Last year saw one of the biggest flubs in the history of the Oscars when the award for Best Picture was mistakenly announced as La La Land, even though the actual winner was Moonlight. It was a tremendously embarrassing mix-up for The Academy Awards and they're determined to make sure nothing like that ever happens again. As such, they've instituted some new rules to ensure that's the case. Here's what Tim Ryan of PwC, the company that partners with The Academy for the Oscars and handles the actual awards envelopes, had to say.
"One of the most disappointing things to me was all the great work that had been done, not only last year but over the last 83 years, around accuracy, confidentiality integrity of that process. And where we got it wrong was on the handing over of the envelope."
The biggest change being implemented, per Tim Ryan, is celebrity presenters will have to confirm that they have the correct envelope before stepping out on stage. The mix-up last year occurred because presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were handed an envelope for the Best Actress category, an award that went to Emma Stone for La La Land. PwC partners will also be attending rehearsals now and there are measures in place to quickly correct any mistakes that take place in the future. "Our singular focus will be on the show and delivering the correct envelopes," Ryan said. He's also quite confident that such an incident will never occur again.
"My nature, just as a person, is healthy paranoia. 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."
Other new rules include adding a third balloting partner, who will be with Oscar producers in the show's control room. This individual will have a complete list of winners' envelopes and will also have to commit the winners to memory. There's also a new procedure for handing the envelopes over. Both the presenter and a stage manager will confirm that they have the correct envelope for the category they're presenting for. Also, the two partners who worked on last year's Oscar ceremony have been replaced, though they do still work for PwC. Here's what Film academy chief Dawn Hudson had to say about the changes and last year's mix-up.
"Still, it was a big human error, and it was a very public human error. Let me tell you, I don't think this error will ever happen again or would happen again. We put in a lot of protocols to make sure it won't, but I don't think it will anyway. I think everyone will be very focused on getting that right."
PwC remains an Academy partner, because last year's mix-up was chalked up to human error and, as Dawn Hudson says, they didn't want to "throw out 83 years of flawless partnership over this, while huge, one human error." Tim Ryan also personally reached out to dozens of the people affected by the mix-up, including filmmakers of both Moonlight and La La Land, according to ABC News.