PricewaterhouseCoopers issued an apology early Monday morning in the wake of a historic flub at Sunday night’s Academy Awards telecast when actors Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty presented the Best Picture award to the wrong movie.

Beatty was apparently given the envelope for the Best Actress winner, Emma Stone, who had just received her award a few minutes earlier for the movie “La La Land.” After opening the envelope, he looked at it in confusion for a few moments and turned to his “Bonnie and Clyde” co-star, Dunaway, who chided him, “You’re impossible. Come on.” She then looked at the card and announced that “La La Land” had won the Best Picture nod. The producers of “La La Land” rose to accept the award and began giving their speeches as a PwC accountant, Martha Ruiz, rushed onstage to inform the stagehands that “Moonlight” had actually won the award, according to the Washington Post. “He took the wrong envelope,” she reportedly said, according to USA Today.


One of the producers of “La La Land,” Fred Berger, acknowledged midway through his speech that they had lost, as another producer, Jordan Horowitz, stepped forward to confirm that his movie had lost, holding up the correct card that named “Moonlight” as the winner.

“Guys, guys, I’m sorry, no, there was a mistake,” he said. “Moonlight, you guys won Best Picture. This is not a joke.”

Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel joked, “I think you guys should keep it anyway. Guys, this is very unfortunate what happened. Personally, I blame Steve Harvey for this,” referring to the host who mistakenly crowned the wrong Miss Universe in 2015.

“Warren, what did you do?” Kimmel said to Beatty, as he stepped forward to the microphone.

“I want to tell you what happened,” said Beatty. “I opened the envelope and it said, ‘Emma Stone, La La Land.’ That’s why I took such a long look at Faye, and at you. I wasn’t trying to be funny.”

Around three hours later, PwC sent out a tweet acknowledging 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. 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.”

PwC chairman Tim Ryan told USA Today on Monday that one of PwC's partners, Brian Cullinan, who worked with Ruiz, handed the wrong envelope to Beatty. "At the end of the day we made a human error," said Ryan. "We made a mistake. What happened was, our partner on the left side of the stage, Brian Cullinan, he handed the wrong envelope to Warren Beatty. And then the second we realized that we notified the appropriate parties and corrected the mistake."

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.