It took academy president Cheryl Boone Issacs four days to address the issue of the Best Picture mix-up at the Oscars on Feb 26 when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope by PwC partner Brian Cullinan. They announced that “La La Land” had won and it took almost three minutes before that mistake was corrected and “Moonlight” was revealed as the real winner.
On March 1, Issacs confirmed that Cullinan and his associate Martha Ruiz won’t be back at the Dolby Theater next year and she revealed that the academy’s relationship with their firm was under review. The next day, she emailed the nearly 7,000 members of the academy to acknowledge the mistake and say, “rest assured changes will be implemented to ensure this never happens again.” However, it won’t be Isaacs that oversees these as she has served the maximum four one-year terms as academy president and will be replaced this summer.
On Monday (March 13), Isaacs made her first public appearance since the Oscars, appearing at the SXSW Festival for a conversation with “Hidden Figures” screenwriter Alison Schroeder. Speaking about the moment that will rank as the most memorable in the 89-year history of the Academy Awards she said, “It was really a wonderful night and yes, there was a little excitement at the end.”
While Isaacs acknowledged it was a “shock,” she then opined, “what I thought was so important was how, in a matter of minutes, you saw a humanity and a respect and a graciousness from the ‘La La Land’ filmmakers and the ‘Moonlight’ filmmakers in way that I thought was very special.” Indeed, she characterized it as “a beautiful ending.”