What were they (Brian & Martha) thinking?

  • Hard to read fonts on the envelopes
  • Not discarding / separating duplicate envelopes once the primary envelopes were used
  • Tweeting pictures in between handing out envelopes
  • Suspecting there was a mistake but not acting on it
  • Not automatically having the other person consult their envelope every time a winner was announced
  • Thinking that memorizing the winners was the only way to have a secure record to refer to
  • Not leading the way out to the stage with the correct envelope
  • Tweeting a red carpet selfie AFTER the mistake

This is a bigger scandal than Enron! Complacent, maybe buzzed Californian accountants!

Next year will be interesting! I recommend getting German accountants.

The experts from the accounting firm had everything covered--just look at the impressive checklist. Note in particular the mechanism to ensure the presenter is handed the right card.

They had even given some interviews beforehand explaining how nothing could go wrong go wrong go wrong go..............

The good news is if you need any help with your taxes there are two excellent CPAs now available that have openings on their calendars.

I don't know if I'd trust them over a good software based system.

I've corrected errors in every US tax return that an accountant, including the most highly qualified ones, have prepared for me. I've also spotted errors in tax returns I did myself.

The only good thing was that when it came to using HR Block, it means you get it done for free. So the first time I had a disastrous experience, I went back and checked for mistakes in the last few years returns and got them all refunded. A nice refund just like they promised, but not how they were thinking!

They did get their 15 minutes of fame or infamy. Why was Brian, a managing partner for the firm, there to begin with instead a less important employee with perhaps a more focused attitude? That phrase "Star Struck" might make sense after all.

Here is more current info on the snafu: Oscars accountants had to be ‘pushed’ onto stage to correct Best Picture flub – New York Daily News

I have some sympathy for the pair. It is true that a human mistake was made--the problem was that it was made when millions of people were watching.

The coverage is a bit unfair, there are others who are also responsible. Obviously, an executive had signed off of the protocol, which means this was simply a disaster waiting to happen. The presenters themselves did not react in the best way possible (even though that was not strictly their role), and several other things should not have happened either.

It is the same with the Amazon website problem this week, the Flash Crash several years ago, and the types of human error that have led to more serious outcomes where lives have been lost. A "scapegoat" is found in every case but the scapegoat could not cause such a mess if there were not problems with the system in the first place.

The best systems are the ones designed to anticipate the things that are likely to go wrong and put in place mechanisms to reduce the chances of bad things happening or at least ensuring the damage is acceptable. Since it is very costly to design and maintain such systems, compromises are made to keep costs down.

Faye Dunaway, with the benefit of hindsight, feels "very guilty" about the flub.

The actress broke her silence two-month silence on the matter in an interview with Lester Holt.

"to err is human"---I can discern a small silver lining in the dark cloud that PWC created around themselves at the Oscars. If I remember correctly, PWC has often been the butt of numerous jokes at the Oscars over the years, jokes usually delivered by the Oscar host referring to the staid and stagy appearance of the "accountants" standing in the wings while holding briefcases. So, what appears to be a huge blunder, may, in effect, create a more human persona for these robot-like accountants as well as good source of humor for many Oscars to come. Laughter is golden.