Cameras are everywhere at the Academy Awards - and previously unseen backstage pictures from Monday's ceremony show the lead-up to the biggest bungle in Oscars history.

The candid photos show PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant Brian Cullinan in the minutes before La La Land was wrongly announced as the 2017 Best Picture Oscar winner.

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Entrusted with handing each of the presenters their winners' envelope through the night, it was Cullinan who mistakenly handed presenter Warren Beatty the one spare 'best actress' envelope when time came to present best picture.


Cullinan, who tweeted a picture of Emma Stone from backstage in the minutes before the gaffe, can be seen staring intently into his phone in one photo:

Cullinan is also shown checking a run sheet, apparently crossing off awards as they've happened:

In another photo mere moments before Hollywood's biggest night went pear-shaped, Cullinan stands alongside Beatty, who looks out to the stage as he awaits his cue:

In another photo obtained by Warren can be seen in the foreground, hugging best actor winner Casey Affleck. He's holding a white notecard with his best picture introduction written on it, and in the background, Cullinan - clutching in one hand two envelopes and his phone.

The president of the film academy says that Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, the other accountant backstage during the ceremony, will never return to the Oscars.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs has told The Associated Press that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' relationship with PwC, the accounting firm responsible for the integrity of the awards, remains under review.

Boone Isaacs said Cullinan's distraction caused the error, which was also confirmed by PwC themselves in a statement.

"At the end of the day, we made a human error," PricewaterhouseCoopers' US Chairman told USA Today this week.

"We made a mistake. What happened was, our partner on the left side of the stage, Brian Cullinan, he handed the wrong envelope to Warren Beatty. And then the second we realised that, we notified the appropriate parties and corrected the mistake."