No Cellphones Backstage for Accountants After Oscar Flub

PwC issues new protocols to prevent another Oscar disaster
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 29, 2017 6:45 PM CDT
PwC accountant Brian Cullinanholds red envelopes under his arm while using his cell phone backstage at the Oscars.   (Matt Sayles)

(Newser) – PwC accountants won't be allowed to have their cellphones backstage during future Oscar telecasts, the AP reports. Film academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs sent an email to academy members Wednesday detailing the new protocols for announcing Oscar winners developed after the best-picture flub at last month's Academy Awards. The academy's Board of Governors discussed its ongoing relationship with PwC, formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, and established the new controls at a meeting Tuesday night. Besides banning cellphones, the academy is adding a third balloting partner to the telecast and bringing in PwC's US chairman to provide oversight.

PwC has claimed responsibility for the biggest mistake in Oscar history. Balloting partner Brian Cullinan tweeted a photo of Emma Stone backstage moments before handing presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway the wrong envelope for best picture. Boone Isaacs blamed Cullinan's distraction for the error. Traditionally, two PwC partners have overseen Oscar balloting and are the only two people who know the winners before they are announced. They're stationed on opposite sides of the Dolby Theatre stage. Boone Isaacs said in her email that a third balloting partner with knowledge of the winners will sit with the telecast director going forward. Balloting partners will also be required to participate in Oscar rehearsals, she said. (Read more Oscars stories.)

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