Bonnie and Clyde have returned to the scene of the crime.
Just over one year after Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty played a key role in announcing the incorrect Best Picture winner at the 2017 Academy Awards, the iconic Hollywood duo took the same stage at Sunday’s ceremony to right the wrongs of their Oscar past.
“It’s so nice seeing you again,” Beatty said as the pair made their way to the stage. Dunaway added: “As they say, presenting is lovelier the second time around.”
Beatty seemed to struggle with the envelope at first, though he eventually awarded Best Picture to the correct film, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water.
Making light of last year’s best picture flub, del Toro jokingly grabbed the envelope from Beatty’s hands and showed it to the audience to verify that his monster romance had in fact won the Academy’s top honor.
Last year, as the 89th Oscars drew to a close, representatives from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm responsible for tabulating the Academy’s balloting data, handed Beatty and Dunaway the wrong category envelope as they made their way to the podium. After a bit of noticeable stalling on Beatty’s part, Dunaway took the envelope from his hand and mistakenly announced La La Land as the Best Picture of 2017 over the actual winner, Moonlight. Oscar producers made their way to the stage to amend the error as the audience watched in disbelief.
The PwC accountants responsible for last year’s fiasco, Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, were largely blamed for the incident, and were replaced by PwC partners Rick Rosas and Kimberly Bourdon. Cullinan and Ruiz previously landed in hot water with both the Academy and PwC after snapping selfies and other photos backstage during the Oscars telecast. Cullinan even shared a since-deleted shot of Emma Stone, whose category envelope was accidentally handed to Beatty and Dunaway, to social media on the evening of the 2017 ceremony. Cullinan and Ruiz’s actions triggered the Academy to ban PwC reps from using cell phones and social media during the telecast.
Still, despite the momentary shock, the moment went down as one of the most memorable live occurrences in TV history, and reports surfaced earlier this week that Beatty and Dunaway would return to the Oscars for another crack at presenting Best Picture.
In cooperation with the Academy, PwC has, however, implemented new show procedures to prevent another gaffe at the 2018 ceremony. The first measure stresses the importance of a planned exchange between celebrity presenters and PwC accountants, during which the announcing party confirms that they have the correct category envelope before stepping onto the stage.
While two PwC accountants were previously stationed on both sides of the Oscars stage, a third balloting partner now sits with with show producers inside the control room. That person also carries the winners’ envelopes with them, and commits them to memory in anticipation of another paper-based mistake.