The representative from accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers responsible for handing off the wrong envelope at the Oscars, leading to the biggest snafu in Academy Awards history, may have been distracted by his Twitter feed at the time, according to reports.
Brian Cullinan, one of two reps from PwC stationed backstage at the ceremony, was identified as the person who gave presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway an extra copy of the Best Actress envelope, rather than the Best Picture envelope, leading to the erroneous announcement that "La La Land" had won the night's top prize, instead of the true honoree, "Moonlight." According to Variety, Cullinan was tweeting just minutes before the mix-up went down, and allegedly not keeping close enough track of the envelopes in his charge.
The trade reports:
Cullinan had been congratulating winners throughout the evening. After the wrong Best Picture winner was announced, he deleted the tweets from his Twitter account. Screengrabs reveal that Cullinan tweeted four times during the broadcast. ... Three minutes before the fateful hand-off, Cullinan took a photo of Emma Stone clasping the gold statue she picked up for "La La Land."
In an interview with Variety, PwC chairman and senior partner Tim Ryan, who was in the audience during Sunday's show, explained Cullinan's error.
[Cullinan] had a pile of envelopes for people entering from one side of the stage, while Martha Ruiz, another PwC partner, oversaw a separate pile for people entering from [her] side of the stage. Ryan said Cullinan simply pulled from wrong pile.
Ryan said he had spoken to Cullinan about the episode at length. "He 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," Ryan said.
PwC, which had already issued a statement apologizing for its role in the error, released a second statement on social media on Monday night, further explaining Cullinan's mistake. The accounting firm also admitted that Cullinan and Ruiz did not act quickly enough to correct the error, which ultimately led to three different "La La Land" producers delivering acceptance speeches before the mistake was announced and righted.
According to Variety, PwC had no comment on Cullinan's alleged tweets. While it remains to be seen whether the accountant will lose his job over this, he should probably lay off of social media for a while.