The investigation continues into how the huge mix-up happened during the live presentation of Sunday's 89th annual Academy Awards. The final presenters of the evening, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, somehow ended up with the wrong envelope for Best Picture.
It wasn't so much the wrong card for Best Picture as it was the right card for Best Actress. However, that category had already been announced. Close-ups show that the outside of the envelope in Beatty's hand clearly reads "Best Actress in a Leading Role." The video above shows the ensuing confusion on stage and in the audience as people realized it wasn't a joke.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, the company in charge of making and handing out the sealed envelopes containing the Oscar winners' names, has issued an apology, placing blame squarely on one of the two employees from the company that night, Brian Cullinan.
PricewaterhouseCoopers' apology 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.
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.
According to Elite Daily, Brian Cullinan tweeted (now deleted) a picture he'd taken backstage of Emma Stone on his iPhone just six minutes before the huge flub. So maybe his attention was elsewhere?
Facebook has live backstage footage of the show, which includes Emma Stone coming backstage after winning her award. You can also watch as the people covering the event from backstage react when they realize what's just happened.
Boston Globe explained the process PricewaterhouseCoopers uses—first they tally votes, then they make two identical sets of the cards used to announce the winners. Each set is placed into a locked briefcase, and two people from the company attend the awards ceremony and stand at either end of the stage, giving out the cards to the presenters as they walk on stage.
That does sound like it has the potential for disaster, although it seems to have worked fine for the past 88 Oscars ceremonies.