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Did tweeting really cause that Best Picture gaffe?

PricewaterhouseCoopers says one of its execs handed Warren Beatty the wrong envelope. The question remains: Was it because the exec was too busy tweeting?

"La La Land" producer Jordan Horowitz, left, holds up the card announcing "Moonlight" as the Oscar winner for Best Picture. Warren Beatty, right, had been given the wrong card.

"La La Land" producer Jordan Horowitz, left, holds up the card announcing "Moonlight" as the Oscar winner for Best Picture. Warren Beatty, right, had been given the wrong card.

Getty Images

The backstage screwup at the Oscars keeps getting more interesting.

With the world still buzzing about what could have triggered the biggest flub in the Academy Awards' history, a few more behind-the-scenes details from Sunday's ceremony are emerging. Questions remain about whether a tweet may have caused the mix-up. And now there are pictures of Brian Cullinan -- the PricewaterhouseCoopers account executive in charge of handling envelopes containing the names of Oscar winners -- backstage on his phone, Variety reported Wednesday.

PricewaterhouseCoopers account executive Brian Cullinan in Oscars attire, with bowtie and briefcase.

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

Cullinan gave Warren Beatty the wrong envelope for Best Picture before reportedly tweeting a backstage image of Emma Stone moments after she won for Best Actress. That's led to speculation about whether Cullinan's tweet, which has since been deleted, distracted him.

His tweet came just minutes before presenters Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced that "La La Land" won the Best Picture category.

Minutes after that, Cullinan and a colleague told the Oscars production team about the mistake, and the team raced onstage and told "La La Land" producer Jordan Horowitz during the middle of an acceptance speech what had happened. Horowitz eventually announced that "Moonlight" was the winner.

Soon, the hashtag "#whatishappening?" began trending on Twitter.

The photographs in Variety appear to show Cullinan using his phone prior to the Best Picture snafu. He's also shown holding two red envelopes backstage alongside Beatty and Best Actor winner Casey Affleck, who'd just left the stage.

PwC didn't return a request for comment Wednesday.


Maybe we won't ever find out what really happened. As for Cullinan...

"He feels very, very terrible and horrible. He is very upset about this mistake," Tim Ryan, PwC's US chairman, said Monday. "And, it is also my mistake, our mistake, and we all feel very bad."

Meanwhile, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the film academy, said Wednesday that Cullinan and his colleague, Martha Ruiz, have been permanently removed from all film academy-related dealings.

First published March 1, 5:14 p.m. PT.
Update, March 2 at 8:17 a.m.: Adds comments from the film academy that Cullinan has been removed from any future dealings.

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