Associated Press Has Figured A Way To Avoid Envelope Gaffes At The Oscars
February 26, 2017, was a mixed night for the Academy Awards. What started out as a grand affair turned out to be a nightmare. Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway who co-starred in Bonnie and Clyde stepped on stage to present the award for Best Picture.
But Beatty looked confused on opening the envelope. It read "Emma Stone, La La Land". And his co-presenter, none the wiser, thought to sort out the confusion and announced La La Land as the winner.
The production team took to the stage and had already started giving their acceptance speeches when producer Jordan Horowitz, announced that there had been a mix-up. Moonlight was actually the winner.
What went wrong?
Well, Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz were the accountants for PricewaterhouseCoopers. Their job that night was to hand out the envelopes with the winners to the presenters before they climb the stage. And Cullinan had handed the wrong envelope over to Beatty.
Following the fiasco, US chairman of the firm, Tim Ryan, apologized for the mix-up, explaining that "a human error" on the part of Cullinan was the cause of the mistake. It turns out Cullinan was tweeting backstage during the awards. He was clearly distracted, hence the accident.
They found a way to make sure it never happens again.
After the February incident, PricewaterhouseCoopers met with The Associated Press to formulate a new method for handling envelopes to avoid gaffes in the future. With the new system:
- Presenters will confirm they have the correct envelope with the Stage Manager before getting on stage.
- Representatives of PricewaterhouseCoopers will attend rehearsals for the show.
- The use of cellphones by representatives of PricewaterhouseCoopers has been banned.
- Cullinan and Ruiz will not be representing PricewaterhouseCoopers at the 2018 Academy Awards.
- Another representative of the firm will sit in the control room with the producers as a safety measure.
In conclusion, Tim Ryan said, “Our singular focus will be on the show and delivering the correct envelopes.”
Tim Ryan is confident that with the new measure in place, there will not be mistakes during the upcoming award ceremony of in the future.
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.
Nine films made it on the list this year for Best Picture. They are Call Me by Your Name, Dunkirk, Lady Bird, The Post, Darkest Hour, Get Out, Phantom Thread, The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
For Lead Actor, Timothée Chalamet, Daniel Day-Lewis, Daniel Kaluuya, Gary Oldman, and Denzel Washington are in the running. Which film do you think will win Best Picture?