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AP Exclusive: Accountants in Oscar mistake off the show

UPDATED: Wed., March 1, 2017, 3:15 p.m.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, says the two accountants responsible for the best picture mistake, Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, will not work the Oscars again. (Jordan Strauss / Invision/AP)
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, says the two accountants responsible for the best picture mistake, Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, will not work the Oscars again. (Jordan Strauss / Invision/AP)

LOS ANGELES – The president of the film academy says the two accountants responsible for the best-picture flub at Sunday’s Academy Awards will never work the Oscars again.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs said Wednesday that Brian Cullinan, the PwC representative responsible for handing over the errant envelope that led to “La La Land” mistakenly being announced as best picture rather than “Moonlight,” was distracted backstage. He tweeted (and later deleted) a photo of Emma Stone in the wings with her new Oscar minutes before giving presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope for best picture.

Cullinan and his colleague, Martha Ruiz, have been permanently removed from all film academy dealings, Boone Isaacs said.

The academy president broke her silence four days after the biggest blunder in the 89-year history of the Academy Awards. She told The Associated Press that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ relationship with PwC, which has been responsible for tallying and revealing Oscar winners for 83 years, remains under review.

PwC released a statement late Sunday and another Monday taking “full responsibility for the series of mistakes and breaches of established protocols” during the Oscar show. The company did not immediately respond to email and phone messages sent Wednesday.

Though the academy released a statement late Monday apologizing to the artists of “Moonlight” and “La La Land,” Boone Isaacs said she waited to say more until her team had a better understanding of what led to the error.

She praised presenters Beatty and Dunaway, and host Jimmy Kimmel for gracefully taking charge of the situation. She also lauded “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz, whom she said “went from a nominee to a winner to a presenter in a matter of minutes.”

Horowitz, still holding the Oscar he thought he’d won, was the first to announce that “Moonlight” was the actual winner.

Boone Isaacs lamented that “the last 90 seconds” of the telecast have overshadowed what she described as “the most brilliant and wonderful show.”

Also on Wednesday, the academy addressed another embarrassment on Sunday’s show, apologizing to the Australian movie producer it incorrectly displayed during the in memoriam segment.

In a statement, the academy extended “our deepest apologies” to producer Jan Chapman, whose photo was mistakenly used in the tribute instead of Chapman’s colleague and friend, the late Janet Patterson. Chapman had said she was “devastated” by the error.


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