Tag Archives: Oscars

How many people know the Oscar winners before the ceremony?

27 Feb

I love watching the Oscars. But I love watching the pre-ceremony arrivals even more. There’s just something so breathtaking about some of the beautiful gowns that waft down the red carpet. Like the gorgeous sparkly creations worn by Octavia Spencer (pictured) and Milla Jovovich today.

Then you get to the frock shockers, and I must confess this is actually my favourite bit. I mean these women have millions of dollars and access to the best stylists and designers and they STILL manage to get it so wrong. They’re almost begging for a public backhanding.

But while I unleashed my claws on Facebook earlier, I feel obliged to hold my tongue here, since I’m a big believer in karma. But let’s just say my least favourite gowns were all well acquainted with the category of Best Actress.

Anyway, on to the awards themselves, and I’ve always wondered if the winners’ names are really kept secret before those envelopes are opened. And the answer is, yes. Very much so! In fact only two people know their identities in advance.

They are non-household names Rick Rosas and Brad Oltmanns, who are accountants with Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the firm which has long been entrusted with counting the thousands of ballots lodged in 24 categories.

Among the measures they take to ensure absolute confidentiality are to count each ballot by hand, and in utter secrecy. As Oltmanns further reveals on the PWC website: “All of the counting is done in a secure, private, undisclosed location. No computers in the room and phones aren’t used. We are sequestered, just counting the results.”

Once they’re in, the names are kept locked up in a vault. Then, on the big day, the two men attend the show separately, travelling by secret routes and accompanied by police officers. They each carry a briefcase containing an identical set of winners envelopes and stand backstage during the entire ceremony, handing each envelope to the presenters as they walk onstage.

Here’s some other crunched numbers about PWC’s 78 years of Oscar balloting.

* 450,000-plus – the rough number of ballots counted.
* 2600-plus – the number of winners’ envelopes stuffed since the envelope system was introduced in 1941.
* 1700 – the approximate number of “person-hours” it takes each year to count and verify the ballots.
• 7 – the number of days it takes to count the ballots for nominations.
* 3 – the number of days it takes to count the final ballots.

And OK, you partly got me, I’ll come clean on my trio of worst ever Oscar frocks (Cher is ineligible as she gets a category of her own.) 3. Uma Thurman’s milkmaid. 2. Celine Dion’s back to front shiny white pantsuit. 1. Gywneth Paltrow for that black goth ensemble a few years back. But since she looked hotter than hot tonight, I think we can agree she’s more than made up for it.

Check out the red-carpet action here.

How do you make mango daiquiri jelly shots?

7 Feb

I don’t know Kylie Banning from a bar of soap. But I suspect she could well be my new BFF. And it’s all because of those three (OK four) little words I’ve been waiting to hear my whole life – “mango daiquiri jelly shots”.

Now, my love affair with the humble shot goes back a very long way, and was crystallised on the night I hired out a hotel suite to host an Oscars viewing party. I made what seemed like about 100 vodka jelly shots and by conservative estimates had at least 91 of them myself.


Ever since then they have been a bit of a party staple, even as my repertoire has expanded to include creamy concoctions that tell of carnal pleasures with cowboys. But they do say variety is the spice of life, and with the Oscars fast approaching, I needed fresh inspiration.

Enter one very smart cookie called Sam, who brought forth her  copy of Kylie’s book “Legless, desserts to get you in the spirit” which, as the name suggests, offers up alcoholic recipes for everything from fondues to pudding.

Again, I must say, they all sound delicious. But in truth I was only interested in one section – the vodka jelly shots. And who would have thought you could be so creative with ingredients such as vanilla and blackberry mousse, honey, vanilla and cinnamon?

I felt duty bound to do some thorough ‘research’. But as predicted there was only one clear winner – and here’s a recipe I’m sure she won’t mind me sharing . . .

Mango Daiquiri Jelly Shots

1 packet mango jelly crystals
300ml boiling water
1 mango, pureed
90ml Bacardi
60ml Cointreau

Dissolve jelly crystals in boiling water. Pour into blender with pureed mango, blend, then add alcohol and blend again. Pour into shot glasses and refrigerate to set, preferably overnight.

You can read more about the book here. But in the meantime, happy shooting!