And the winner is …

posted at 6:22 pm on February 21, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The Academy Awards will air tomorrow, and the nominees wait on pins and needles to see whether they will get an opportunity to make really stupid political speeches or will have to smile while someone else gets the opportunity.  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences treats the vote very seriously; supposedly no one knows the actual results except two partners at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that handles the ballots for AMPAS.

However, one radio station has published what it purports (or at least suggests) is an internal memo from AMPAS President Sid Ganis to fellow AMPAS officers listing the winners in advance, sent to me by HA reader Gregory H.  WBAL (Maryland) host Shari Elliker has a scan of the purported memo on the site, with this description:

Is it a hoax? Is it for real? Match the winners to your projections and see if this list is accurate on Sunday night’s ceremony.

WARNING: these are spoilers and may or may not be true, WBAL takes no responsibility for incorrect predictions.

It’s almost certainly a hoax.  The AMPAS rules are almost ubiquitous, parodied for years by Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show for his Carnac skits:

Final ballots will be mailed January 28 and members will have 20 days to return them. After ballots are tabulated, only two partners of the accounting firm will know the results until the famous envelopes are opened on stage during the Academy Awards presentation at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center® on February 22.

Sid Ganis wouldn’t have access to the winners, under those conditions.  The memo itself also looks a little suspicious, with a cheap-looking letterhead and no footer as one would normally see on first-class corporate stationery.  It’s not impossible that it’s AMPAS letterhead, but it’s very unlikely.  It does have the correct number of categories (24) and realistic winners, but it’s not that hard for someone to build a list from the media reports and simply guess the winners.

Most damning, WBAL never mentions how it received the memo.  It’s the TANG memos all over again.  Did Lucy Ramirez send it to them?

My verdict: mediocre hoax.  I’m not going to mention who wins in the memo; if you’re interested, check the link.

Update: Not many people here care who wins an Oscar, but my point is more that WBAL should have refrained from posting the memo without checking it out a little better.

Update II: If you haven’t seen any of the nominated films, Chad Vader re-enacts them for you:

Yeah, I haven’t seen The Reader, either.


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