Oscars Producers, Academy Fail to Apologize to ‘La La Land’ Filmmakers for Best Picture Fiasco

Jimmy Kimmel Oscars flub reaction
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

It’s been roughly 17 hours since “La La Land” was mistakenly crowned the best picture winner Sunday night, while the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the producers of the Oscar show have yet to apologize to the filmmakers behind the musical.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that tabulates Oscar votes and oversees the announcement of winners, has publicly taken the blame for the mistake, chalking it up to “human error.” One of the firm’s employees, Brian Cullinan, handed presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the envelope with the best actress winner (“La La Land’s” Emma Stone) instead of the one announcing best picture victor “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,” the firm’s statement after midnight Sunday 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.”

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The chairman of the accounting giant said he has reached out to the Academy and said that he would also like to personally apologize to the filmmakers involved in both “La La Land” and “Moonlight,” but he has not yet heard back from the organization.

But as of Monday afternoon, no calls have been placed from the Academy leadership, itself, to top executives at Lionsgate, the studio behind “La La Land,” nor has an apology been offered to producers Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt, or Fred Berger. The three producers were giving victory speeches, thanking friends and family, when it fell to Horowitz to come to the microphone to announce that a mistake had been made and “Moonlight” was the actual winner.

“I’m going to be really proud to hand this to my friends from ‘Moonlight,'” Horowitz said.

The producers declined to comment for this article, but privately, many Academy members are hailing the generosity and poise that the producers showed.

“They’re salt of the earth,” one intimate said, noting that the filmmakers were very close with the team behind “Moonlight.”

A Lionsgate spokesperson said, “We are incredibly proud of our eight Oscar winners (six for ‘La La Land’, two for ‘Hacksaw Ridge’) and the poise and grace shown by our talent last night,” but declined further comment.

Insiders at the Academy said the organization still operates in many respects like the private organization that it is and does not move quickly when a crisis erupts. The organization had made no statements by Monday afternoon to not just those directly impacted by the miscue but to the media.

With many layers of administration, not to mention a board of governors and a committee of the board that oversees the Oscars show, it is difficult for the Motion Picture Academy to decide what public stance to take, said one person close to the organization, who declined to be named. “They are just not a nimble organization when it comes to this sort of thing,” said the source.

James Rainey contributed to this report.

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  1. unbinlauhum says:

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  2. John says:

    I haven’t seen it. It looks boring and I’ve read enough reviews to conclude that it’s probably boring, disjointed, depressing and crude. No thanks. I bet none of the other commenters have seen it either, but let’s all pretend we love it because it has such an important message.

    • sure jan says:

      I dunno, I have to agree with John there.

    • RX says:

      And yet, when a movie that “John” LIKES (or assumes he will like) gets bad reviews or doesn’t make very much money, he’s the first one to race to his keyboard in his mom’s basement to tell the world that he NEVER reads critics’ reviews or believes a word they say, and that the movie was unfairly maligned by all the haters. You clowns are a dime a million. Stop thinking your opinion matters and try watching stuff and actually writing honest (even negative) reviews instead of haunting comments sections that are forgotten mere hours after the stories go live.

  3. sure jan says:

    The person who mixed up the envelopes should apologize if s/he hasn’t. And whomever was in the position to step in and correct the mistake before the LLL crew took the stage and made their speeches, also definitely should.

    Everyone else handled it about as well as possible. I’d been hoping La La Land would get Best Picture simply because it *looks* better to me, but I’ve got to watch all the nominees and judge for myself. Congratulations to them all just for being nominated…to LLL for all the other Oscars it won…and to Moonlight for taking the top prize. I’m sure it’s good. Still, I couldn’t help thinking, “They’re probably going to have given it to Moonlight for obvious reasons…*cough ‘Oscars so white’ cough* They’re playing up and voting for many of the ‘diversifying’ nominees because that’s what happens after you’ve been criticized for only paying attention to white people.” Probably won’t feel “genuine” until race discussion subsides and there’s a natural, population-reflective mix of nominees each year.

  4. chris m bulmer says:

    interesting that this article is so concerned that the white people get their apology, while ignoring the fact that the “black, gay” film did not get it’s “and the oscar goes to” moment. moonlight also deserves an apology. a big one. but this is about the la la land butt hurt. white people butt hurt. minorities are used to the back seat.

  5. loco73 says:

    No … of course they didn’t…because if they did that would make them klansmen…LOL…Personally I’m soo glad I stopped watching.

  6. Donna says:

    Now will we see a year of apologies or can they all say it was a mistake,

  7. Faye Kanews says:

    Now get ready to see Brian Cullinan freshly minted as a new American Celebrity with guest spots on Ellen & Late Night then Dancing With The Stars, etc. USA! USA! USA! #smh

  8. Lisa says:

    Well, it was a sea of white when all those white me got up on stage to get their prize. Maybe now they’ll finally know what it’s like for someone to take something away from them. Stop whining and give other people a chance.

    • John says:

      Are you trolling us? Is this a serious comment? I hope not. La La Land was the most diverse movie of the year. It showed people of all races treating each other as equals. Moonlight is an entirely black cast with no diversity. And no one saw it. Literally almost no one. You don’t want equality. You want a handout.

    • Lisa says:

      Freudian slip. I meant ‘white men’ not ‘white me’. Sorry.

      • Jen says:

        I don’t think you know what a Freudian slip is unless you were betraying your desire to be white when you accidentally said “white me.”

  9. Jiminy Critic says:

    There is nothing for the producers or the Academy to apologize FOR. It’s just “Showbiz”.

  10. La La Land Producer Jordan Horowitz saved the day. CLASS ACT. HE was the one who took charge. HE snapped that card from Warren, HE went to the microphone, HE announced the mistake, HE invited Moonlight on stage. Meanwhile, everyone else was running around clueless.

  11. AC says:

    Not sure what type of apology you’re looking for. Feels like you’re more concerned with a snappy headline. The reality is that PWC admitted the mistake and apologized to all involved. What would you have the producers or academy do, exactly, that hasn’t been done.

    And, agree that MOONLIGHT was robbed of their moment in the sun. I think Jordan Horowitz handled it as well as anyone could, btw. Not sure I would be as poised in the moment.

  12. S Smith says:

    Can we stop handing apologies and praise the producers of La La Land and start paying attention to the producers of Moonlight? Jordan Horowitz did the right thing, albeit roughly yes – and he is famous today for it. But Moonlight was robbed of the moment Horowitz and his less competent partners got to experience, which is that moment of winning. Part of that blame lies with Horowitz too actually. By taking control of the situation, it was up to him to decide how to pass that moment on. Rather than take a breath and say “there’s been a mistake. The Oscar for Best Picture goes to…Moonlight” he made a somewhat angry statement that contributes to the tension of the moment and ultimately decided the moment. Moonlight deserved better and it’d be nice if we started making up for it.

  13. CJB says:

    Of course not.
    Wrong constituency.

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