PricewaterhouseCoopers US (PwC) partners Brad Oltmanns and Rick
Rosas will be the only people to know the identity of the Oscar
winners before they are revealed at the live telecast on 24
The pair has been chosen as ballot leaders for the Academy Awards,
the 74th year the Big Four firm has managed the balloting process.
Oltmanns has served at PwC for 28 years and is in charge of
managing 1,200 staff in Los Angeles. Rosas has worked at the firm
for 12 years and was appointed tax partner in 2001. This is his
seventh year involved in the balloting process.
The partners will lead a ‘closed-mouth’ group of accountants, who
will count each ballot by hand from a secret location.
Approximately 6,000 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
members are included in the balloting procedure, which takes
approximately 1,700 hours each year.
The academy uses a preferential voting system in the nomination
phase of balloting, which was first adopted in 1936 to ensure that
each voter had an opportunity to influence the results. The system,
originally designed for elections, produces five nominees for each
category. Ballots are mailed to voting members and returned a few
weeks later. The PwC team then determines the nominees and delivers
the results to the academy. After the nominations have been
announced, final voting takes place.
Oltmanns explained: “As a precautionary measure, two complete sets
of envelopes bearing the recipients’ names are prepared. Rick and I
take them to the ceremony via separate, secret routes. As a
secondary precautionary measure, we also memorise the names of the
respective award winners. Identities of Oscar recipients are kept
strictly confidential until they are announced during the live
telecast, during which Rick and I remain backstage and hand the
envelopes to award presenters immediately before they walk
During PwC’s association with the awards, only 12 partners have
been employed to lead the ballot process. Oltmanns, now in his
fourth year of co-leading the balloting process, told TA
there have been some individuals who have tried to scoop some
inside information in the past. “People kid around with us
sometimes, like the time actor Chevy Chase jokingly offered Frank
Johnson, a long-time former PricewaterhouseCoopers partner on the
project, $1,000 for the name of one of the winners. Frank, of
course, declined Chevy’s offer,” he said.
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