PwC’s US Chairman Tim Ryan has opened up about new safeguards that will be in place at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, a year after a partner of the accounting and auditing firm’s mishandling of the famed sealed envelopes resulted in the wrong movie being announced as Best Picture winner.
Changes include replacing the two partners who had for years been involved in the backstage awards process, adding a third PwC member to work with the show’s producers in the control room, a new procedure for confirming envelope handoff from partner to celebrity presenter, faster corrective actions if a mistake is made, and – at the insistence of the Academy – that PwC’s representatives are banned from using social media during the broadcast.
In the wake of the onstage confusion that marred the end of last year’s event, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said major factors in retaining the firm was their “83 years of flawless partnership” and that the mistake was due to a human error that did not involve any compromises of the secrecy of the voting process.
In addition to tabulating votes for Oscar nominees and winners, PwC conducts much of the Academy’s accounting work, including audits and taxes.
This year’s ceremony is March 4.