The Oscars: One Big Oops

By Alexander Pralea, Reporter

Oops. That is the one word that can describe the entire 89th Academy Awards. The 2017 “Oscars”, as the ceremony is more widely known, was dominated by a major mishap in which actors Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly bestowed upon La La Land the award of best picture. It was only after a few minutes, by which time the filmmakers for La La Land had begun their acceptance speeches, that Beatty and Dunaway realized that they had received the envelope for the wrong category, and that Moonlight was the real winner. But who was accountable, and what happened? PricewaterhouseCooper, the accountants for the Oscars, were responsible, and have since apologized. According to a statement released by the firm, managing partner Brian Cullinan gave the envelope for best actress in a leading role, Emma Stone, to the presenters.  Neither Cullinan nor his partner, Martha Ruiz, who oversaw the envelopes comprised of the Oscar winners complied with the following protocol quickly enough. There measures put in place to avoid such scenarios include the printing of the categories of the awards on the exterior of the envelopes. This year, red paper was used with gold print, which could be picked up by cameras, but was difficult to read in the dim backstage lighting. After the names of the victors were put in the envelopes, Ruiz and Cullinan sealed the faulty envelopes. An additional precaution was to remember the names of the winners as to quickly respond if the wrong names were read, as happened in 2013.

Because of the uproar extending from the fiasco, Cullinan and Ruiz now have body guards and are under company protection, though PricewaterhouseCooper promises that Cullinan and Ruiz will never serve at the Oscars again.

While Moonlight was eventually rightfully awarded as best picture winner, this is perhaps the most egregious mistake in the history of the Oscars, and has caused even the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to apologize. Moonlight did end up winning three Oscars, so the night was surely success.

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