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.”
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.