Accounting and consulting firm PwC has handled the balloting process at the Oscars for 82 years. But after the massive mix up with the best picture winner at the 89th Academy Awards, the relationship between PwC and the Oscars could be in jeopardy.
Brian Cullinan, one of the PwC partners who handled the balloting, acknowledged ahead of the awards show that the firm’s performance is a key component to its long-standing role at the Oscars.
“It doesn’t come up for tender,” he said of PwC’s relationship with the Oscars when asked about it days before the show. “As long as our relationship is good and strong and we do a good job, which we always do, the Academy has been pleased I think with how we’ve been involved.”
Cullinan added, “It’s such a long term relationship that we know intricately how everything works, the timing of it, the process that we use, and they have absolute trust in us and what we do. We’re involved in many things with the Academy - we assist in the election of their board of governors, we assist with the Student Academy Awards. It’s just been a good, long standing relationship. We hope we’re doing this 83 years from now as well.”
There’s a chance that won’t be the case though. The firm, formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, was skewered on social media following the Oscars telecast, flinging the accountants that usually fade into the background at the awards shows into the spotlight.
During the show, Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were given the wrong envelope by the PwC representatives and wrongly announced that best picture Oscar went to "La La Land," instead of "Moonlight."
According to the Wall Street Journal, Cullinan posted a photo on Twitter of himself and actress Emma Stone minutes before he mistakenly handed the wrong card to Warren Beatty.
PwC was quick to apologize to the movies involved, Beatty, Dunaway and viewers, but has yet to fully explain what happened.
"The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and, when discovered, was immediately corrected," it said in a statement. "We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred."
The PWC Team had one job to give the right envelopes 😂 Mess up happens. #OscarsSaga— Vineet Shah (@vineetshah15) February 27, 2017
#PWC should be fired— are you real human? (@airmailster) February 27, 2017
In fact, it took over two minutes on air, during which time the "La La Land" team gave three acceptance speeches, before PwC corrected the mistake on stage.
Both of PwC’s representatives at the show have a briefcase on either side of the auditorium to hand out the envelope for the category to be announced.
Fox News reached out to the Academy to ask about PwC’s future with the Oscars but we have yet to receive a reply. The Academy has not issued a statement of its own since the best picture blunder, but it did post PwC’s apology on Monday on its press site. The Academy’s Twitter account has been mum since the mix up.
If the Oscars do go with another firm for future balloting, they have several choices. Accounting firm EY, or Ernst & Young, currently handles the ballots for both the Emmys and the Golden Globes and Deloitte takes care of the Grammys.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.