Hollywood icon Warren Beatty found himself at the centre of what is arguably the biggest screw-up to ever occur at the Oscars in its 79-year history, and the acclaimed actor/director wants some answers.
In February, the “Rules Don’t Apply” star released a statement to Associated Press in which he demands that Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Issacs “publicly clarify” exactly what took place that led to “La La Land” being mistakenly awarded the Oscar for Best Picture, when in fact it was “Moonlight” that had won the award.
Early reports were not kind to the 79-year-old star before the facts became known, with many mocking him for having a “senior moment” (the headline on The Drudge Report read: “Beatty Blows It”), but we now know that Beatty was blameless for the mix-up, which was actually the fault of a PriceWaterhouseCoopers accountant who was reportedly consumed with tweeting a photo of Emma Stone shortly before giving the wrong card to Beatty.
“I feel it would be more appropriate for the president of the Academy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, to publicly clarify what happened as soon as possible,” said Beatty in his statement; representatives for the Academy didn’t immediately comment, reports AP.
Beatty and his “Bonnie and Clyde” co-star Faye Dunaway presented the final award at Sunday’s Oscars, for Best Picture. When Beatty opened the envelope, he appeared confused, eventually handing it to Dunaway, who announced “La La Land” had won. However, we now know that Beatty was handed the wrong envelope when he walked onstage; instead of Best Picture, he was given a duplicate envelope for the previous award, Best Actress, which went to “La La Land” star Emma Stone.
The Academy issued a statement of apology for the fiasco. “We deeply regret the mistakes that were made during the presentation of the best picture category during last night’s Oscar ceremony,” reads the statement. “We apologize to the entire cast and crew of ‘La La Land’ and Moonlight’ whose experience was profoundly altered by this error. We salute the tremendous grace they displayed under the circumstances. To all involved — including our presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, the filmmakers, and our fans watching worldwide — we apologize.”
PwC also issued a statement of apology, admitting the accounting firm “takes full responsibility for the series of mistakes and breaches of established protocols during last night’s Oscars. PwC partner Brian Cullinan mistakenly handed the back-up envelope for Actress in a Leading Role instead of the envelope for Best Picture to presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Once the error occurred, protocols for correcting it were not followed through quickly enough by Mr. Cullinan or his partner.”
The statement added: “We are deeply sorry for the disappointment suffered by the cast and crew of ‘La La Land’ and ‘Moonlight’. We sincerely apologize to Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Jimmy Kimmel, ABC, and the Academy, none of whom was at fault for last night’s errors. We wish to extend our deepest gratitude to each of them for the graciousness they displayed during such a difficult moment. For the past 83 years, the Academy has entrusted PwC with the integrity of the awards process during the ceremony, and last night we failed the Academy.”
Michael de Luca and Beatty met together for lunch following the incident. The Academy revealed Wednesday it will continue to use the services of PwC moving forward. But to avoid this year’s infamous incident from happening again, a portion of the Academy’s board members met to discuss how to prevent this. The meeting reportedly lasted over six hours and was heated.
Some members felt that more than an apology was needed. Academy CEO Dawn Hudson revealed she knew that Cullinan has used his phone to access social media during ceremonies past. She’s warned him during previous Oscars and he continued to disobey her. It was also revealed that he had a party the night before the Oscars this year and was boasting to his guests that he knew the winners.
Moving forward, the Academy will continue to work with PwC but with different accountants and more protocols. All accountants will have to get rid of their phones before nearing the Oscars stage and the Academy will review PwC’s procedures.