Monday, February 20, 2012
Keeping Hollywood's Biggest Secret
Rick Rosas at the Academy Awards
Rick Rosas, left, and Brad Oltmanns with Oscar®
|Story Keywords: 360, Alumni Association, Business Administration, University Relations and Development, Alumni, College Area, Community, Faculty, Staff, Students, Accounting, Leadership Starts Here, People, Television and Film|
You might call Rick Rosas, ’87, the soul of discretion.
The secret he guards is the subject of intense media speculation and millions of animated conversations in American homes and workplaces.
Yes, Rosas knows—before almost anyone else—who is going to take home the Oscars.®
Every year at about this time he delivers “the envelope please” to celebrity presenters at the annual Academy Awards telecast.
In the days before the televised event, Rosas and five other certified public accountants at PwC tabulate the votes of the Academy’s 6,000 members in 19 different categories of acting and film production.
But only Rosas and his colleague, Brad Oltmanns, represent PwC on the big night. They arrive at the Kodak Theatre separately, each escorted by members of the LAPD, and each carrying a complete set of envelopes with the winners’ names.
“As much fun as it is to be in the green room with the stars, we work hard,” said Rosas. “PwC has never made a mistake in all the 78 years it has served the Academy. But when it’s over, I get to take my wife to the biggest party in Hollywood.”
How did Rosas land such an enviable position? It was “a classic case of right place, right time,” he said.
He joined PwC (legacy name PricewaterhouseCoopers) in 1996, taking on numerous clients in the motion picture and television industries. Based on that work, Rosas was tapped in 2001 to become only the 11th partner in PwC history to oversee the Academy Awards balloting.
The annual contest unfolds in several stages. Members from each of the branches vote to determine the nominees in their respective categories—actors nominate actors, film editors nominate film editors. All voting members are eligible to select the best picture nominees.
After nominations are announced, each member is eligible to select Oscar® winners in every category. Votes are due to PwC on the Tuesday before the awards presentation.
“We’ve had a number of contests coming down to a handful of votes,” Rosas said, though he won’t disclose which ones. “Every vote counts and we count each and every one by hand.”
Rosas is a “huge film fan,” but never imagined as an SDSU student that he would one day be rubbing elbows with the stars. “At SDSU, I loved history, political science and literature. When I was finally forced to declare a major, I chose accounting because I thought I could get a job with the FBI.”
Instead, he works in Hollywood and once a year, gets to walk the red carpet alongside Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. “It’s an honor,” he said, “and I’m never disappointed with the winners.”