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Reprieve for Oscars accountants after best picture blunder

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said on Wednesday it had decided to retain the services of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

FILE: ‘La La Land’ producer Jordan Horowitz (L) holds up the winner card reading actual best picture winner ‘Moonlight’ with actor Warren Beatty onstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on 26 February 2017 in Hollywood, California. Picture: AFP.

LOS ANGELES - The accountancy firm behind the biggest blunder in Oscar history is staying in the picture.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said on Wednesday it has decided to retain the services of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) despite a backstage envelope mix-up that led to the wrong film being announced the winner of the best picture Oscar last month.

But a third accountant will be added to the PwC staff on the Oscars night and backstage tweeting, photos and posting to other social media will be banned.

"After a thorough review, including an extensive presentation of revised protocols and ambitious controls, the Board has decided to continue working with PwC," academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs wrote on Wednesday in a letter to academy members that was made available to the media.

Isaacs added that the academy had been "unsparing in our assessment that the mistake made by representatives of the firm was unacceptable."

WATCH: Moonlight or La La Land? Best picture mix-up at Oscars

The unprecedented mishap led to musical La La Land being declared the winner and its producers and cast celebrated and started acceptance speeches on the stage before Moonlight was named the real winner of the night's top prize.

Isaacs called it "the most extraordinary and memorable Oscars ceremony in decades."

PwC, which has overseen Oscar balloting for 83 years, took full responsibility for the gaffe, which stunned the A-list audience in Hollywood and millions watching on television.

PwC quickly removed the two accountants responsible from further involvement in the Academy Awards and carried out a review of its procedures.

Starting next year, Isaacs said PwC will place a third accountant in the Oscars show control room, who will be able immediately to notify the director should a mistake be made.

All accountants will have to hand over their phones and other electronic devices before going backstage, Isaacs said.

That decision followed news that one of the accountants involved in the 26 February blunder had been taking photos backstage with celebrities and posting them on Twitter during the ceremony.

Other new measures include closer checks of the winner envelopes on stage and rehearsals with the accountants ahead of the Oscar ceremony, Isaacs said.

PwC on Wednesday confirmed its services were being retained by the Academy but said nothing more.

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