The latest chapter in the ongoing saga of the Oscars snafu heard ’round the world only adds yet another confounding element to the an already tangled tale. A new piece over at the Wall Street Journal reports that a PricewaterhouseCoopers partner may be to blame when it comes to the question of who handed presenter Warren Beatty the wrong envelope when it came time to announce Best Picture.
And yet, even with this added bit of info, this story somehow only grows more outlandish.
WSJ reports that “a managing partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP posted a celebrity photo on Twitter backstage at the Academy Awards Sunday night just minutes before he mistakenly gave an envelope to actor Warren Beatty that set off the disastrous announcement of the wrong best-picture winner.”
The new story holds that PwC partner Brian Cullinan tweeted a picture of Best Actress winner Emma Stone — a major no-no at the Oscars, who are so uptight when it comes to backstage snaps that even the press are barred from taking photos in the press room, which is not the case at most other major awards shows — at approximately 9:05PM PT, just three minutes before Beatty and Faye Dunaway took the stage to present the Oscar for Best Picture.
Moreover, the piece alleges that it was Cullinan who handed the incorrect envelope to Beatty — incidentally, a duplicate envelope that contained a card pronouncing Stone as the Best Actress win for her work in “La La Land” — which ultimately led to the “Bonnie and Clyde” duo announcing “La La Land” as the winner before an immediate and shocking announcement that “Moonlight” had actually won.
In a new statement from PwC provided to Variety, the accounting firm confirms that it was Cullinan who provided the wrong envelope to Beatty in the unprecedented mistake. Tim Ryan, the accounting firm’s U.S. chairman and senior partner told the outlet, “We clearly made a mistake and once the mistake was made we corrected it and owned up to it.”
Ryan said he had spoken to Cullinan about the episode at length. “He feels very, very terrible and horrible. He is very upset about this mistake. And it is also my mistake, our mistake and we all feel very bad,” Ryan said.
Cullinan, along with fellow PwC partner Martha Ruiz, are the only two PwC employees who know the identity of each winner before they are announced on the live show. Each is in charge of a separate stack of winning envelopes, located on either side of the stage area (which is why there was a duplicate envelope even available to Beatty and Dunaway).
Cullinan’s tweet has now been deleted.