Oscars keeping accounting firm despite unfortunate ‘best picture’ mistake

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Actress Faye Dunaway and actor Warren Beatty arrive on stage to announce the winner of the Best Movie category at the 89th Oscars on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. / AFP / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

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HOLLYWOOD — The board of governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has voted to retain the services of accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, despite the best picture mix up at the Oscars in February.

The 54-person board voted Tuesday to keep PwC, which has handled the ballots for the Academy Awards for 83 years.

The firm took “full responsibility” for handing presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope, which led to the wrong winner being announced.

Calling the error “unacceptable,” the Academy shared in a letter to its members that it has conducted a thorough inquiry into what went wrong.

“After a thorough review, including an extensive presentation of revised protocols and ambitious controls, the Board has decided to continue working with PwC,” the letter read.

“Moonlight” won the Oscar for best picture, but the film “La La Land” was mistakenly announced after PwC managing partner Brian Cullinan handed off an envelope containing the best actress winner instead of best picture.

PwC issued a statement the next day and acknowledged Cullinan and PwC partner Martha Ruiz did not follow protocols for correcting the error quickly.

The Academy now says new protocols have been established, including greater oversight from PwC’s U.S. chairman Tim Ryan and the return of PwC partner Rick Rosas as co-balloting leader — a role he previously held for more than 12 years. Additionally, a third balloting leader with knowledge of the award winners, who will sit in the control room with the show’s director throughout the ceremony, will join the team.

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