It's rare that the Oscars come with more drama than the movies that are nominated, but Sunday night's awards may have actually managed to accomplish it. When it came time for the last award of the night, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway accidentally mixed up the winner for Best Picture, naming La La Land when actually, Moonlight was the real champion. And now, the Oscars accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, is apologizing for the Best Picture flub, and it's pretty clear this incident isn't over just yet. Update: PwC has released a second statement, which, according to The Hollywood Reporter, reads in part, PwC takes full responsibility for the series of mistakes and breaches of established protocols during last night’s Oscars. PwC partner Brian Cullinan mistakenly handed the back-up envelope for Actress in a Leading Role instead of the envelope for Best Picture to presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Once the error occurred, protocols for correcting it were not followed through quickly enough by Mr. Cullinan or his partner.” The full second statement can be read here.
Earlier: The company has counted Oscar ballots for 83 years of the show's 89-year history, but this wasn't a ballot counting issue — just a case of Beatty being given the wrong envelope. The one he read was the same one that stated Emma Stone had won Best Actress for La La Land, and it seems that the confusion only spiraled from there.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the firm's statement says:
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 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. We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation.
So far, the Academy itself has yet to issue a statement, and since this is the first time something like this has happened, it's hard to determine what will happen next. At the time of the mistake, Beatty explained that he'd been handed the wrong card, instead receiving one that said Emma Stone had won Best Actress.
This may be the first mistake of its kind, and I'm willing to bet that it's probably going to be the last. It was definitely an unfortunate incident, but hopefully, it will never happen again.