As we continue to sort through the aftermath of that disastrous Oscar mishap, the blame game is strong. Now, evidence suggests the blame lies almost entirely with a single Tweeting Accountant: PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Brian Cullinan.
Apparently, the whole kerfuffle went down like this: Only two accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers, or PwC, know the names of each year’s 24 winners. This year, the chosen accountants were Cullinan and Martha Ruiz. The envelopes containing the winners were placed in two fancy-pants briefcases, and Cullinan and Ruiz were driven separately to the Academy Awards, just in case one of them got waylaid, or the briefcase was destroyed. The pair then stood on opposite sides of the stage, and handed the envelopes to the announcers as each category was announced. Apparently, there isn’t exactly a procedure to follow in the event of an envelope mishap, because it was so unlikely. Until now.
In a statement from PwC, they completely threw Cullinan under the bus: “PwC partner Cullinan mistakenly handed the back-up 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 [Ruiz].” It has also come to light that Cullinan was tweeting before the mixup, hence the name that will be engraved upon his tombstone: The Tweeting Accountant. “Best Actress Emma Stone backstage! #PWC,” he wrote in a now-deleted tweet including a picture of Stone, which was posted at 12:05 a.m. EST, just minutes before Envelopegate occurred.
The Academy has also chimed in at last, saying in a statement that they have been “investigating the circumstances, and will determine what actions are appropriate going forward” and are “unwaveringly committed to upholding the integrity of the Oscars and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.” And last but not least, host Jimmy Kimmel told his side of the story on last night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!
The real disaster, of course, is that all this needless drama took away from the magnificent triumph of Moonlight. Celebrate Moonlight’s win and a few other high points from the Oscars here, and find Cullinan’s fateful, Google-cached tweet here.