And the Oscar Goes to La-La Land…No Wait, Moonlight!

Sundays just haven’t been the same without football season (that’s because the Patriots have been too busy celebrating their 5th world champion victory baby!).  Even still, there are definitely some noteworthy TV specials to catch every once in a while.  One of those TV specials that aired last week was the Oscars.

The Oscars are just one of the award shows presenting awards in film for movies released in 2016.  All the hottest celebrities gathered on the red carpet of Hollywood in hopes of winning an Oscar for their work in the film.  After a full hour of showing off their glamorous outfits, they strutted into the Dolby Theatre to start the show.

Jimmy Kimmel was this year’s host, cracking jokes on the films and the political controversy that’s been happening lately.  No celebrity was safe from the roasting of the host (that also included Matt Damon as well!).  Kimmel’s fake feud with Matt Damon was one of the most entertaining running gags of the show.  From teasing him about his film The Great Wall to playing him off the stage, Kimmel’s pranks against Damon made for great entertainment.

This year’s Oscars made me laugh, cry, and even cringe.  Most of all, The Oscars shocked everyone with the ending results from the nominations.  But it was the last nomination results that became one of the most shocking incidents of all time.

So here’s what happened: Warren Beatty and Faye Dunway, who were reuniting for the 50th anniversary of Bonnie and Clyde, were presenting the final award for Best Picture.  The duo were playing around over who would present the award.  Warren Beatty handed Faye the envelope for her to make the announcement.  Faye opened the envelope and announced that La La Land was the winner!  At first, the crowd erupted in applause as the team rushed into the stage to accept their prize.

A few moments later, two partners of PricewaterhouseCoopers came up onstage to talk with the producers.  It was then that the producers announced that Moonlight was the real winner.  In a shocking turn of events, the cast of Moonlight went up to accept their award instead.  It would become a PR nightmare for PwC after going into crisis-management mode for their mistake.

What caused this shocking incident to occur on the Oscars?  Brian Cullinan, a partner at the accounting firm of PwC, and his colleague were tasked with handing the right envelopes to the presenters.  Cullinan seemed at ease with his job, even finding the time to tweet about Emma Stone before the show ended (bad idea here!).  He caused the show-business musical La La Land to be mistakenly named by handing out the wrong envelope to Warren and Faye.  This sparked a major PR nightmare for PwC, hurting the brand’s reputation after the blunder.

PwC acted quickly after the incident by reaching out to the academy with a sincere apology.  United States chairman of PwC Tim Ryan remarked that he shared apologies from the firm and himself, further mentioning how he will talk with the employees about how to make things right in the end.  In the PR sense, Ryan had to utilize corporate social responsibility in order to salvage his company’s reputation after the incident.  Still, that didn’t stop the social media world from spreading the news all around.

Millions of users took to Twitter on Monday to discuss the mistake during the Oscars.  Hashtags like #envelopegate and #Oscarfail trended on the Twitter feed, sending a public outcry over the wrong envelope.  They say that there is no such thing as bad publicity and this certainly held true for PwC’s PR nightmare they are facing.  PwC’s reputation has been severely damaged right now and they need to work quickly before things go even more awry.

This was the craziest event that happened at the Oscars on Sunday night!  I was SO confused when I saw this happening and I thought this was part of the performance.  When I saw that even Jimmy Kimmel was shocked himself, that’s when I knew that something went horribly wrong.  Mistakes like this one can be costly for a company like PwC if they don’t act quickly.  As a PR practitioner, this was one PR nightmare I enjoyed reading about after the Oscars was over.

In the end, blunders like this can cost you majorly.  A small mistake like handing the wrong envelope can cause drastic effects for you and your company.  With everyone living in the social media universe, that small mistake will be remembered for weeks at a time.  There will definitely be something more interesting people will be discussing about, but PwC still needs to recover from their PR nightmare.

Congratulations to Moonlight for winning Best Picture!  It was a strange blunder, but they still deserved it after all of that.



2 thoughts on “And the Oscar Goes to La-La Land…No Wait, Moonlight!

  1. wyattandwaltsawday

    Agree with you there on the lack of football on Sundays, ha! Didn’t catch the Oscars but obviously the mistake has been in the news a lot. This was a great recap, and good point on how these mistakes can really snowball and drastically hurt a person or their company. Thanks for the read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jon Post author

      Yeah Sundays haven’t been the same. Thanks for reading! It’s definitely a PR nightmare that won’t be going away anytime soon!



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