PwC Accountant Brian Cullinan Seen Holding Two Envelopes and on His Phone Moments Before Oscar Blunder
Brian Cullinan is seen chatting with Alicia Vikander backstage as he grasped the envelopes in his hands
Additional photos have also surfaced that show the PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant holding two envelopes right before Beatty, who can be seen hugging Best Actor winner Casey Affleck, walks onstage. (The images were first published by Variety.)
Cullinan is one of two accountants from the firm who handled the Oscars balloting. The other accountant, Martha Ruiz, was also backstage during the show, at the opposite wing, and both had posed on the red carpet with the briefcases carrying the ballots.
In other photos from backstage, taken by PEOPLE, Cullinan can be seen chatting with Alicia Vikander as he grasped envelopes in his hands right before Vikander presented the Best Supporting Actor award at the top of the show.
Another shot also shows Cullinan watching the monitors backstage with Vince Vaughn.
Cullinan had been instructed not to use social media during the Oscars, a source confirmed to PEOPLE.
“Brian was asked not to tweet or use social media during the show,” the source said. “He was fine to tweet before he arrived at the red carpet but once he was under the auspices of the Oscar night job, that was to be his only focus.”
In a now-deleted tweet, Cullinan shared a photo of Emma Stone smiling while holding her Best Actress award backstage. The time stamp shows it was posted at 9:05 p.m., only minutes before the Best Picture blunder occurred.
“Tweeting right before the Best Picture category was announced was not something that should have happened,” the source continued.
PwC, the accounting firm that counts and delivers the winning Oscars envelopes, has publicly taken the blame for the incident in which La La Land was called as the Best Picture winner over the actual honoree, Moonlight. It confirmed that Cullinan mistakenly handed the presenters the duplicate Best Actress envelope instead of the Best Picture.
At this time, it’s unclear whether the Academy will end its 83-year relationship with the accounting firm after the mix-up.
“The Academy has launched a full-scale review of its relationship with PwC but it is very complicated,” the source said. “Vote-tallying and the Oscar night job is just one part of what PwC does with the Academy. It is too early to say how this will play out but everyone is of course taking it very very seriously.”