A week ago, we had no idea what was before us in the upcoming ultimate moment of the Oscars. Details have emerged daily as to what led to such a grandiose faux pas. The latest: stage Manager Gary Natoli tells The Wrap that the two accountants handling the ballots and the envelopes ‘just froze’ when hearing those three words: ‘La La Land.’
The veteran stage manager adds that they didn’t react fast enough.
“I’m sure they’re very lovely people, but they just didn’t have the disposition for this,” Natoli said. “You need somebody who’s going to be confident and unafraid.”
“I was in the wings stage left with Jimmy [Kimmel] when they announced La La Land,” Natoli explained. “We watched for about 10 more seconds, and during that entire time, Martha was no more than five feet away from us. When La La Land was announced, she did not try to get my attention, she did not say anything. And she’s supposed to have memorized the winners.”
Natoli said he immediately instructed other stage managers to get accountants Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz onstage to correct the announcement but that they both hesitated.
“John was trying to get Brian to go on stage, and he wouldn’t go. And Martha wouldn’t go. We had to push them on stage, which was just shocking to me.”
“I still do not understand the delay,” Natoli said. “Brian should have run out there on his own. Martha should have run out the
The correction that Moonlight was indeed won Best Picture took two minutes, after several La La Land acceptance speeches.
Both accountants are still with Price Waterhouse Coopers, but won’t be in charge of the envelopes anymore.