If you're like us, you stayed up to watch every minute of last night's Oscars (hooray for Kathryn Bigelow!). At the end of the show, we listened carefully as an announcer described how the results were tabulated -- but we wanted more. Turns out, the only people who knew the total results before the Awards were accountants at PricewaterhouseCoopers -- the firm that's been tabulating the winners for 76 years.
Nomination ballots were mailed to 5,800 voting members of the Academy at the end of December 2009. Votes were due on Jan. 23. Nominees were announced on Feb. 2, and final ballots were due by March 2 (so all of that late backlash for "The Hurt Locker" was for naught).
The ballots were delivered to PwC and the balloting leaders manually tallied up the results. Not only are two sets of envelopes brought to the ceremony via secret entrance routes (sound like a Matt Damon movie yet?), but the ballot leaders are also required to memorize the names of the winners.
Some fun statistics:
-- 450,000 ballots have been counted by PwC over the past 76 years
-- It takes 1,700 hours to count and verify the ballots
-- It takes seven days to count the ballots for nominations
-- It takes three days to count the final ballots
If you didn't get a chance to watch last night, find out the winners here.
Write to Julie Steinberg