The two accountants responsible for the embarrassing Best Picture fiasco at Sunday's Oscars ceremony have been banned from the ceremony for life, it has been confirmed.
Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan handed out the wrong envelope to presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, resulting in the gaffe which led to the wrong film being announced.
It later transpired that Cullinan 57, who has worked for PwC for 32 years, had mistakenly handed the back-up envelope for best actress in a leading role to the presenters.
They realised their mistake only after La La Land was announced as the winner of the best picture award and the film's cast and crew had taken to the stage to accept the award. The team were in the middle of their acceptance speeches when it was revealed that the top prize should have gone to Moonlight.
The president of the film academy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs confirmed on Wednesday (1 March) that the accountants will not be employed to carry out the role again, adding that accountancy firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) long-running association with the Oscars is also under review in the aftermath of the incident.
Boone Isaacs blamed "distraction" for the error after it emerged that Cullinan had tweeted a photo of Emma Stone backstage, moments earlier, breaking the Academy rules. He later deleted the tweet.
She praised the unwitting presenters Dunaway and Beatty, and commended La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz for his gracious response to the mishap, who she said "went from a nominee to a winner to a presenter in a matter of minutes" The Guardian reports.
Boone Isaacs lamented that "the last 90 seconds" of the telecast have overshadowed what she described as "the most brilliant and wonderful show".
Just hours earlier, Cullinan and Ruiz had been seen walking the red carpet and rubbing shoulders with the A list stars as they carried the black cases that contained the envelopes bearing the names of the all-important winners on the night.
Speaking to ITV News prior to the event, Cullinan had spoken of his excitement at attending the prestigious awards ceremony. "Most of the year we are normal accountants but for this we get to walk the red carpet and do interviews," he said.
"It's a big responsibility but is a lot of fun," added Ruiz.
Broadcast to a live global audience of millions, "envelopegate" has been described as the biggest blunder in 89 years of Academy Awards history.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which has been responsible for counting the votes and revealing Oscar winners for 83 years apologised for the mix-up, taking "full responsibility for the series of mistakes and breaches of established protocols" during the ceremony.