan, he handed the wrong envelope to Warren Beatty. And then the second we realized that, we notified the appropriate parties and corrected the mistake.”
Beatty, who presented best picture with Faye Dunaway, was given a duplicate envelope naming La La Land star Emma Stone as best actress. Although Stone had kept the original envelope from her win, there are two sets of envelopes printed, with one set held by a PWC representative on either side of the stage.
When the time came for Beatty to reveal the winner, he was visibly confused by the contents of the envelope. Dunaway initially declared La La Land as the best picture winner, and the filmmakers and cast took the stage to give their acceptance speeches. It was only after two minutes — and two-and-a-half speeches — that the blunder was corrected and Moonlight was recognized as the true best picture.
In the USA Today interview, Ryan added, “We apologize to the cast of La La Land for having to have made those speeches in the time that it took to [correct it]. Immediately when it was announced, again, because of our mistake, both our partners who knew who the winner was — and they’re the only two who know — they realized the mistake had been made and they began to notify the appropriate people.”
PWC also released a statement early Monday morning 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 statement added, “We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation.”