The Oscars Have a New Six-Step Process to Prevent Another Epic Mix-up

The end of #EnvelopeGate. One year after Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway falsely announced La La Land as the best picture Oscar winner instead of Moonlight, the accounting firm responsible for the snafu, PricewaterhouseCoopers, has new regulations in place for this year’s Sunday, March 4, ceremony.

The infamous cringeworthy moment occurred after Beatty and Dunaway were handed a duplicate envelope for best actress – which Emma Stone had won previously in the night for La La Land – rather than best picture. In an interview with the Associated Press, Tim Ryan, PwC’s U.S. chairman and senior partner explained that Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, the two PwC partners responsible for mishandling the envelope and failing to correct the error quickly, have not been invited back to the prestigious ceremony.

Now, the firm is cracking down to ensure an error-free night in terms of handing out the statues, starting with Ryan’s personal involvement in operations this year.

Jordan Horowitz, Warren Beatty and Jimmy Kimmel on stage.
Jordan Horowitz, Warren Beatty and Jimmy Kimmel on stage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards in 2017. Eddy Chen/ABC via Getty Images

In order to ensure no distractions, PwC has banned the use of social media or phones backstage during the show. According to Vanity Fair, Cullinan posted a backstage photo of Stone to social media moments before he handed off the wrong envelope.

A new procedure will be in place in which the celebrity presenting the category and a stage manager will confirm that they have received the right envelope in order to avoid any onstage surprises.

Additionally, a third ballot partner will have a complete set of winners’ envelopes and will also have the winners’ list committed to memory. This person will be seated with the Oscar producers in the show’s control room.

oscars best picture flub 2017
Kevin Winter/Getty Images (2)

In an unlikely event of another mix-up, everyone will be prepared to act fast. All three balloting partners will attend show rehearsals in order to practice what to do in case of a major error.   

Ryan explained the new regulations to the AP. “My nature, just as a person, is healthy paranoia,” he said. “But I also know in my head that we haven’t left any step undone. We owe that to the Academy. While I feel very, very good about all the work that’s been done and the attention to detail that’s in place, our job doesn’t end until that curtain closes.”

The 90th annual Academy Awards will air on ABC on Sunday, March 4.

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