A just-posted N.Y. Times story by David Gelles and Sapna Maheshwari reports that PricewaterhouseCooper’s Brian Cullinan was the guy who fucked up by giving Warren Beatty the wrong envelope — not the one containing the winner of the Best Picture Oscar but the winner of the already presented Best Actress Oscar — i.e., La La Land‘s Emma Stone.
PricewaterhouseCooper’s Brian Cullinan (l.) and Martha L. Ruiz (r.)
Here’s how the story lays it out: “Two identical sets of sealed envelopes are stationed on either side of the stage. The two PricewaterhouseCoopers partners who oversee the voting process, Martha L. Ruiz and Brian Cullinan, each have a briefcase with a complete set of the envelopes.
“The envelope for Best Actress, the penultimate award of the night, came from one side of the stage. After Emma Stone accepted that honor, Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty came out to present Best Picture award. But they were handed an envelope from the other side of the stage, where the other best actress envelope was still unopened.
“And Mr. Cullinan, who handed Mr. Beatty the envelope, clearly picked the wrong one.
“After Mr. Cullinan and Ms. Ruiz realized that the wrong winner had been announced, they notified the stage manager, which set in motion a chaotic scene watched by the celebrity crowd in attendance and tens of millions of viewers on television.
“Yet it still took more than two minutes between Ms. Dunaway announcing ‘La La Land‘ as Best Picture and an announcement from the La La Land producers that Moonlight was in fact the winner.”
But what happened really? Two movies got to take bows for having won Best Picture, the La La Land guys behaved really graciously, the whole world is talking a lot more about La La Land and Moonlight right now that if the mistake had never happened, and those who haven’t yet seen Moonlight and La La Land are damn sure going to see them now, either in theatres on via streaming. So it all kinda worked out in a good way.
So please don’t fire Cullinan — he fucked up, sure, but he also made everyone look good in a roundabout way. Be kind, be merciful, let him skate.