7 Steps to a (Nearly) Foolproof Awards Envelope System

By Hayley Panagakis, February 27, 2017

5. Brief your presenters.

The confused response Beatty had when he pulled the card from the envelope should have been a sign that something was wrong. A card reading “Emma Stone” instead of a movie title for Best Picture should have been a red flag that the incorrect envelope was given. Talk to your presenters ahead of time and tell them not to be afraid to reach out to the production team, even onstage. Since the Oscars were broadcasted live, the scenario would have been awkward no matter what, but it would have taken only a moment for Beatty to consult the production team onstage before the winners made their way up for speeches.

Envelope Oscars Ryan Gosling La La Land Moonlight

6. Know mistakes happen.

If our bae and “La La Land” star Ryan Gosling can teach us anything, it’s to not take mistakes too seriously. Like in the case of Steve Harvey, human error can’t be planned for. There’s nothing a planner can do if their announcer makes an honest-to-goodness mistake.

In the case of the Oscars fiasco, however, the mistake could have been avoided. But what can you do? A mistake was made, and now it’s time to create an action plan to fix the problem and think of ways to make it right to those affected. 

7. If a mistake is made, act fast.

While it’s not ideal that the “La La Land” cast made it onstage before the mistake could be rectified, the Oscars team did work fast given the situation. If (and when) a mistake happens, work quickly to fix the problem. Communication is key, so if you know what caused the problem, tell the audience what happened immediately; they’ll likely be more understanding if they know the truth. Kudos to PricewaterhouseCoopers for owning its mistake.

Photo credit: Aaron Poole/A.M.P.A.S.

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