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:
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)
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