PricewaterhouseCoopers, the auditing and accounting firm that has counted Academy Award ballots for more than 80 years, faced a ton of backlash Monday after Oscar nominee “La La Land” was incorrectly named Best Picture winner during the 89th Academy Awards instead of the actual Oscar winner, film “Moonlight.” Presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were reportedly given the incorrect envelope when they announced “La La Land” as Best Picture winner, which PricewaterhouseCooper confirmed in a statement to ABC News Monday.
"We sincerely apologize 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," the statement read. "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 [host] Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation."
PricewaterhouseCoopers has tallied the votes and oversees “all aspects” of the Oscars for the last 83 years. The firm, which provides auditing and accounting services for more than 400 companies in the Fortune Global 500 in over 157 countries, usually follows a strict procedure for handling the votes. The company’s senior accountants Martha L. Ruiz and Brian Cullinan said in a past interview that they are responsible for memorizing each category winner before preparing two briefcases filled with winner envelopes the night before the awards show, after which the briefcases are taken to the award show in “separate, secret” routes. During the ceremony, Ruiz and Cullinan stand backstage and hand out the envelopes to presenters before they take the stage.
During Sunday’s blunder, Best Picture presenters were mistakenly given an envelope that read, “Emma Stone, ‘La La Land,’ resulting in Dunaway and Beatty announcing “La La Land” as the winner opposed to the actual winner, “Moonlight.”
“The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected,” PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a statement shortly after the awards show. “We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred.”
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