The accountancy firm in charge of the Oscars results has apologized after Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were handed the wrong results card when announcing the Best Picture award and incorrectly announced La La Land as the winner rather than Moonlight.
The statement said: "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."
It all started when Beatty opened the envelope to read the winner for best picture. He looked confused, took a long pause and then glanced at Dunaway. "Come on!" Beatty handed the envelope to Dunaway, who announced: "La La Land!"
As the cameras cut away to the cast and crew of "La La Land" hugging, Beatty could be heard saying something such as, "It says Emma Stone," with Dunaway replying, "What?" As the La La Land cast were walking on stage to accept the accolade, a stagehand standing in the wings could be heard saying "Oh ... Oh my god, he got the wrong envelope".
While still on stage, Beatty blamed the epic mishap on being given the wrong envelope, saying he had seen the name Emma Stone from 'La La Land' when he opened his envelope.
"I want to tell you what happenedI opened the envelope and it said Emma Stone, La La Land and that is why I took such a long look at Faye and at you. I wasn't trying to be funny. This is Moonlight for best picture," Beatty told the shocked crowd as he explained the blunder.
An investigation is continuing into how La La Land was wrongly named Best Picture rather than the triumphant Moonlight.
Only two people know the Oscars winners list and supervise the counting procedures - PwC tax adviser Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan an accountant.
Cullinan and Ruiz each carry a suitcase containing a copy of the winning envelope for all the categories - meaning there are two envelopes for each award.
The pair stand on opposite sides backstage and memorize the winners to avoid having to write them down and have revealed in the past how they carry out rigorous checks to ensure they have stuffed the envelopes correctly. It is believed Ruiz and Cullinan are ordered to destroy the duplicate cards as the presentation goes on, so by the time Best Picture is awarded, the only envelopes left are the two for Best Picture.
When Beatty and Dunaway took the stage to announce the Best Picture award, Cullinan and Ruiz realized that they still had two best picture envelopes, meaning that the envelope taken on stage was a duplicate for an award that had already been announced.
It is unknown why there was still a Best Actress duplicate available when Beatty walked on stage.
Executives from PwC immediately realized there was a problem, but they were too late to rectify the mistake as Dunaway read out the name La La Land from a card that was meant to be for the Best Actress award, which Emma Stone won for her role in the film earlier in the night.
After the officials realized what had happened, they tried to get on stage immediately. But the news was broken to the La La Land cast and crew after they had started their acceptance speeches.
La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz returned to the microphone after being told about the mix up and said 'Moonlight won Best Picture' and insisting that 'this is not a joke'.
"It's one of the strangest things that's ever happened to me," Beatty said backstage. "Thank God there were two of us up there," Dunaway responded.
PwC has counted votes and provides winner envelopes for the Oscars and has done so for more than 80 years. This is the first time in Oscar history that the wrong envelope had been opened while an award was being announced.