In an exclusive pictorial essay, with timecodes, Variety shows the backstage photos that captured the subtle mistakes which led to the biggest Oscar blunder in the nearly 90-year history of the Academy Awards.
To literally see the sequence of events, click here.
PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan were the only two people at the event in charge of envelopes and protocol (as is per usual), with one on each side of the stage. More importantly, they were the only two people on the planet who knew the contents (i.e. winners) of each envelope. As the photos reveal, Cullinan is the culprit here; it happened on his side, and he was distracted when texting images of Best Actress winner Emma Stone. Like an idiot.
Nevertheless, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences announced today that both Cullinan and Ruiz will never be allowed to work the Oscar ceremonies again. Probably understandable, but one can’t help but feel bad for Ruiz who’s having to bear the consequences of her colleague’s malfeasance, simply by association.
It’s also being reported that the Academy may have two accountants on each side of the stage (making four total) at future Oscar ceremonies, in light of the single-person oversight disaster. In other words, the plan is to hold accountants accountable.