And the Oscars culprit is... a tweeting accountant from PwC

An accountant for the Academy Awards botched the procedure for announcing the Oscar for best picture, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said on Monday.

Mr Brian Cullinan, who media reports said had been tweeting backstage shortly before, gave presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope for the movie industry's top award on Sunday, the accounting firm said in a statement.

"Mr Cullinan mistakenly handed the back-up envelope for Best Actress in a Leading Role instead of the envelope for Best Picture" to Beatty and Dunaway, PwC said.

"Once the error occurred, protocols for correcting it were not followed through quickly enough by Mr Cullinan or his partner."

It was reported that Mr Cullinan had posted a photo of La La Land actress Emma Stone on Twitter just minutes before the mix-up. The photo has since been deleted.

He could not be reached for comment.

It took three hours for PwC, which has been overseeing Academy Awards balloting for 83 years, to confirm that the presenters received the wrong envelope. PwC said it took full responsibility and apologised to the cast and crews of La La Land and Moonlight.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organises the Oscars, also apologised for the mishap.

Last week, Mr Cullinan told the Huffington Post that the procedure for dealing with the hand-off of an incorrect envelope, other than signalling to a stage manager, was unclear.

"It's so unlikely," he had added. - REUTERS