There’s still so much tea being spilled about the Oscars Best Picture mix up!
As you surely know by now, on Sunday, there was a MAJOR onstage blunder when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly called out La La Land as the Best Picture winner ├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ when in reality the film Moonlight was the victor. Since then, Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, the PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants who were responsible for the snafu have been disciplined.
But don’t feel too badly for the accountants, as the Oscars’ longtime stage manager, named Gary Natoli, has since come forward and dished about how incompetent these two actually were. Oooh, go on!
In a candid interview, Natoli told The Wrap:
“I’m sure they’re very lovely people, but they just didn’t have the disposition for this. You need somebody who’s going to be confident and unafraid.”
Fair point. To make matters worse, Gary and his fellow SM John Esposito had an entire conversation with Cullinan the day before this whole thing went down. He continued:
“We don’t usually talk about that. But I guess Brian had done an interview where he was asked about it, so he came up to John and me and told us that in the interview, he said, ├óΓé¼╦£Well, we would tell the stage managers and check with each other and react.’ And then he said to us, ├óΓé¼╦£Is that what we do?’
I said, ├óΓé¼╦£If you know who the winner is, you don’t need to check with each other. You need to immediately go out and rectify the situation, ideally before the wrong winners get to the mic.’ And he said, ├óΓé¼╦£OK, good, that’s what we thought.'”
Whoa. Unfortunately, Brian and Martha didn’t follow the discussed protocol as Natoli revealed:
“I was in the wings stage left with Jimmy [Kimmel] when they announced La La Land. We watched for about 10 more seconds, and during that entire time Martha was no more than five feet away from us. When La La Land was announced, she did not try to get my attention, she did not say anything. And she’s supposed to have memorized the winners.”
Yikes! Because the two accountants didn’t take immediate action, many of the stage hands began prepping for Jimmy Kimmel‘s final bit. The industry vet relayed:
“As I was taking Matt Damon‘s wife to the side of the house, I heard John Esposito on my headset say, ├óΓé¼╦£Brian says he didn’t think they said the right winner. Can you have Martha check her envelope?’ That was the first time I heard anything about it, and it was probably a minute, or a minute and 15 seconds, from the time Faye announced the wrong winner.”
Oh nooooooo. Apparently, both Cullinan and Ruiz were very low key about the drama and showed “no urgency” when it came to remedying the situation. In fact, both professionals hesitated quite a bit before hitting the main stage. The stage manager commented:
“John was trying to get Brian to go on stage, and he wouldn’t go. And Martha wouldn’t go. We had to push them on stage, which was just shocking to me.”
Good lord. And the craziness didn’t stop there as at one point Brian tried to convince the stage managers that it was Miz Dunaway who messed up — where in reality, he handed the two A-listers the wrong envelope. Ugh.
So, clearly, Natoli and Esposito were the true MVPs of the night. Stage managers to the rescue!