Board members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were furious over the Oscar news leak by the Los Angeles Times.
By custom, the academy had shared the names of Oscar winners with the media in advance of the Academy Awards ceremony. This gave newspapers time to prepare announcements of the winners for next-day editions. In return for this courtesy, members of the media promised not to print or broadcast the news before the ceremony.
The Los Angeles Times broke its promise. The newspaper printed the names of the winners and splashed Gone With the Wind in banner headlines across the front page of its February 29, 1940 edition. Everyone arriving for the Academy Awards banquet that evening knew who would be picking up Oscars (e.g., Vivien Leigh, Hattie McDaniel, David O. Selznick, etc.) and who would be going home empty handed (e.g., Clark Gable, Max Steiner, Jack Cosgrove, etc.).
This breach prompted the academy to initiate a protocol for future award presentations. Since then, the names of the winners have been sealed in envelopes by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a multinational professional services firm that oversees the tabulation of the voting results. This ensures that the results are, indeed, kept secret until the presenter says “And the Oscar goes to…”
Happy 75th Anniversary, Gone With the Wind!
Special 75th Anniversary Offer for Gone With the Wind fans: free personally inscribed, autographed bookplate for readers of The Complete GONE WITH THE WIND Trivia Book. Details here: http://paulinebartel.com/blog/?p=1793
Blog Bio: Pauline Bartel is the author of The Complete GONE WITH THE WIND Trivia Book (2nd edition) and an expert on the film and its history. Visit the website (www.paulinebartel.com/resources/books/books-available) for further information. Follow her on Twitter @PaulineBartel and “like” her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TheCompleteGWTWTriviaBook).