Oscars debacle: Warren Beatty calls on academy president to 'publicly clarify' what happened

La La Land was mistakenly named Best Picture by presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty during the 89th annual Academy Awards ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, USA, on Feb 26, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

LOS ANGELES (NYTimes) - Warren Beatty on Tuesday (Feb 28) called on the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to "publicly clarify" what went wrong at the Oscars over the weekend, when La La Land was mistakenly named Best Picture.

At the same time, word emerged that Brian Cullinan, a partner at the accounting firm PwC who handed Beatty the incorrect envelope at the Oscar ceremony's climax, had been told beforehand not to use Twitter during the event.

Cullinan, from his position in the Dolby Theater wings, posted a photo of Emma Stone on Twitter moments before the envelope mix-up, suggesting that his mind was not on his primary job.

Together, the developments indicated that the fallout from the flub in the movie capital is far from over.

Academy officials, including Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the organisation's elected president, have deflected questions about the mishap, which robbed the actual Best Picture winner, Moonlight, an all-black, gay-themed film, of its proper moment of celebration.

After referring questions to PwC on Monday, the academy ultimately put out a statement in the evening saying that it had "deep regret" for the mistakes. The unsigned statement added that the organisation was "investigating the circumstances".

But Beatty, who along with Faye Dunaway presented the award, turned up the heat on Boone Isaacs on Tuesday.

In an e-mail distributed by his office to media organisations that had called on Monday, asking for comment, Beatty said: "Rather than for me to respond to questions from the press about the academy ceremony, I feel it would be more appropriate for the president of the academy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, to publicly clarify what happened as soon as possible."

The academy had no immediate comment. Beatty is married to Annette Bening, who is a member of the academy's board of governors.

PwC has apologised repeatedly for Cullinan's mistake, but the accounting firm did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday about whether he had been warned in advance not to use Twitter during the ceremony.

Two people who worked on the telecast and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly, said he had, confirming a report in People magazine.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.