There was a historic snafu at the Oscars last year
Safeguards have since been put in place
Fingers crossed that Sunday’s Academy Awards won’t end as dramatically as last year’s.
Who will ever forget what is now the biggest Oscars snafu in the ceremony’s 90 year history?
We speak, of course, of the blunder that led “La La Land” to initially – and mistakenly – being named the best picture winner over “Moonlight” at the 89th Academy Awards.
Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which has handled the ballots for the Academy Awards for more than 80 years, took full responsibility for the snafu.
Weeks later, the board of governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted to retain the firm’s services, despite the best picture mix up.
This time around, the academy has announced new safeguards to make sure such a mistake doesn’t reoccur.
The two PwC partners who were responsible for guarding last year’s winners’ envelopes will not be involved in the ceremony.
Tim Ryan, chairman and a senior partner at the firm, will oversee the evening.
Rick Rosas, another partner who had previously worked the awards for 14 years, will return to his post.
The firm will also place a third partner stationed in the control room with the show’s producers, who will have duplicates of the envelopes containing the winners.
When it comes time for the award presenters to take the stage with the envelopes, both the presenter and the stage manager will verify they’re holding the correct envelope for the category being announced.
Other safeguards include PwC partners in attendance at the Oscars dress rehearsal and banning of the use of cell phones or social media by the partners.
That’s due to reports last year that one of the partners involved in the error, Brian Cullinan, may have been distracted by his use of Twitter.
Cullinan and Martha Ruiz were present when Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty presented the nominees for best picture.
On stage, Beatty opened the envelope that was supposed to contain the winner. Later, Beatty said the envelope contained the name of a winner, but not for best picture.
The actor paused after saying “And the Academy Award…,” which caused the audience to titter as they assumed Beatty was trying to build suspense.
Dunaway teased him about it before he showed her the card and she read “La La Land.”
The cast and crew of “La La Land” then took to the stage in celebration and two producers offered acceptance remarks as a stage manager was spotted running across the stage with an envelope.
“La La Land” producer Fred Berger started to speak at the microphone before he said, “We lost, by the way, but, you know…”
Producer Jordan Horowitz then stepped up to the mic and said, “I’m sorry, there’s a mistake. ‘Moonlight,’ you guys won best picture.”
“This is not a joke,” he said, motioning to the “Moonlight” cast and producers to take the stage.
“La La Land” producer Marc Platt added. “This is not a joke. They read the wrong thing.”
Horowitz then flashed the card displaying “Moonlight” as the winner to the audience.
As the “Moonlight” cast and creators headed to the stage to shock, host Jimmy Kimmel said, “This is very unfortunate what happened.”
“Personally, I blame Steve Harvey for this,” Kimmel said, referring to the TV host’s infamous Miss Universe gaffe in which he named the wrong winner.
“I’m going to be very proud to hand this to my friends from ‘Moonlight,’” Horowitz said.
And he did, handing the statue over to “Moonlight” writer/director Barry Jenkins.
Beatty attempted to explain how the mix up occurred.
“I want to tell you what happened,” Beatty said, “I opened the envelope and it said, ‘Emma Stone, La La Land.’ That’s why I took such a long look at Faye and at [the audience]. I wasn’t trying to be funny.”
Photos would later reveal that Beatty and Dunaway were handed the envelope containing the name of the winner for best actress, which was Emma Stone from “La La Land.”
The 90th Academy Awards will air at 8 p.m. EST Sunday on ABC.