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Here's The Actual Reason Why The Wrong Movie Was Named Best Picture At The Oscars

Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers fessed up to the massive oops on Monday.

Posted on February 27, 2017, at 10:58 p.m. ET

By now you've undoubtedly seen the clusterfuck that was Sunday night's award ceremony for Best Picture at the Oscars.

Image Group La / Getty Images

Award presenter Warren Beatty looked confounded by the card naming the winner, then handed it to Faye Dunaway — who read out La La Land.

Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images

Of course, we now know the card they ~should~ have been holding actually announced the Best Picture winner to be Moonlight. So what happened?

Image Group La / Getty Images

Beatty explained he had been given the envelope naming Emma Stone as Best Actress — the category immediately before Best Picture. And Stone later said she had taken her winning card with her.

Emma Stone on the Best Picture confusion: "I was holding my best actress card the entire time." #Oscars

Here's how it went down: Winner envelopes are handled by PricewaterhouseCoopers, who like good accountants have one set of cards plus a backup set.

Christopher Polk / Getty Images

Moments before the mess, which has now gone down in Oscars history, PwC partner Brian Cullinan snapped this photo from backstage.

Cullinan, apparently distracted, mistakenly handed the backup card naming Stone and La La Land to Beatty and Dunaway — not the envelope that named Moonlight the Best Picture winner.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

"PwC takes full responsibility for the series of mistakes and breaches of established protocols during last night’s Oscars," PwC said in a statement Monday night.

"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."

As for the chaos onstage, PwC took responsibility for that too: "Once the error occurred, protocols for correcting it were not followed through quickly enough by Mr. Cullinan or his partner."

Video of the whole #BestPicture disaster, including Warren Beatty trying to tell people what happened.

"We are deeply sorry for the disappointment suffered by the cast and crew of 'La La Land' and 'Moonlight,'" the firm said. "We sincerely apologize to Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Jimmy Kimmel, ABC, and the Academy, none of whom was at fault for last 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."

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which presents the awards, also apologized and said it was still determining what action to take going forward.

Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images

The Academy said:

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 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.

So there you have it, and yes, we are also still speechless.

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