Choosing An Oscar Nominee

The complicated and long-drawn process to shortlist Oscar nominees involves more than 8000 voting members along with the actors, actresses, directors and other professionals in the moviemaking business.

An accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers is assigned the duty to mail out the ballots and tabulate the votes, a process that takes a total of 1700 hours.

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To become a voting member for The Academy, one has to ‘have a distinction in the motion picture arts and sciences’ in their chosen field of work, and also fulfil certain quantitative criteria. Wannabe Academy members can also choose two sponsors to refer them to the Academy committee, who can then take a call.

The members can only belong to one field, say a producer, director or actor, and not multiple branches.

A movie producer/distributor has to submit a form in early December, with the content meeting certain criteria: length is at least 40 minutes, theatre screening is done for at least seven days, and is not being premiered on television.

Once the ballots are sent out, the voting members can pick whatever they want, and then once the voted ballots are sent back, PricewaterhouseCoopers starts the number crunching.

  • The counting is still done by hand, filling up the nominations as a certain threshold of votes is reached for each nominee.
  • The counting process is repeated based on the voter’s second choices until five nominees are reached.
  • The Best Picture category can have up to ten nominees, but not less than five.
  • Once the nominees are decided, the winner is voted by the whole Academy, with each member getting one vote.
  • The process of deciding the winner takes about three days.

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