Academy Awards looking to ensure ‘envelope-gate’ never happens again

Raffi Boghosian
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The 90th Academy Awards are being held at the Dolby Theatre this Sunday, March 4th.The four surrounding blocks of the theatre in Hollywood have already been closed off, to facilitate the annual event, which will be attended by 3,300 guests and viewed by over 33 million Americans.

The cost to produce the show is an astronomical $44 million. As always, the stage will be decorated with over 45 million of the most delicate Swarovski crystals.


Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the awards will continue to acknowledge the most significant achievements in film, but serious precautions have been made to ensure that last years’ Best Picture mix-up never happens again.

While Price Waterhouse Coopers have retained control over the ballet and nomination co-ordination, the two men responsible for last years’ mix-up were not invited back again. This year, a third PwC representative will remain in the central control room, with the winner’s names memorized, ready to pull the live feed in the event of an error.

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The presenter of the award and the PwC representative on each side of the stage will check with each other and confirm that they are holding the correct category envelope.

Everyone involved will also undertake thorough rehearsals on what action to take should the wrong name be called out. It was the responsibility of the PwC representatives last year to act quickly if the wrong name was read out, but they didn’t.

On the evening, no one will be allowed to have social media backstage either, as the man responsible for the mix-up was Tweeting photos last year, against the award show policy. The PwC representatives will continue to hand over the winning envelopes for the 24 categories, which include; Best Director, Best Actor Best Actress and Best Picture.

Preparations for Oscars in full swing on February 28, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (AFP)
Preparations for Oscars in full swing on February 28, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (AFP)

The nominations

The nominations this year vary from huge Hollywood blockbusters to low-budget yet hugely successful films like Get Out, which was made for just $4.5 million and grossed $255 internationally.

Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape Of Water leads the pack with 13 nominations, followed by Dunkirk with eight and Martin McDonough’s The Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri with seven. All three have earned best picture nominations.

Other Best Picture nominees include Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, Get Out, Phantom Thread, Lady Bird, and The Post. The winner of Best Picture will be tough to predict.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri received the best picture award at the Golden Globes and also the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the SAG awards, so its chances are incredibly high, as historically films that win in the lead-up award shows often win the Oscar as well.

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However, another strong contender is Get Out, which has tremendous box office success and makes some incredibly essential statements about race relations in the USA. Time will tell, at this point, it’s still anyone’s award.

The Best Foreign Film category is particularly challenging this year, as the nominees are all extreme. Lebanese Film The Insult is getting great reviews but it’s competitor, the Chilean entry A Fantastic Woman has gained international attention for its transgender themes.

The Square, from Sweden won accolades at Cannes Film Festival, is tipped to take out this category. The Best Documentary category features an Arabic film from Syria called Last Men In Aleppo, has Hollywood talking as it is very topical and hard-hitting, with many predicting it will win this category. The other contender in this category is called Faces Paces.

Documentary Feature nominees pose for a group photo at the reception for the 2017 Oscar-nominated films in Beverly Hills on February 28, 2018. (Reuters)
Documentary Feature nominees pose for a group photo at the reception for the 2017 Oscar-nominated films in Beverly Hills on February 28, 2018. (Reuters)

The big nominees

Other big nominees this year include Meryl Streep, who has received 21 nominations in the past and is up for Best Actress for her role in The Post. However, the woman tipped to take out the category is Frances McDormand from Three Billboards Outside Epping, Missouri. Her incredibly strong character has already seen her win other significant awards during the season.

Gary Oldman is tipped to take out Best Actor for his role as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour; he won the Golden Globe for back in January. His decades-long career has seen many achievements, but this would be his first Oscar win.

Best Supporting Actor, Allison Janney was the key favorite to win the Golden Globe for her incredible performance in I, Tonya but Corey Metcalf who plays an extraordinarily complex character in Lady Bird is also an active contender. Meanwhile, Sam Rockwell from Three Billboards Outside Epping, Missouri is predicted to win Best Supporting Actor.

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While Hollywood is getting excited for its night of nights, there will no doubt be an underlying tone regarding Hollywood sexual harassment allegations, which begins in full force when Harvey Weinstein, formerly of Weinstein & Co., was accused by Hollywood leading actresses of misconduct and assault.

Guests of the Golden Globes wore all-black to symbolize their support of the victims of this abuse; however, it is expected that The Oscars will not follow suit in this way. Instead, most of the referencing and tributes will be made in speeches and monologues, as appose to the fashion.

While last years’ show was extremely political, with the then newly appointed Donald Trump as the 45th US President, this year the focus will no doubt be on the sexual misconduct and harassment allegations that have swept all levels of Hollywood this year.

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