Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan – PriceWaterhouseCoopers Partners

Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan

Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan are Tax partners at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) –the firm in charge of counting the Academy Award votes.

For decades, PwC has lead the Oscars balloting process on behalf of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Both Ruiz and Cullinan are in charge of overseeing the Oscars balloting process. Meaning, Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan are the only two people who know the results ahead of the big reveal.

Each year, more than 6,000 members cast their votes in 24 categories. Over the years, it is estimated that PwC has counted more than 450,000 ballots.

Ruiz and Cullinan lead the count and the recount. On the day of the show Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan deliver the envelopes to the presenters in real time and then listen to make sure the announcements are accurate. So if there’s a mistake (no pun intended) it’s up to Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan to notify the stage managers and the producers.

By now, you’ve probably heard about the Best Picture mix-up, in which La La Land was wrongly announced as the winner, rather than the triumphant Moonlight.

According to Forbes, Ruiz happens to be the first Latina and only the second woman to serve in this role. Want to know more about these two interesting human beings?


Martha Ruiz graduated from California State University – Los Angeles with a B.S. in Business and an emphasis in Accounting. She later headed to Golden Gate University to pursue her Masters in Taxation.

In 2015, PwC announced Martha would replace longtime balloting co-leader Rick Rosas. She first arrived at the company 20-years ago.

Ruiz specializes in providing tax compliance and advisory services to a variety of entertainment clients throughout Southern California. She has also spent over over a decade working behind the scenes as part of the Oscars balloting team. Her focus has been in the entertainment and media space ever since she started at PwC.

Eventually, Ruiz was promoted to manager and then partner. It was, she says, an honor to be asked.

Active on social media, the lovely brunette reveals on Twitter, she is a working mom, a tax partner and a Dodgers fan.


Brian Cullinan is the chairman of PwC’s US board. He is in his fourth year in the role.

According to his LinkedIn, he is the Managing Partner for PwC’s practice throughout Southern California, Arizona and Nevada.

Brian served as PwC’s West Region Assurance Leader and prior to that as the firm’s US leader for the Entertainment, Media & Communications assurance practice.

For over three decades, Brian has provided accounting, auditing and business advisory services to some of PwC’s largest and most complex multinational clients.

The managing partner is a Cornell graduated who enjoys skiing and riding motorcycles. He also holds a Master of science, Financial Accounting from Northeastern University.

Cullinan also a Patriots fan, currently resides in Malibu, California.

You can follow Brian Cullinan on Twitter here.

Should any of them be fired for handing out the wrong envelope? Comment below!