Academy President Vows ‘Moonlight’ Oscars Snafu Won’t Happen Again in Letter to Members

“Rest assured changes will be implemented to ensure this never happens again,” Cheryl Boone Isaacs writes to members

With the 89th Academy Awards in the rear view mirror, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs has penned a letter to members celebrating the successes of the ceremony — and vowing that the most famous mistake in Oscars history will never be repeated.

In the letter, obtained by TheWrap, Isaacs singled out “The professionalism of the crew and stage managers, led by Rob Paine” in particular for their handling of the chaotic final moments of the broadcast, when “La La Land” was mistakenly declared Best Picture, instead of actual winner “Moonlight.” She also reminded anyone reading the letter that the error happened because of failures on the part of accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. Recriminations aside, Isaacs aimed to assure members the flub heard round the world was a one-time thing.

“By now, thanks to the non-stop coverage of the past few days, we all know that that wrong envelope and the problems that ensued were caused by the failure of PwC’s accountants to follow established protocols and their delay in immediately remedying the situation,” Boone said in the letter. “PwC has accepted full responsibility for the error. Rest assured changes will be implemented to ensure this never happens again.”

As TheWrap reported March 1, PwC accountants Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz made crucial errors before the wrong film was awarded Best Picture, and “froze” once the mistake apparent. Both have been removed from future Oscars duties.

Isaacs, for her part, saw a silver lining — that what became “certainly the most dramatic” Oscars ever was also one of the most “talked about.” She also cited the “effortless” job by host Jimmy Kimmel, the show’s musical performances, and the introduction of pioneering scientist Katherine Johnson as among the highlights of the 2017 Oscars.

“These are just a few of these reasons why live television is so exciting, why hundreds of millions of people across the globe watch the Academy Awards every year and why we have so much to celebrate.”

Read the full letter here:

It’s now been a few days since what was one of the best — and certainly most dramatic and talked about — Oscar ceremonies of all time.

I am so proud of the work and effort from each and every one of you this past year leading up to our show last Sunday, and the tremendous (and often thankless) job achieved by Jennifer Todd, Michael De Luca and their entire team in producing a show that was entertaining, enlightening, and emotional, and that reminded people around the world why we love the movies.

We have so much to be proud of:

– The impeccable and efortless hosting job by Jimmy Kimmel.
— From Justin Timberlake’s electric opening number that brought everybody to their feet, Sting’s stunning tribute to James Foley, “Moana’s” sixteen-year-old sensation Auli’i Cravalho and the multi-talented Lin-Manuel Miranda, to John Legend’s soulful serenade from “La La Land.”
— The acceptence speeches that touched our hearts.
— The inspiring introduction of Katherine Johnson by the cast of “Hidden Figures.”
— The many truly emotional segments including when stars shared the stage with the legends that inspired them, and Jennifer Aniston’s heartfelt remarks about the icons we have lost along with Sara Bareilles’ beautiful tribute.
— The professionalism of the crew and stage managers, led by Rob Paine, who handled everything remarkably from the set collapsing during dress rehearsal to the rather chaotic ending of the show. By now, thanks to the non-stop coverage of the past few days, we all know that that wrong envelope and the problems that ensued were caused by the failure of PwC’s accountants to follow established protocols and their delay in immediately remedying the situation. PwC has accepted full responsibility for the error. Rest assured changes will be implemented to ensure this never happens again.
-But, most of all, we are all proud of the spirit and enthusiasm of all the presenters, including Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, and filmmakers, especially those from “Moonlight and “La La Land.” The grace and humility they demonstrated onstage, with the world watching, shows the strength of the bond that connects all the artists in our community.

These are just a few of these reasons why live television is so exciting, why hundreds of millions of people across the globe watch the Academy Awards every year and why we have so much to celebrate.

I’ve included a celebratory video that showcases a few unforgettable moments from Sunday. I hope you enjoy it and look forward to what I know will be a memorable 90th Oscars in 2018.

Cheryl