What It Was Like Onstage During the Oscars 2017 Best Picture Mistake

“He” was Warren Beatty, who, along with Faye Dunaway, presented the final award of the night. Mr. Beatty opened the envelope and, after some hesitation, handed it to Ms. Dunaway. She said that “La La Land,” about young California dreamers, was the winner. The crowd erupted in applause, and the “La La Land” team rushed the stage.

Why did it take minutes to fix the error? “PwC sounded the alarm, but not right away,” Gary Natoli, the telecast’s stage manager, said in a text message. “It wasn’t until just before I jumped onstage that it was confirmed by both Brian and Martha as the winner being incorrect.” Martha L. Ruiz, a PwC colleague of Mr. Cullinan’s who stood on the opposite side of the stage, and Mr. Cullinan apparently needed to find each other backstage to confer before speaking up.

It was one of the most…

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