Live Poll: Who's to Blame for the Envelope Mix-Up?

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  • Updated 3 years ago
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Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway had to present the last award at the 89th Annual Academy Awards, the Oscar for best picture. However, instead of the envelope for best picture, they were given a second envelope for lead actress, which was won by Emma Stone of 'La La Land', causing Dunaway to announce that 'La La Land' had won best picture, instead of 'Moonlight'.

Who's to blame for one of the most epic mix-ups in the history of the Academy Awards?

Poll: http://www.imdb.com/poll/xJlJ0gUXQpo/

List: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls064585491/
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leavey-2

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Posted 3 years ago

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Peter, Champion

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That's interesting about the envelope design. Do we know that the director made that decision?

I would say both the accountants and the presenters made a mistake.
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leavey-2

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For the first time since 2011, the envelopes were designed and printed by a new Los Angeles firm. As the director of the 89th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony, I don't know if Glenn Weiss personally selected the new design but in any case, he bears the overall responsibility for this choice.
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Dibyayan Chakravorty, Champion

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The PwC accountants.
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dgranger

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Ultimately, it is Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway Fault for not having the common sense to totally read the card and the outside of the envelope before announcing what they thought was best picture..
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leavey-2

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I agree, although I think that at PwC some people will be fired too...
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dgranger

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Someone will be because of the old adage that really a truth about how society reallly works today - "Shit rolls downhill ". AKA, the famous or the big persons really responsible usually find some small guy to blame in order to save their faces and jobs. (I could name some recent political events to demonstrate this point perfectly but this poll is about the film industry and not politics.)
Personally, I don't buy this design of the envelope is partially to blame theory because of the gold and red design. Look at the the picture of how the cards and envelopes really looked liked. http://www.gettyimages.com.au/event/8... and http://www.gettyimages.com.au/event/8... And http://www.gettyimages.com.au/event/8... Yeah, that was real hard to read ... not! The so called red was a border on the card inside the envelope and the background part of the design INSIDE of the envelope. The out side of the envelope was gold with a white labels with LARGE BLACK LETTERS announcing the category the envelope was for. It may be harder for a color blind person to read. But it is not for a person who isn't. Beatty and Dunaway just didn't read the outside of the envelope. They were more busy reading their teleprompters instead of reading what was before their faces. Lazy.

Besides, there has been mix ups in envelopes a few times before but it was usually caught by the presenter reading the award out loud or by the person handing the envelope to the presenter. It was usually for the lower awards and it was handled quietly and quickly with no major incident. Some times on stage and on camera! ( I think it was ether David Niven or Cary Grant who wisely pulled out his glasses and read the envelope and said something like "Excuse me, but it seams I was handed the wrong envelope" then he ether went backstage and got the right one or someone came out with the right. Oh yes, this happened a couple of times before. This was the first time that it happen for the big award - best picture - and the on stage presenters didn't catch the error and stop it. So I respectfully disagree with Rocky O's comment that Beatty and Dunaway not having a share of the blame.
Anyway, the fact that Price Waterhouse and Coopers (PWC) and the Academy have such a decades long history with each over and with such a small amount of mistakes (when compared the extremely high amount of chances for mistakes over 83 years *) is no reason to dump them now because of one mistake. You have to concider all the times they got it right too. Also, they are accountants, not professional card handlers! Be more concerned that they counted the votes right and accurately.

*"PwC has been counting ballots for the Oscars for the past 83 years, and Ruiz has been involved with that process for the past three. " https://www.google.com/amp/amp.timein...
(Edited)
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rocky-o

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hey dgranger...good to see what the envelopes actually looked like..and yea, i would agree that it shouldn't have been as hard to read as they originally suggested, which was akin to neon christmas wrapping of the worst kind...

and i do agree that it was such a small incident over so many years that too much is being made of it...nice catch...
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dgranger

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Thanks
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urbanemovies

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I think the accounting firm and AMPAS are ultimately responsible, they failed to plan and therefore planned to fail. There was no checks and balances set up to ensure the right envelopes were given out. Nor was there any instruction to the presenters on what to do if they got the wrong envelope or if there was a problem to ask for help. No contingencies were set-up at all, instead the focus was myopically focused on securing the results rather than getting it right. The better question is Why didn't it happen sooner? The presenters only job is read the contents is to read the contents of the envelope. It was obvious there was problem, yet neither the producers nor the accounting firm stepped in to help. The AMPAS is asking questions they should been asking before hand, being pro-active instead of reactive.
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leavey-2

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One theory states that the mix-up happened because of the new design of the envelopes (red with gold-colored letters) which made the category very hard to read:

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/la-et-envelope-design-20170227-story.html
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urbanemovies

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I think you should add another option:

"Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences are ultimately responsible. They failed to plan and therefore planned to fail. There were no checks and balances set up to ensure the right envelopes were given out. Nor was there any instruction to the presenters on what to do if they got the wrong envelope or if there was a problem to ask for help. No contingencies were set-up at all, Instead the focus was myopically focused on securing the results rather than getting it right. The better question is Why didn't it happen sooner?"

Note:
It wasn't one failure or mistake, it was a series of a dozen mistakes. A bad system, A poor envelope redesign, An accountant texting instead of doing his job. A stage handler not checking the envelope for the presenter. Warren Beatty for not asking for help. A stage manager for not stepping up when Beatty was confused. Jimmy Kimmel for not stepping up to help as the host. Oscars producers/director for not radioing the stage when Beatty was confused. Dunaway for not reading the full result or Beatty for not verbalizing his confusion to her. AMPAS for not realizing the potential disaster a two envelope could pose or planning for the unexpected. Any one these people could have prevented this from happening, it only happened as a result of a cascade of failures.

NASA has systems that recheck each other and are quadruple redundant. They assume it is going to go wrong at sometime and somewhere. As a result, they plan for the unexpected and the unplanned. Is it to much to ask the AMPAS to apply the same level of planning to it's signature event. Chaos wasn't a result, it was a choice the AMPAS made. When they didn't ask the questions or take the steps they are taking now. This is a leadership failure not an individual failure.
(Edited)
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leavey-2

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Good analysis. In fact I had Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the President of AMPAS, in my original poll suggestion and the system with 2 duplicate envelopes as the main reason for blaming her. But then I wasn't sure if this is AMPAS procedure or instructions from the director/producer of the Award Ceremony.
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urbanemovies

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It doesn't matter if it is it individual decision by the producers, director or the PWC accounting firm. It is her and the Board of Governors job to be big picture and oversee what they are doing. They should let them figure out the details, procedure and minutia, Then, ask them to present it to them for a sign-off with the full knowledge of both the advantages and potential short comings. Also, they could have hired an "outside consultant" to review their procedures to make sure everything is 100%. Even if they don't get into the details or aren't up to the task, they still have a responsibility to empower and hire people up to the task.

I guess if they can take steps now to prevent this from ever happening again, why didn't they take those steps before? If the standard of getting 3047 out 3048 awards right or being 99.97% accurate isn't good enough. Then having a foolproof system that accounts for human error, by both minimizing them and catching them before they become irreversible is paramount. It seems like this wasn't a priority. The Governors just abdicated the responsibility to others and never gave it any thought. In hindsight, it seems to be a very flawed system with no safeguards at all or thought given to what could go wrong. Surprising, when considering how staged, scripted and timed the whole ceremony is. There is a lot of little blame to go around on this one, but the buck stops at the Board of Governors on this one.

Well done options and poll otherwise, It is very topical and I think most poll takers want to voice their opinion on this one.
(Edited)
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LD

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PwC accountants
(Edited)
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Dibyayan Chakravorty, Champion

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Congratulations!!! We got a LIVE!!!

http://www.imdb.com/poll/xJlJ0gUXQpo/
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rocky-o

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i think the accountant too busy taking a selfie with emma stone is clearly at fault...the fact that he was taking a selfie in the first place kinda gives you a clue not to ever put him in charge of anything important...

however...the brilliant mind that decided to make red and gold envelopes also deserves to be taken down a peg or two (and maybe a salary or two while we're at it)...if the envelopes were clearly marked, maybe even selfie-boy could have seen the error, along with everybody else...

faye dunaway and warren beatty have no pony in the blame race here...and after all...la la land was expected to win anyway...
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dgranger

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Rocky-o, I respectfully disagree with you. In my previous post up above, I have stated that this has happened before but it was handled by the presenter on stage with no major incident at the time. This was firstthe presenter didn't catch the mistake and correct it and it was the first time it was for the best picture category.
One look at the pictures at the Oscar envelopes and the cards within immediately kills the new design was hard to read theory because the name of the category was printed in large BLACK LETTERS on a WHITE LABEL on the outside of the Gold ENVELOPE. All Oscar presenters are instructed to read the outside of the envelope to make sure they were handed the correct envelope as a final check measure and are instructed on what to do if they were handed the wrong envelope. So Beatty and Dunaway do have a share of the blame.
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Lucilfer

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The PWC people.
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urbanemovies

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Update:
http://people.com/movies/academy-will-still-use-accounting-firm-pwc-despite-best-picture-mix-up/

"Throughout the last month, the Academy team has worked hand-in-hand with PwC to review our wide-ranging relationship – everything from Oscars voting, auditing, and taxes – during which we asked them to lay out for us a path and a process towards ensuring that everything will continue to the high standards the Academy expects and you deserve,” Boone Issacs said before outlining the changes.

Ruiz and Cullinan will no longer be working the show and a third PwC accountant who knows the list of winners will now be placed in the control room to ensure a quicker reaction time if the situation happens again.

The accountants working the show will also have to hand their phones over to avoid distractions, as Cullinan had been strictly told not to post on social media during the show but uploaded a picture of Emma Stone to Twitter just a few minutes before handing Beatty the wrong envelope.

The Academy also plans to regularly review its relationship with PwC to avoid another chaotic moment happening again."

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leavey-2

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Thanks for sharing this. So a couple of minor changes, and otherwise it's business as usual.
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Dan Dassow, Champion

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