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Accountants Blamed for Oscar Blunder Will Not Work Ceremony Again


FILE - Accountants Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan from PricewaterhouseCoopers are pictured at the Oscars in Los Angeles, Feb. 26, 2017.

The organizers of the Academy Awards said Wednesday that the two PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants behind the mix up that saw La La Land incorrectly named best picture before Moonlight was declared the real winner, will not work the Oscars ceremony again.

A spokesperson for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences said PwC accountants Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz would no longer tabulate Oscar votes and hand out envelopes containing winners' names at Hollywood's most prestigious awards ceremony.

The academy has not said whether it will continue its partnership with PwC, which has handled the Oscar tabulation process for 83 years.

A PwC spokesman said Wednesday that Cullinan and Ruiz were still employed as partners at the accounting firm.

PwC had earlier taken full responsibility for the gaffe that stunned the Dolby Theatre crowd in Hollywood and a television audience worldwide.

The onstage blunder was not rectified until the La La Land cast and producers, who were on stage giving their acceptance speeches, caught the mistake and announced Moonlight as the real winners. The mishap was unprecedented for the usually meticulously choreographed ceremony and stole the spotlight from the winners.

FILE - Jordan Horowitz shows the envelope revealing "Moonlight" as the true winner of best picture at the Oscars, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
FILE - Jordan Horowitz shows the envelope revealing "Moonlight" as the true winner of best picture at the Oscars, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Backup envelope

PwC said Cullinan had mistakenly handed presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, who were announcing the best picture winner, the backup envelope for Actress in a Leading Role instead of the envelope for Best Picture.

"Once the error occurred, protocols for correcting it were not followed through quickly enough by Mr. Cullinan or his partner," the accounting firm said in a statement.

Cullinan had posted a now-deleted backstage photo of actress Emma Stone after she won her best actress Oscar on Twitter minutes before the mix-up.

A day after the incident, the academy apologized to all affected, including presenters Beatty and Dunaway, and said it would "determine what actions are appropriate going forward."

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