New rules for Oscar envelope handling

By Sandy Cohen

AP Entertainment Writer


After taking responsibility for the epic best-picture flub at the Oscars last year, Tim Ryan of PwC got down to business.

He grilled the partners who made the gaffe, then personally reached out to the dozens of people affected by it: the show’s producers, presenters and stage managers, as well as the filmmakers behind “La La Land” and “Moonlight.”

In the months that followed, PwC met with the academy many times to come up with new protocols and safeguards to prevent such a blunder in the future. Ryan revealed those new reforms to The Associated Press.

Last year’s mistake happened when a PwC partner mistakenly handed an envelope for the best actress winner category, which went to Emma Stone in “La La Land,” to the presenters of the best picture category, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. That resulted in “La La Land” being briefly named best picture, before one of that film’s producers revealed the error and that “Moonlight” had in fact won.

Ryan said Oscar voting procedures and the tabulation of nominees and winners won’t change. The reforms focus on envelope rituals, and include:

The addition of a third balloting partner, who will sit with Oscar producers in the show’s control room.

A new formal procedure is in place for when envelopes are handed over. Both the celebrity presenter and a stage manager will confirm that they’ve been given the correct envelope for the category they are about to present.

All three balloting partners will attend show rehearsals and practice what to do if something goes wrong.

The final change is that PwC partners are prohibited from using cellphones or social media during the show.

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