How The Academy Will Avoid Another Oscars Envelope Snafu

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty likely won’t be embarrassed again. 
By  · Published on January 22nd, 2018

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty likely won’t be embarrassed again.

One of the biggest stories that came from the Academy Awards last year wasn’t what film eventually won Best Picture (sorry Moonlight), but how it was actually announced. There was a monumental snafu regarding the announcement of the final award recipient of the night, which led to lots of confusion and finger pointing. La La Land was named as the Best Picture of 2016, but the actual winner was Moonlight.

The ordeal almost led to to the termination of an 83-year partnership between the The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Almost. So what is the Academy going to do instead to make sure another error of that magnitude never happens again? There’s an “intense” six-step plan now in place, and Vanity Fair has all the details as first reported by the Associated Press via The Hollywood Reporter.

First, Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, the culprits responsible for mishandling the envelope and failing to correct the error, are not invited back to the Oscars this year. The Academy has also made a strict rule of no phones or social media backstage during the show. You may remember that Cullinan took a picture with Best Actress winner Emma Stone right before giving out the wrong envelope. That was a big oops moment.

Next, instead of just leaving the job for two PricewaterhouseCoopers partners, now there will be a third in attendance in the show’s control room. It took far too long to fix the error last year, and if something should happen again, PwC is better prepared to take care of things. All three partners will participate in rehearsals, as well.

One new change will certainly reduce excitement from the telecast. Each celebrity presenter will be asked to confirm with a stage manager that the envelope is actually the one that is for that category and the right winner. This should mean that presenters won’t be on the the hook if they get it wrong like Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were last year. That is, unless they just say something other than what’s on the card.

As a whole the entire presentation should have a much more constricting feeling than in previous years, but this is the knee-jerk reaction that is expected from the Academy after the ceremony mistakes made more press than any of the winners. And perhaps the winners will still find a place to celebrate with their peers. If not, there is always the after party.

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