Two accountants involved in Oscar fiasco won't return

By Allen Cone  |  Updated March 2, 2017 at 6:28 AM
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March 1 (UPI) -- The two PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants involved in Sunday's best picture fiasco won't again be handing out envelopes at the Academy Awards ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences confirmed Wednesday.

PwC accountants Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz have been permanently removed from all film academy dealings, sources told the Los Angeles Times and CNN.

The two will remain as partners at the accounting company.

On Monday, PwC took responsibility for the flub, citing "human error" and "breaches of established protocols."

"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," the company said in a statement.

Cullinan, who became a partner with the firm in 1997, handed presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty the wrong envelope as they walked on stage. Beatty was hesitant in naming the winner and Dunaway took the envelope and mistakenly announced La La Land was the best picture instead of actual winner Moonlight. The mixup was not corrected for more than two minutes as cast and crew from the musical had gone up to the stage.

The presenters were given the envelope containing the already announced best actress results -- Emma Stone for her role in La La Land.

Ruiz, who joined the two-member ballot team in 2015, has been with PwC for nearly 20 years.

Cullinan and Ruiz had complete sets of the envelopes in two briefcases. They stood on opposite sides of the stage and alternated distributing the envelopes to the presenters.

"Once the error occurred, protocols for correcting it were not followed through quickly enough by Mr. Cullinan or his partner," the statement posted on Twitter said.

Later Monday, the Academy said in a 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."

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