The Academy is putting last year's Best Picture blunder behind them with new safeguards expected to prevent similar accidents at the 2018 Academy Awards.
In last year's ceremony, presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced La La Land as the winner of the Best Picture award instead of the real winner Moonlight. Producers quickly corrected the epic flub, but the damage has been done and the error left the crowd in total shock.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm who handles the tabulation of votes in the Academy Awards, took responsibility for the mistake. In last year's awarding ceremony, the firm's representatives gave the presenters the wrong envelope. Instead of handing over the Best Picture envelope, the presenters received the envelope for the Best Actress winner which was meant for La La Land actress Emma Stone.
"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," Tim Ryan, a senior partner with PwC, tells The Associated Press. "And where we got it wrong was on the handing over of the envelope."
This year, PwC is updating their rule book to avoid a repeat of the infamous Best Picture blunder of 2017. While the voting system and tabulation procedures will not be amended, the firm is implementing reforms on the handling of the envelope.
New safeguards that will be in place for this year's awarding ceremony including a new protocol. During the ceremony, the celebrity presenters and a stage manager need to confirm that they have the right category envelope before going up the podium. Furthermore, the PwC partners will be attending the rehearsals for the awards show from now on. This way the firm can simulate what-if scenarios and correct any mistake quickly during the live show.
As an additional precaution, there will be a third balloting partner for this year's Academy Awards. The two balloting stage-side partner won't just hold a set of winners' envelopes each, but they've also memorized all the winners ahead of time. The third partner will be in the control room with the producers of the show. All three partners will be present at the rehearsals.
The academy also prohibited PwC partners from using social media and mobile phones during the event.
Ryan says that despite his "healthy paranoia," he knows that the PwC team has done their due diligence and extensive work to ensure smooth sailing at this year's Oscars.
"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 close," he explains.