The audience at Dolby Theater in Los Angeles was visibly confused Sunday night when crew members rushed the stage during "La La Land" producer Jordan Horowitz's acceptance speech for Best Picture.
Before long, Horowitz looked to the crowd and said: "You guys, I'm sorry, no. There's a mistake. 'Moonlight,' you guys won Best Picture."
"Moonlight" did, in fact, win Best Picture. The card that presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were given was that for Best Actress, which Emma Stone won for her role in "La La Land."
But many people were confused about what happened and how the snafu had occurred. Stone had already received her award.
"I opened the envelope and it said: Emma Stone, 'La La Land,'" Beatty told the Oscars audience. "That's why I took such a long pause and looked at Faye and at you. I wasn't trying to be funny."
"I also was holding my Best Actress in a Leading Role card that entire time, so whatever story … I don't mean to start stuff, but whatever story that was, I had that card. So I'm not sure what happened," Stone told reporters after the incident.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the accident was a result of a process in which duplicate envelopes are produced for each category winner.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, the company responsible for organizing results and monitoring distribution of awards at the Oscars for the last 83 years, creates two copies of each winning envelope "partly as another security measure and also to aid the show's flow," the Times reported.
Crew members wait at each end of the stage with signature briefcases holding the results, which they give to presenters.
"The remaining, unstuffed envelopes and nominee cards are shipped to a second secret location, just in case some disaster prevents access to the completed sets. After the ceremony, unused cards and envelopes are destroyed by an industrial document-destruction company," according to the Times.
The year, PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz were in charge of the briefcases and handing out the envelopes for each of the 24 categories. The assigned officials hand presenters their category's envelope before the presenters go on stage. According to the Associated Press, the accountants are also supposed to memorize the winners.
Cullinan was stationed on the right side of the stage, where most presenters entered the stage on Sunday night.
The award that was presented prior to the Best Picture award was Best Actress, which Ruiz handed to the previous presenter, Leonardo DiCaprio. Cullinan had the second copy, which he accidentally handed to Beatty and Dunaway.
A zoomed in photo showed Beatty holding the envelope for Best Actress.
Beatty told the AP on Tuesday that he wants the Academy to "publicly clarify what happened as soon as possible."
The Academy Awards apologized on Monday, with the following statement:
"We deeply regret the mistakes that were made during the presentation of the Best Picture category during last night’s Oscar ceremony. We apologize to the entire cast and crew of of 'La La Land' and 'Moonlight' whose experience was profoundly altered by this error. We salute the tremendous grace they displayed under the circumstances. To all involved -- including our presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, the filmmakers, and our fans watching worldwide -- we apologize.
"For the last 83 years, the Academy has entrusted PwC to handle the critical tabulation process, including the accurate delivery of results. PwC has taken full responsibility for the breaches of established protocols that took place during the ceremony. We have spent last night and today investigating the circumstances, and will determine what actions are appropriate going forward. We are unwaveringly committed to upholding the integrity of the Oscars and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences."
PricewaterhouseCoopers apologized early Monday morning and again on Monday night.
"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 company said in a statement. "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."
The second apology read as follows:
"PwC takes full responsibility for the series of mistakes and breaches of established protocols during last night's Oscars," the statement said. "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. We are deeply sorry for the disappointment suffered by the cast and crew of 'La La Land' and 'Moonlight.' We sincerely apologize to Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Jimmy Kimmel, ABC and the Academy, none of whom (were) at fault for (Sunday) night's errors.
"We wish to extend our deepest gratitude to each of them for the graciousness they displayed during such a difficult moment. For the past 83 years, the Academy has entrusted PwC with the integrity of the awards process during the ceremony, and last night we failed the Academy."
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