(Newswire.net — February 28, 2017) — Los Angeles, CA – PricewaterhouseCoopers, an accounting firm which has handled the Academy Awards tabulations since 1935, has taken full responsibility and apologized early Monday for the mistake that led to the erroneous announcement of “La La Land” as Best Picture instead of the actual winner, “Moonlight”.
The mistake has led many jaws to drop, but not even this drama has saved the show from having the lowest Oscars rating in the past nine years, according to CBS news.
The ratings dropped 4.4% comparing to last year, according to Wall Street Journal.
The 89th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, was the least watched Oscars ceremony since 2008, when the show was hosted by Jon Stewart.
Although viewership was declining, the social media activity was greatly increased by the last-minute Hollywood twist.
22.1 million interactions took place across Facebook and Twitter during the show, according to ABC’s accounting of Nielsen Social data. However, the network did not want to specify which part of it is due to the Best Picture controversy.
Brian Cullinan, a managing partner at PwC, had mistakenly given the wrong envelope to the best picture presenters, the stars of the 1967 gangster drama “Bonnie and Clyde”, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. The envelope contained the name of best actress winner, Emma Stone, instead of the envelope with the best picture winner, “Moonlight”.
Although Cullinan was not given the permission to post during the ceremony, he did so and minutes before the disaster occurred.
Cullinan, a top-ranking executive in PwC’s L.A. office, tweeted a backstage photo of Emma Stone, along with the following post “Best Actress Emma Stone backstage! #PWC!”. The post was published at 9:05 p.m. Pacific time and just three minutes later, the stars of a legendary classic “Bonnie and Clyde”, which marks its 50th anniversary, went on stage to announce the crown award of the evening.
It took about two minutes after the wrong winner announcement for the other PwC partner, Martha Ruiz, to run on stage with the correct envelope. Fortunately, the two partners who worked on the Oscars had memorized the winners.
Unfortunately, by this time, two “La La Land” producers had already given their acceptance speeches.
A person familiar with the matter stated that Cullinan asked for the permission to post during the ceremony, but was turned down, because his job was only to distribute the envelopes and make sure the process goes smoothly.
Cullinan deleted all of his posts from the award ceremony on Monday morning, and hasn’t given any comments.
Tim Ryan, PwC’s U.S. chairman, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, extended his sincere apologies to everyone for the caused inconvenience and officially stated: “This was our issue. PwC made the error, and we’re accountable”. Ryan also added that Mr. Cullinan feels “horrible, absolutely horrible”.
Ryan also added that he wished for the reaction to have been quicker but assured that the partners reacted “as quickly as they could”.
Neither the Academy nor PwC wish to disclose how much is the accounting firm paid to oversee the Oscar voting process.
What is known from the published financial statements of PwC for the 2016 fiscal year is that the accounting firm gains 4.2% of its 35.9 billion in global revenue from clients that belong to the entertainment and media sector.
Although the scandal broke conventions for the ceremony which is often referred to as a ‘preordained evening’, it still remains to be concluded that the scenario ‘The Oscar” meets “The Accountant” and “The Social Network’ is a disastrous collision and definitely not a combination which is safe to follow for future reference.