On Sunday evening, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that handles Oscars voting, was thrust into the spotlight immediately after the wrong name was read as the best picture winner at the Academy Awards.
Shortly afterward, PwC announced that the envelope given to presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway was incorrect, which led to the embarrassing blunder.
Even though Dunaway announced that "La La Land" won the night's most significant honor, the statuette truly went to "Moonlight."
"We sincerely apologize to 'Moonlight,' 'La La Land,' Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made through the award announcement for ideal picture," according to a statement from PWC. "The presenters had mistakenly been given the incorrect category envelope and when discovered, was straight away corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have occurred and deeply regret that this occurred. We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC and [host] Jimmy Kimmel handled the scenario."
For the previous 83 years, PricewaterhouseCoopers has been responsible for tallying the votes. Like years before, partners Martha Ruiz and Brian Cullinan headed up the operation.
The two opened up to ABC News in 2016 about how the process operates, which could give some insight into what went incorrect Sunday.
1. Voting began early: Immediately after the nominations are announced, ballots are sent out to members of the Academy, each of whom decided ahead of time no matter if to vote electronically or with a paper ballot. Right away afterward, according to Ruiz, a tiny group of PricewaterhouseCoopers employees counts every single vote by hand at a secret place.
two. The voting process is an organized one: Though electronic voting was introduced five years ago, several members still select to use paper ballots.
"We bring those to postal service and drop them off. They then go to the individual voters who comprehensive the ballots, put them in an envelope that is indicated with safety codes and those come back to us," Cullinan said.
"We then have these in an undisclosed place. We don’t inform men and women where the voting requires place or exactly where the tabulation requires place. And we have a group that helps us go by way of this, but each of our group members are only performing a portion of the total counting and myself and my fellow partner Martha are the only two who actually know the winners."
three. There's protection from counterfeit ballots: PricewaterhouseCoopers makes certain that every ballot returned to them is genuine by matching the code on it to the corresponding voting member. And when Cullinan mentioned at the time that he'd by no means noticed a fake ballot mailed in, he assured ABC News that it would be caught incredibly rapidly and would not be counted.
4. Counting the votes requires days: For days just before 2016's show, Cullinan and Ruiz holed up with their team counting ballots -- and that method continued for the rest of the week.
"We have a protected. We have several rooms with safety and biometric locks and all kinds of issues. Alarms that if doors are open for as well lengthy the LAPD shows up. A lot of those safety measures that we have in spot just to make sure that is its generally protected," Cullinan said. Ruiz added that when the ballots are counted, they're filed away for a handful of years and then shredded.
5. Counting the greatest image race is difficult: The course of action of counting votes for greatest picture is not as easy as 1 could possibly consider. According to Cullinan, every voter is asked to rank the nominated films, with 1 getting their prime option. Soon after figuring out which film garnered the least number of votes, PwC staff take that title out of contention and appear to see which movie each and every of those voters selected as their second favorite. That redistribution approach continues until there are only two films remaining. The a single with the biggest pile wins. "It does not necessarily mean that who has the most quantity one votes from the beginning is ensured they win," he added. "It is not necessarily the case, mainly because going by way of this procedure of preferential voting, it could be that the one particular who began in the lead, doesn’t finish in the lead."
6. Each winner's name is printed out to make certain safety: Marc Friedland, inventive director of Marc Friedland Couture Communications, has been handcrafting the Oscar envelopes and winners cards for six years, though he did not do them for the 2017 telecast. He stated in 2016 that the procedure took 110 hours, as he designed 3 sets of winners cards -- 1 for each and every nominee -- and 72 envelopes. When he was completed, he gave the winners cards and the envelopes to Ruiz and Cullinan, who were responsible for putting the right winners cards into the envelopes and sealing them. Then, they loaded them into briefcases and destroyed the cards bearing the names of these who did not win. Winners also acquire a copy of the envelope and the card bearing his/her name. "This is not one thing that is gonna get thrown aside," Friedland stated of his envelope and card. "This is coveted."
7. Security precautions are taken until the finish: Ruiz and Cullinan every single take a briefcase filled with winners' envelopes to the ceremony, but to make sure maximum safety, each travels on a unique route and is protected by police. "No matter what happens, at least one of us will get there," Cullinan mentioned. As soon as they're at the Dolby, the briefcase stays in their hands. "We stand backstage and we hand the envelope to the presenters just ahead of they walk on stage," he added. "It doesn’t truly leave my side and I have my LAPD escort with me backstage."
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