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Firm responsible for counting Oscars votes apologises for best film blunder

Firm responsible for counting Oscars votes apologises for best film blunder

The accounting firm responsible for the counting and collation of votes for the Oscars has apologised for its part in the blunder that saw La La Land announced as the winner of best picture instead of Moonlight.

The mix-up saw the musical announced as the victor due to duplicate sets of cards, held by the only two people who knew the results, being mistakenly handed out to presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.

A statement from accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said: “We sincerely apologise to Moonlight, La La Land, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for best picture.

89th Academy Awards
The cast of Moonlight celebrates shock win at the Oscars (Matt Sayles/AP/PA)

“The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected.

“We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred.

“We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation.”

Warren and Faye had been given a card that revealed that La La Land’s Emma Stone was the leading actress winner, prompting them to incorrectly announce the musical as the winner.

Backstage, a confused Emma later said that she was still holding her winner’s card in her hand when best picture was announced, but there are in fact two identical sets of cards.

Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz from PwC, the tax partner to the awards ceremony, were forced to intervene on stage amidst the confusion and chaos.

The major blunder came at the very end of the Oscars’ ceremony, which was the worst for British talent in a decade.

The producers of La La Land were coming to the end of their acceptance speeches before it was revealed there had been a mix-up and that Moonlight was the victor of the coveted accolade.

La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz announced the error to the audience, holding up the correct card with the best picture winner, as he said: “There’s a mistake. Moonlight you guys won best picture.

“This is no joke. I’m afraid they read the wrong thing. This is not a joke, Moonlight, you won best picture.”

Warren returned to the microphone to say: “I want to tell you what happened, I opened the envelope and it said Emma Stone, La La Land, and that is why I took such a long look at Faye and at you.

“I wasn’t trying to be funny. This is Moonlight for best picture.”

89th Academy Awards
Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan of PwC (Jordan Strauss AP/PA)

Brian and Martha are responsible for manually counting the 7,000 votes made by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and are the only two people to know the full list of winners before the ceremony.

They were earlier seen arriving on the red carpet ahead of the ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, showcasing their matching briefcases filled with the 24 winners cards, which they each give out at either side of the stage to the presenters of the awards.

Moonlight’s director Barry Jenkins said, after the film was correctly revealed as the winner: “Very clearly even in my dreams this can’t be true. But to hell with dreams because this is true. It’s true, it’s not fake.”

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