Should have used lawyers: Are PwC accountants to blame for ‘La La Land’ Oscars blunder?

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By Thomas Connelly on

Big Four firm responsible for counting the ballots and collating the winners

Two top PwC accountants have found themselves caught up in a star-studded cock-up after La La Land was wrongly named ‘Best Picture’ at the 2017 Oscars.

In cringe-inducing scenes (video below), ‘La La Land’ — a romantic musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone — was incorrectly announced as the winner of the coveted award at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, yesterday evening.

The actual winner — much to embarrassment of Oscars staff — was ‘Moonlight’. Creating mass confusion both in the audience and for viewers at home, stars were left milling around the stage as producers desperately tried to correct the error.

It has now been suggested that Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan, two of PwC’s finest accountancy minds, may have been involved in the mix-up. According to the Mail Online, the duo — who are both partners at the firm — were responsible “collating the winners” and “transporting them to the awards ceremony to hand out to presenters ahead of each prize-giving.”

In a move that will leave lawyers feeling rather smug, a spokesperson for PwC — which has counted votes and provided the winners envelopes for over 80 years — said that the presenters “had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope”. The spokesperson added that when this was discovered, it “was immediately corrected”.

Hopefully PwC will draft in some of their top accountancy legal minds for next year’s awards.

Having obtained their Alternative Business Structure (ABS) in 2014, the outfit — under the name PwC Legal — launched its first ever training contract offering shortly after. Now dishing out around 25 training positions annually, the starting salary in London is £39,000 a year.

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