TIME awards

Oscars 2014: Meet the Only 2 People in the World Who Already Know Who Won

PwC Oscars Briefcase
New 2014 PwC briefcase with Oscar® envelopes Courtesy PwC

The accountants who determine the Oscar winners take their jobs very, very seriously

While the movie-watching public and the movie-making elite both wait patiently for the Oscars on Sunday, Rick Rosas and Brian Cullinan are ahead of the game: They’re the only two people in the whole world who know in advance who will win an Academy Award.

In fact, for some categories, they might already know: the last Oscar votes rolled in on Tuesday and, as the PwC accountants chosen to do the final count on Oscar ballots, they started their tallies the next day. The Oscar vote-counting process goes on for months, continuing throughout the nominations process, but the homestretch that is the finals lasts less than a week.

“As accountants, we keep confidential information every day,” says Rosas. “This is the one time there’s a little heightened interest in it.”

And when it comes to secrecy, the Oscars are definitely not messing around. To wit:

  • A small team of people (about six people, not including Rosas and Cullinan) split up the ballots so that nobody is counting an entire category, which means nobody knows how the different entries stack up. Those subtotals are added up by Rosas and Cullinan. By Friday evening, the two accountants will know all the winners.
  • Though they won’t disclose how many vote are received, there are about 6,000 voting members of the Academy. All of the counting is done by hand. “It’s old-school,” says Cullinan. “It’s as boring as it sounds. You have lots and lots of stacks of little pieces of paper.”
  • All of the categories are counted several times, and extra if there’s a tie (which has happened). There has never been a post-awards recount required.
  • The Academy provides triplicates of cards listing each movie in every category. Rosas and Cullinan put the winning cards in the envelopes; the losing cards and extras are destroyed.
  • Two identical and complete sets of cards are put in two identical briefcases. This year, PwC has introduced a new style of briefcase — seen above — which is the first one to bear the Academy’s logo as well as the accounting firm’s.
  • Having rehearsed their blocking on Saturday, Rosas and Cullinan will travel to the show separately, in cars with security details. They carry the briefcases down the red carpet, pausing for interviews, and each take their places on opposite sides of the stage. As presenters come on from either side, they’ll be handed the right cards.

When the envelopes are opened, the number in the know will balloon from two people to tens of millions.

PwC has been counting Oscar ballots for decades, and Rosas said the process is pretty well fine-tuned; this is Cullinan’s first year on the Oscar beat, but Rosas is a veteran. It’s a busy few days, but no all-nighters are required, particularly because they already know what they’ll wear on Sunday. (Tuxes, natch.) That’s a good thing, because after the Oscars are over, it’ll be straight into tax season. Not that they mind being busy for a few days — heading the Oscars team is an honor at PwC offices, they say.

“Especially for those who aren’t in the business world, [the Oscars are] what we’re known for,” says Cullinan. “To be asked to do it is probably, as an accountant, as much fun as you can have.”

(MORE: What Makes an Oscar Winner)

TIME awards

You Can Watch the Oscars Streaming Online for the First Time Ever

You Can Watch the Oscars Streaming Online for the First Time Ever
Toby Canham—Getty Images

Watch it on your iPhone.

For the first time in Oscar history, you can watch Sunday’s award show streaming online from your computer, tablet or smartphone. Horrendous red carpet outfits might seem less offensive to the eyes on a second — smaller — screen.

The Oscars isn’t the first major live broadcast to stream for free. Fox Super Bowl was streamed online for the first time in February 2014 to great success — it was the most-viewed US sports livestream ever.

WATCH ABC’s streaming Academy Awards service is available to viewers with cable subscriptions through Comcast, Cablevision, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Midcontinent Communications, Verizon GiOS, Googble Fiber or AT&T U-Verse in select major cities, USA Today reports. Nonsubscribers will have access to “The Oscars Backstage,” which will air highlights from the show and behind the scenes celebrity access.

The Oscars, hosted by comedian Ellen Degeneres, will air March 2 at 8:30 p.m. EST on ABC.

[USA Today]

TIME awards

Porn Stars Predict Who Will Win The Academy Awards

An Oscar statue stands on the red carpet
The iconic Oscar statue stands above the red carpet on the eve of the 84th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, on February 25, 2012. Joe Klamar—AFP/Getty Images

Adult film actresses place their bets on those other movie stars

Who will win the 86th Academy Awards? As the Oscars approach, people are wondering who will take home Hollywood’s most recognizable phallic symbol. One place to find the answer is TIME’s film critic extraordinaire Richard Corliss. Or you could ask a bunch of porn stars.

Vivid’s adult film actresses gave Uproxx their predictions about who will grab Oscars this Sunday, so if you’re struggling to fill out a winners’ chart or whatever people use to bet on these things, they’re worth taking a gander at. Yes, porn stars are not traditionally considered psychic, but an ape has correctly predicted the Super Bowl winner for years, so don’t scoff at soothsaying from sordid sources.

Here are the top picks from some of porn’s biggest stars:

Ash Hollywood
Best Picture-Gravity
Best Actor-Leonardo DiCaprio
Best Actress-Sandra Bullock
Best Director-Martin Scorsese

Brandy Aniston
Best Picture-The Wolf of Wall Street
Best Actor-Matthew McConaughey
Best Actress-Sandra Bullock
Best Director-Martin Scorsese

Kendall Karson
Best Picture-The Wolf of Wall Street
Best Actor-Matthew McConaughey
Best Actress- Sandra Bullock
Best Director- Martin Scorsese

Mary Carey
Best Picture-American Hustle
Best Actor-Christian Bale
Best Actress-Amy Adams
Best Director-David O. Russell

Savanna Samson
Best Picture-Gravity
Best Actor-Matthew McConaughey
Best Actress-Meryl Streep
Best Director-Alfonso Cuaron

Penny Paxx
Best Picture-Gravity
Best Actor-Leonardo DiCaprio
Best Actress-Amy Adams
Best Director-David O. Russell

Ashley Blue
Best Picture-12 Years a Slave
Best Actor-Bruce Dern
Best Actress-Amy Adams
Best Director-Martin Scorsese

TIME movies

Oscars 2014: Why Lupita Nyong’o Will Win Best Supporting Actress

12 Years a Slave
Lupita Nyong'o in 12 Years a Slave Francois Duhamel—Fox Searchlight

It all comes down to Lawrence vs. Lupita — but isn't Jennifer Lawrence's trophy case getting a little crowded?

Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska

Two dreams of an Oscar nomination: getting one with your first role in a feature film, as Nyong’o has; and being recognized, like Squibb, at 84, after a 60-year career in small roles in movies and TV shows, on Broadway and on the road. Before she secured the part of Bruce Dern’s wife — she of the ancient angelic face and the salty mouth (“I ain’t fiddlin’ with no cow titties, I’m a city girl”) — Squibb’s most notable credit was as a replacement in the original Broadway run of the musical Gypsy, in 1960. She played Electra, the stripper with the flashing lights on her costume, singing the Styne-Sondheim “You Gotta Get a Gimmick” (“If you wanna make it, / Twinkle while you shake it”). A mere 53 years later: stardom!

(READ: Corliss’ pick for Best Actor in the 2014 Oscars)

Hawkins won many critics’ awards (but no Oscar nomination) for her role as the optimistic teacher in Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky in 2008; she becomes an Academy finalist playing Cate Blanchett’s reality-based sister in Blue Jasmine. Roberts, who lends passion and bitterness to her role as one of Meryl Streep’s rebellious daughters in August: Osage County, achieved movie fame in three short steps in her early twenties — Mystic Pizza, Steel Magnolias and Pretty Woman, with nominations for the last two — and won her Oscar in 2001 for Erin Brockovich. She would be considered a prodigy among star actresses — unless her competition were Lawrence, Hollywood’s new great blond hope.

(READ: Corliss’ pick for Best Actress in the 2014 Oscars)

Nominated at 20 for Best Actress in the indie drama Winter’s Bone, Lawrence won last year as the truculent widow who gets Bradley Cooper to dance in David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook; she was the second youngest winner in this category (after 21-year-old Marlee Matlin for Children of a Lesser God in 1987). If the Academy blesses Lawrence for her film-stealing role as the sexy wife in Russell’s American Hustle, she would be the youngest performer with two competitive Oscars. In between these award-winning turns, all she’s done is anchor the sensationally popular Hunger Games franchise. With The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, she became the first actress since Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music to be the top-billed female star of the year’s highest-grossing movie.

(READ: Corliss’ pick for Best Supporting Actor in the 2014 Oscars)

There’s simply no comparing Lawrence’s saucy comedic brio in American Hustle with Nyong’o’s long-suffering sanctity as the prize property of sadistic Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave. Nor do the usual auguries point to a clear winner. Nyong’o, raised in Kenya and a graduate of the Yale Drama School, won most of the critics’ prizes and the Screen Actor Guild award; Lawrence took the Golden Globe and BAFTA citations. We can safely predict that Nyong’o will be named Best Supporting Actress at the Independent Spirit Awards, held on her 30th birthday, the evening before the Oscars. (Lawrence is not nominated there, because the American Hustle budget was too high for the movie to be eligible as an indie production.)

(READ: Lisa Schwarzbaum on Nyong’o “the front runner”)

On Oscar night, it’s a coin toss — the closest race among the major categories. Our tentative guess: the Academy will decide that Lawrence, still only 23, will be around for ages to cop more statuary, and that Nyong’o and the searing film she represents is worthy of one acting award (plus, possibly, Best Picture). But we won’t be shocked if the golden girl with the throaty laugh is on stage to receive yet another item for her overstocked trophy case.

TIME awards

Oscars 2014: Forecasting the Unlikeliest Presenter Pairings

2001 MTV Movie Awards - Backstage
Well, maybe this one isn't too unlikely. KMazur/WireImage/Getty Images

Jennifer Lawrence and Anna Kendrick could duke it out for America's Most Winsome Sweetheart, while Matthew McConaughey and Joseph Gordon-Levitt could enjoy an Angelic reunion

In the wee hours of Monday morning, Academy Awards producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan announced the 46 presenters for the 86th Academy Awards, which will be hosted by Ellen DeGeneres on Sunday. As ever, there’s a solid slate of silver screen royalty (Robert De Niro, Glenn Close, Kevin Spacey), up-and-coming stars (Michael B. Jordan, Emma Watson, Andrew Garfield) and previous year’s winners (Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway).

Often, the presenters are paired with someone with whom they’re about to share the screen, or a peer with similar gravitas. Or, in the case of the previous year’s winners, they present alone. That said, it would be more fun to pair some of these stars up in a less predictable fashion.

A few ideas:

Daniel Day-Lewis and Tyler Perry

Daniel Day-Lewis is a three-time Oscar-winning actor who is universally lauded for his willingness to throw himself into a role. By nearly all accounts, he is the finest actor of his generation. Tyler Perry is a prolific writer, actor, director and producer best known for his numerous performances as Madea, a 78-year-old woman. If Day-Lewis is looking for a real challenge, he could take a stab at taking the Madea role from Perry — as the 11-time Razzie nominee looks to tackle more serious parts.

Jennifer Lawrence and Anna Kendrick

The competition for America’s Most Winsome Sweetheart has been fierce, but it’s time to crown a winner. Do you go for the wildly talented, Oscar-winning, Letterman-charming, self-deprecating Hunger Games starlet or the wildly talented, Oscar-nominated, social media-winning, “When I’m Gone”-reviving Pitch Perfect thesp? There’s really no wrong answer here — though there’s a chance we may be seeing a bit less of J-Law in the next couple of years.

Harrison Ford and Anne Hathaway

Think James Franco let Hathaway down by not embracing their 2011 Oscar hosting gig with gusto and enthusiasm? Ford would make Franco look like, well, Anne Hathaway. And that’s saying something.

Matthew McConaughey and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

There are plenty of people on this list that McConaughey could be paired with, mostly because he’s Matthew McConaughey. But no introduction could top this one: “And now, here to present the award for Best Sound Editing are the fourth and ninth male leads of Angels in the Outfield, respectively, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Matthew McConaughey!” (Sidenote: the 1994 baseball classic is basically a who’s who of past and future stars — JGL, McConaughey, Danny Glover, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd, Neal McDonough, Dermot Mulroney and Adrien Brody.)

Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta

So there’s this movie called Pulp Fiction

Zac Efron and Sidney Poitier

One of the most respected actors in the history of film on stage with the star of High School Musical (and High School Musical 2) should manage to get a giggle or two out of the stuffy crowd at the Dolby Theater — or at the very least, viewers at home.

Feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments below — the possibilities are endless.

TIME movies

What Makes An Oscar Winner

Is it survival, honor or a punch in the face? A break down of all Best Picture winners since 1970 into their most common themes. See how this year's contenders stack up

Best Picture winners at the Academy Awards stick to a well-thumbed manual. It’s a pantheon crowded with mafia bosses, adultery, flashbacks, fist fights and dream sequences, not to mention a miles-long parade of naked bodies.

This chart uses IMDB keywords and original research to chart 30 of the most common themes, characters, locations and patterns from every winner back to 1970. See how the nine movies up for this year’s nod compare to past Hollywood royalty. Click the labels to reorder the boxes.

While packing a movie full of popular keywords doesn’t make you a winner—otherwise, The Wolf of Wall Street would be the runaway favorite—there are some lessons to be learned. Many past winners have laid off the opening credits, and nearly twice as many winners featured naked women rather over naked men. Houses of God also show up twice as often as nightclubs. With all the violence and infidelity going on here, that might be a good thing.

TIME movies

Here’s What the Gravity Trailer Would Look Like If It Were Actually Honest

Spoiler alert, but also LOL alert.

Just in time for the Oscars, the ever-observant Screen Junkies have brought us a new “Honest Trailer” — this time for Best Picture contender Gravity.

Basically, they pinpoint just about every criticism you probably had while watching the film — or the criticisms you didn’t realize you had until now. For example: Sandra Bullock’s character appears to have had little to no astronaut training, the film is essentially an hour and a half of people bumping into things and trying to grab things, and watching it on anything other than an IMAX screen will be wildly disappointing.

If you haven’t seen Gravity, be warned that this does contain some major spoilers. But it also might convince you not to see Gravity at all, in which case, spoilers are irrelevant.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser