Oscars WON'T fire firm blamed for Best Picture Fail

Justin Harp
Photo credit: Christopher Polk / Getty Images

From Digital Spy

The organisers of the Academy Awards have decided not to fire the accounting firm blamed for the #OscarsFail.

The eyes of the world collectively doubled in size during the final moments of February's 89th Academy Awards, when presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway accidentally announced the wrong Best Picture winner.

What we later learned is that PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant Brian Cullinan accidentally handed off an extra Best Actress envelope to Beatty instead of Best Picture - meaning that it was Moonlight and not La La Land taking home the night's most coveted award.

While the Academy previously banned Cullinan and fellow PwC accountant Martha Ruiz from ever working on the Oscars again, it has taken the surprising decision to continue entrusting winners' tabulations to their employers at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

That decision was reached during a six-hour meeting of the Academy's president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and its board of governors on Tuesday (March 28), after PwC chairman Tim Ryan apologised for the "human error" (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Photo credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

However, there will be significant changes to PwC's procedure, including the requirement that its representatives hand over their mobile devices before next year's ceremony.

Cullinan had defied instructions from Academy bosses by taking selfies from the backstage area in the moments before the Best Picture screw-up played out on worldwide TV.

In an email to the Academy, its president Cheryl Boone Isaacs wrote: "We've been unsparing in our assessment that the mistake made by representatives of the firm was unacceptable.

"From the night of the ceremony through today, PwC has taken full responsibility for the mistake. After a thorough review, including an extensive presentation of revised protocols and ambitious controls, the Board has decided to continue working with PwC."

The fallout from the mistake has been brutal on everyone involved, with now both Cullinan and his associate Martha Ruiz being given bodyguards due to receiving death threats.

Photo credit: VALERIE MACON / Getty Images

In the immediate aftermath of this year's Oscars, PricewaterhouseCoopers accepted full responsibility for the "human error" that led to the shocking fiasco.

"We clearly made a mistake and once the mistake was made, we corrected it and owned up to it," the firm's chairman Tim Ryan said at that time.

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