PricewaterhouseCoopers has taken responsibility for the snafu that caused chaos at the end of Sunday’s Academy Awards.
“We sincerely apologize 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 read. “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.”
PwC brings two complete sets of envelopes to the Oscars, and keeps one set in each wing. The two PwC balloting leaders, Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, are stationed just offstage in each wing, and it is their responsibility to hand the correct envelope to each presenter before he or she walks onstage.
Before Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway took the stage to present the Best Picture award, Beatty was mistakenly handed the second Best Actress envelope. (Winner Emma Stone had the first one, which was given to her along with her Oscar.)
Beatty didn’t notice that the front of the envelope said “BEST ACTRESS” instead of “BEST PICTURE,” but knew when he opened the envelope that something was wrong.
The PwC balloting leaders also have instructions to immediately stop the Oscars show if an incorrect winner is announced. But it was not stopped for a full two minutes, until stage manager Gary Natoli came onstage during the “La La Land” acceptance speeches, took the incorrect envelope from producer Jordan Horowitz and saw that it wasn’t the Best Picture envelope.
Re-watch the entire incident here: