Motion Picture Academy Retains PwC Accounting Firm Despite Oscars Mishap
By Desiree Murphy
Remember when La La Land was accidentally announced as the winner of Best Picture at the Oscars, when it was really supposed to go to Moonlight?
It's been one month since the unforgettable mishap occurred at the 89th Annual Academy Awards, and on Wednesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released a statement revealing that despite the incident, they will retain their partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers, which handles the counting of the votes.
In an Academy bulletin, president Cheryl Boone Isaacs explained why they decided to move forward with the accounting firm.
"Heading into our 84th year working with PwC, a partnership that is important to the Academy, we've been unsparing in our assessment that the mistake made by representatives of the firm was unacceptable," Isaacs shared. "Throughout the last month, the Academy team has worked hand-in-hand with PwC to review our wide-ranging relationship -- everything from Oscars voting, auditing, and taxes -- during which we asked them to lay out for us a path and a process towards ensuring that everything will continue to the high standards the Academy expects and you deserve."
"From the night of the ceremony through today, PwC has taken full responsibility for the mistake," she continued. "After a thorough review, including an extensive presentation of revised protocols and ambitious controls, the Board has decided to continue working with PwC."
Isaacs then detailed the new protocols for the PwC on-site team at the Oscars, which will include a third balloting leader "with knowledge of award winners who will sit in the control room with the show's director throughout the ceremony."
"We've developed Oscar night protocols including implementation of partner rehearsals for possible onstage issues, removal of electronic devices from backstage and improvements to onstage envelope category verification," Isaacs added. "[There will also be an] ongoing evaluation of backstage protocols and procedures."
Earlier this month, an Academy spokesperson confirmed to ET, however, that the two accountants from PwC who were responsible for the Oscars flub, Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, will not work the awards show again, but will remain partners at the firm.
ET previously reported that Cullinan had been identified as the one who gave presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope, leading to La La Land being mistakenly awarded the Best Picture Oscar as opposed to the actual winner, Moonlight.
In a statement from PwC, the accounting firm took full responsibility for the mistake, and called out Cullinan for not only handing out the wrong envelope, but for him and Ruiz not acting quickly enough once the mistake was made.