Accountant Brian Cullinan was responsible for the most memorable moment in Oscar history when he handed Best Picture presenter Warren Beatty the wrong envelope on Sunday. That hand-off happened backstage off-camera. Only when Beatty’s co-presenter Faye Dunaway announced that “La La Land” had taken the top Oscar, rather than the real winner “Moonlight,” did Cullinan make his way onto the stage of the Dolby Theater.
He had been there before, back in 2015 when Neil Patrick Harris hosted the Oscars. In the culmination of a bit that had been strung out through the whole show, Harris brought Cullinan out from the wings to verify that a locked box was indeed secure.
Turns out Cullinan liked his time in the spotlight. It is being reported that he pitched Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd, the first-time producers of this year’s Oscars, with an idea to appear onstage again. Last year’s Oscar host, Chris Rock, had made merry with the image of accountants by introducing three Asian-American children as the PwC representatives. Many found this stereotype to be offensive and Cullinan had suggested that he and his associate Martha Ruiz be used in some fashion on this year’s show.
On Wednesday, academy president Cheryl Boone Issacs confirmed that the pair of bean counters won’t be back at the Dolby Theater next year and she revealed that the academy’s relationship with their firm is under review.