Communication Failures at the Oscars

Moonlightmistake_08The RIGHT envelope, please! The Academy Awards suffered embarrassment at this year's event when the wrong winner was announced as Best Picture. Several communication failures caused the problem:

    • The first and most critical error was PwC's responsibility: the wrong envelope was given to announcers Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.
    • Beatty opened the card and saw "Emma Stone, La La Land." He hesitated and passed the card to Dunaway.
    • Dunaway confidently announced the winner: "La La Land!" She didn't question it either.
    • The La La Land folks came on stage and gave three acceptance speeches. They were stopped, but it took too long and could have saved further embarrassment.
    • La La Land Producer Marc Platt said, "This is not a joke. They read the wrong thing." But this puts the blame entirely on the announcers, when the original error is the wrong envelope. Of course, Platt didn't know what happened, and he was trying to be gracious about the fiasco.
    • PwC wrote a short statement, promising an "investigation," which is probably overstated: "We sincerely apologize to 'Moonlight,' 'La La Land,' Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for Best Picture. The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected," the company said. "We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred."


  • What could have been done differently during each step of this mistake?
  • Should PwC say something different? The company has had the Oscars account for 83 years. Should the organization fire them? Why or why not?