PwC: At the Oscars

The 2015 Oscars show
By Alex Burden, Student Blog

18 February 2019

Movie fan? Dying to see the Oscars on 24 February? Well, did you know that since 1934, Big Four firm PwC has been responsible for the ballot briefcase and voting process of the world's biggest awards show?

For 85 years, PwC has been trusted to calculate and safeguard the Awards results, and three of their employees are the only people on the planet to know all the results before anyone else; those client confidentiality skills must be fully tested in the run-up to the awards night, by the world's prying eyes!

A few weeks before the awards, the results are packed into two separate briefcases and start their journey to the famed stage, eagerly awaited and watched by over 40m people.

How the ballots are reported

After a gaffe in 2017, when the wrong envelope for best picture was handed over, PwC has brought in heightened measures to ensure accuracy and scrutiny. Social media and phone use is banned, and there will now be three PwC partners backstage (one for each wing, and one to sit in the control room with producers).

All winners will be committed to memory by the partners, and they will attend all rehearsals, as well as practice how to respond in case of a mistake. The partners for 2019 include Tim Ryan, PwC’s U.S. chairman and senior partner and Rick Rosas.

This process for balloting has not changed in decades and the PwC accountants who help collate the data are sworn to secrecy. They also have only three days to tally all votes as they are cast until the Tuesday before the Sunday evening show - all results must be in the briefcases by Saturday.

The briefcases are transported in separate cars with differing routes and held on the left and right-hand sides of the stage in preparation for delivering the awaited-envelopes that could change people's lives.

So there you have it: any PwC CA looking for a future at the Oscars needs to practice their memory, calculation and client confidentiality skills!

Photo credit: Helga Esteb, Shutterstock

The Oscars show will be broadcast at 5pm (US Pacific Time) on Sunday, 24 February 2019.

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