2017 Oscars: Here’s How Presenters Got The Wrong Envelope That led To The Onstage Mishap


The 2017 Oscars have been trending for so many reasons most of which are demeaning.

The most embarrassing moment at the 89th Annual Academy Awards was giving an award to the wrong film and later taking it back to give to the rightful winner.

Consequently, there were questions on who must be blamed for the mix up. Thus, while accusing fingers were pointed in different directions, we decided to dig deeper to see how the envelopes containing the Academy Award winners are handled before they are opened live onstage.

Read More: 89th Annual Academy Awards Drama: Wrong Film Announced Winner At The Oscars

Firstly, the consulting firm PwC, tabulates the winners based on ballots cast by the academy’s 6 687 voting members. Winners are chosen by popular vote, except for best picture, which uses the preferential method. Here, voters rank their favorite films in order and accountants determine the highest-ranked choice that appears on the most ballots.

On the D-day, two accountants are tasked with bringing the final results to the Oscars. They are usually seen on the red carpet carrying briefcases with sealed envelopes inside. Each briefcase contains an identical set of envelopes for the show’s 24 categories. In addition to delivering the results, the accountants also memorise the winners.

2017 Oscars

During the presentation of awards, presenters go backstage a few minutes ahead of time, and an accountant hands them their category’s envelope just before they walk onstage to announce the winner for that category. The sealed envelope with the winner’s name and category inside is opened live onstage.

Meanwhile, during the Oscars presentation on Sunday, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway entered stage right, where PwC representative Brian Cullinan handed them the envelope that led to the epic mishap. Prior to that, Leonardo DiCaprio presented the previous award for best actress. He entered stage left where PwC representative Martha Ruiz handed him the correct envelope for the category.

However, a duplicate, unopened envelope for the same category remained with Cullinan who ended up giving it to Beatty and Dunaway. The result of this was that La La Land was mistakenly named as winner for Best Picture before Moonlight snatched the award back.

As a result, the 2017 Oscars recorded one of the biggest blunders in the entertainment industry, but not the first though.