Wrong movie announced for coveted Oscar award for Best Picture
Three of La La Land’s producers took to the microphone to accept the award before it was revealed the wrong movie had been announced.
There were at least two people standing side stage who knew immediately there had been a mistake: Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, both members of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the accounting firm responsible for preparing the envelopes and handing them to presenters.
But it took almost two minutes for Cullinan, Ruiz and another stage manager to appear onstage and notify the La La Land crew they weren’t the winners.
One would think that a show with almost 90 years of history would have little chance of a major blunder, but that is the nature of live events. Mistakes happen; but it’s how organisers respond to these mistakes that matters.
Here are five lessons to learn from their horror night.
1. Plan for the worst – they should have had a clear idea of what to do, not just bumble through it.
2. Have clear lines of communication – the two people who knew there had been a monumental stuff up (the PwC people) should have intervened straight away, not wait for their confused bosses to tell them what to do.
3. Never relax until the show is over – this was the last award of the night, that’s no reason to switch off.
4. Don’t do social media when you should be doing your job – Brian Cullinan was tweeting about Emma Stone seconds before handing the wrong envelope to Warren Beatty.
5. Apologise immediately – PwC issued an apology the next day. They should have taken the lead and apologised on the night and not let poor Beatty take the heat!
PricewaterhouseCoopers later issued a statement apologising for the error.
“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. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred,” the statement said.