It's been a little over a month since the 89th Academy Awards aired, but the fiasco that occurred at the very end of the ceremony is still fresh in our minds. While the majority of this year's Oscars went splendidly and had cool moments like candy being air-dropped, those triumphs will forever be overshadowed by La La Land being originally announced as the Best Picture recipient rather than the true winner, Moonlight. The error was later attributed to two accountants from the firm PricewaterhouseCoopers accidentally handling presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope. Despite the mistake, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts will retain PricewaterhouseCoopers for next year's ceremony, but new accountants are being brought aboard and there will be new protocols implemented to ensure that such a scene doesn't happen again.
From the point forward, PricewaterhouseCoopers' U.S. chairman Tim Ryan will take a "greater oversight role," while partner Rick Rosas will return to the job of handing out the winning envelopes (a job he originally held from 2003-2013), although he will be joined by another accountant who will be named in the next few months. More importantly, there will also be a third balloting leader clued into the results ahead of time who will be seated in the control room to make sure that any mistakes during the Oscars ceremony are dealt with more quickly. To that end, THR reports that all the accountants involved will participate in the rehearsals, and they'll have to turn in their electronic devices before going near the stage. The Academy will also review PwC's procedures so that a snafu like what happened with La La Land and Moonlight isn't repeated.
To provide a refresher on what went down at last month's Academy Awards show, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway came out to present the Best Picture Oscar together to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bonnie and Clyde. Upon opening the envelope, Beatty looked at the card inside with confusion for a bit before handing it to Dunaway, and she read the winner as La La Land. Mere minutes after the La La Land team went on stage to collect their golden trophies, the error was discovered, and Moonlight was announced as the proper winner, while Beatty clarified that he'd been given an envelope that had the Best Actress Winner inside, Emma Stone in La La Land.
It was later discovered that there were two copies of each category envelope, and one of the PwC accountants, Brian Cullinan, handed Beatty the wrong envelope, and before that occurred, he'd been posting pictures online despite being told not to use social media. Another accountant, Martha Ruiz, failed to address the mistake in time despite both her and Cullinan being instructed to memorize the winners before the ceremony. Cullinan and Ruiz have since been banned from ever working on the Oscars shows again, and as reported above, now a new team of accountants have succeeded them who are working under new rules, including temporarily giving their phones away while on duty.
The Best Picture mistake has already cemented itself as one of the those unexpected Academy Awards moments that's sure to be talked about for many years. However, it was also a huge blunder, so these changes will hopefully guarantee that another announcement error doesn't happen in next year's ceremony and beyond. We're still many months away before news about the 2018 Oscars starts arriving, but click here to read our predictions for what might score nominations.