U.K. accountancy firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has apologized for its role in Sunday night’s Academy Awards drama which saw Faye Dunaway mistakenly announce “La La Land” as the winner of the best picture Oscar rather than the actual winner, “Moonlight”.
“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,” read PwC’s apology, hastily issued shortly after the fiasco unfolded.
“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,” added the statement.
PwC has handled ballot-counting for the iconic awards ceremony for 83 years with its U.S. board chairman Brian Cullinan and tax partner Martha Ruiz personally leading the process for the past few years.
It fell to “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz to take control amid the chaos and step up to the microphone to explain to the audience that his film had in fact not won the coveted prize.
“I was ecstatic, it was amazing. I thought we won an Oscar,” Horowitz told The Hollywood Reporter. “Some guys in headsets started buzzing around. It became clear that was something wrong. They took the envelope I had. It said Emma Stone, La La Land on it.”
“It was clear that there was something wrong. We started looking for the best picture envelope. Nobody knew where it was. Then it appeared, they opened it next to me and it said ‘Moonlight.'”
Dunaway’s co-presenter, Warren Beatty, wasted no time in showing his team player credentials, taking to the mic to clarify that the mistake was not his fault.
“I want to tell you what happened. I opened the envelope and it said ‘Emma Stone La La Land’. That’s why I took such a long look at Faye and at you. I wasn’t trying to be funny,” he explained, laughing awkwardly.
The victim count from the ceremony is likely to grow as the PwC investigation unfolds, with Jimmy Kimmel being the first to assume some blame, concluding the evening’s entertainment by pledging that his debut hosting of the Academy Awards would be his one and only.
This despite widespread comments that it was largely Kimmel’s quick-witted humor that salvaged – to the extent possible – the thoroughly cringe-inducing situation.
“Guys, this is very unfortunate what happened. Personally I blame Steve Harvey for this,” Kimmel said, referencing the moment Harvey fluffed the announcement of 2015’s Miss Universe pageant winner.