Could a Backstage Tweet Have Led to Massive Oscars Mix-Up?

The 'Wall Street Journal' lays out what appears to have happened
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2017 5:20 PM CST
This May Explain Sequence of Events Leading to Oscars Flub
Faye Dunaway, from left, accountant Brian Cullinan, AMPAS staffer, and Warren Beatty discuss the result of best picture at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

The Wall Street Journal may have figured out how exactly the biggest flub in Oscars history happened Sunday night. As the paper explains, Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz are the two PwC partners who stand at opposite ends of the Academy Awards stage with the envelopes containing the winners, ready to hand said envelopes to the appropriate presenters—and both hold a full set of envelopes, because they don't know for certain in advance which side of the stage presenters will walk in from. Immediately prior to the Best Picture award being presented, Ruiz had handed the Best Actress envelope to presenter Leonardo DiCaprio, who then read it onstage and presented the Oscar to Emma Stone for La La Land, sources tell the Journal. Cullinan, who still had an identical Best Actress envelope in his stack, then apparently handed that envelope instead of the Best Picture envelope to presenter Warren Beatty.

About three minutes before Beatty and co-presenter Faye Dunaway walked onstage to present the Best Picture award, Cullinan tweeted a photo of Stone holding her Oscar along with the caption, "Best Actress Emma Stone backstage! #PWC." The Journal says Cullinan had tweeted other photos during the awards show, but all of them, including the photo of Stone, have since been removed from his Twitter feed. (The Journal has a screenshot of the Stone tweet.) "At the end of the day, we made a human error," the US chairman and senior partner of PwC tells USA Today. He acknowledges Cullinan handed the wrong envelope to Beatty, though no mention was made of the tweeting, which TMZ says might have "distracted" Cullinan. The senior partner also tells Variety that Cullinan "feels very, very terrible and horrible. He is very upset about this mistake. And it is also my mistake, our mistake, and we all feel very bad." (More Academy Awards stories.)

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