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The Broadsheet: February 27th

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Valentina (@valzarya) here. Viola Davis makes history, Barbara Bush announces a controversial speaking gig, and Google bots are taking on online trolls. Have a lovely Monday.


 Behind the chaos at the Oscars. The big story from Sunday night’s Academy Awards is, of course, the best picture mix-up. Presenter Warren Beatty mistakenly announced that La La Land had won the award, but it was later revealed that Moonlight was the actual the winner—and that Beatty had been handed the wrong envelope. When accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers issued a statement after the fiasco taking credit for the error, onlookers wondered what the accounting firm has to do with anything.

As it happens, PwC has been counting ballots for the Academy Awards for the past 83 years. The firm’s Oscars balloting team is solely responsible for both tabulating the votes and ensuring that the right presenters get the right envelopes (and that the envelopes contain the correct names). I spoke to Martha Ruiz, co-head of PwC’s Oscars balloting team, in advance of the awards show. Ruiz explained that the process of counting votes and stuffing envelopes is remarkably manual: She and the team’s co-head, Brian Cullinan, count every single ballot by hand. The two also stand backstage and hand out the envelopes containing the winning names to each presenter. “Until the presenters open up the envelope on stage and announce [the winner], not even they know who wins,” she told Fortune. “It’s only the two of us.”

Luckily, she and Cullinan also go through the trouble of committing all the names to memory. This doubles as an insurance policy in case the awards presenters call out the wrong name—which, as we saw on Sunday night, is a distinct possibility.


 Viola makes herstory. Seven female nominees had the chance to make history Sunday night, but in the end, only one did: Viola Davis. She won the award for best supporting actress for her performance in Fences, making her the first black person to achieve acting’s Triple Crown—winning a Tony, an Emmy, and an Oscar. Fortune

 A controversial keynote. Barbara Bush, CEO and co-founder of Global Health Corps and the daughter of former President George W. Bush, will be the keynote speaker at a major Planned Parenthood fundraiser. The Wednesday event seeks to raise money for the non-profit, which provides reproductive and sexual health care services—including abortion. Bush’s father was an opponent of abortion during his time in office. Fortune

 She vs. herself. Years of research suggest that men are more competitive than women. Yet this understanding of competitiveness is limited to competition between individuals. A new study finds that when competing against themselves, women are just as likely as men to choose to compete. The difference, say the researchers, is confidence: When competing against others, women are less sure about whether they can actually win the competition—even when their ability tells us that they are very likely to do so. New York Times

Sexism in the space sector. Last week, the House Science, Space and Technology committee invited witnesses from NASA’s past to discuss the agency’s future endeavors, including a human mission to Mars, a possible return to the moon, and the commercial space sector. Ellen Stofan was the only woman to testify at the hearing—and the only person left out of the official tweets (and photo!) from the event.  The Atlantic

 Bots take on trolls. Last week, Google subsidiary Jigsaw launched Perspective, a public API that uses artificial intelligence to automatically flag online speech that it deems “toxic.” By comparing new comments with a large data set of archived comments that were scored on toxicity by humans, Jigsaw aims to divine when a person’s speech has crossed the line from harsh to hateful. The Ringer


Each week, Fortune asks our Insider Network—an online community of prominent people in business and beyond—for career and leadership advice. Here’s some of the best of what we heard last week.

• Kill ’em with confidence. Hill Holliday COO Leslee Kiley credits her father for knowing how to confidently build a persuasive argument—even with men. The key? Use your emotional intelligence to hit a nerve with the listener.  Fortune

• Why not women? Your business is missing out, especially financially, if you don’t have women leading the way, says Joanna Geraghty, EVP for customer experience at JetBlue and president of the JetBlue Foundation. Even at her own company, she says there are fewer women in senior leadership roles than at the managerial level, something she hopes will change as leaders encourage women to go into STEM early on.  Fortune

• No match for her. Cheri Lytle, head of advisor strategy and development at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, writes that testing a potential new hire to see if she or he really knows what a position entails is essential to determining whether or not they’re the right fit.  Fortune


 Gender-based budgets. The Economist makes a strong case for governments introducing “gender budgeting.” At its core, the publication explains, gender budgeting “sets out to quantify how policies affect women and men differently.” Examples include lowering income tax on second earners to encourage women to join the labor force, or recognizing that cutting costs to domestic violence prevention programs would actually be more expensive in the long run due to medical treatment expenses and lost workdays. The Economist

 She builds it, they come. As the head of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s $18 billion infrastructure portfolio, Cressida Hogg takes direct equity stakes in infrastructure projects around the world, from toll roads in Chicago and Mexico City to a railroad operator in Australia. She talks to Barron’s about how she would approach America’s infrastructure problem. Barron's

The Tubman trail. This New York Times interactive follows the path of Harriet Tubman’s “underground railroad.” While heavy on things to see along the journey (it appears in the Times travel section), the feature is nonetheless a powerful reminder of the sheer bravery and will of the civil rights icon. New York Times

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How do you solve a problem like Ivanka? Politico

July Garland’s unraveling, through the eyes of her husband  New Yorker

When a woman deletes a man’s comment online  The Establishment

How the founder of California Baby took on the skincare industry Fortune


I became an artist, and thank God I did, because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.
Viola Davis, in her speech accepting the award for best supporting actress