Who votes at the Oscars and how do they do it?

By now, the American Film Academy may seem like a monolith ready to pass judgment on the best films of the year. But before reaching this point, who is behind the voting? Here is a guide on the people and processes that determine the nominations and the winners of each category.

Who votes for the Oscars?

The Oscars are voted on by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a huge group of industry professionals with more than 10,000 members, nearly 9,500 of whom have voting rights. This supposes a nearly 65% ​​increase in voting members over does a decadethanks in part to the Academy’s efforts to invite more women, people of color, and filmmakers from around the world to be a part of it.

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Who are the members of the Academy?

If someone has been nominated for an Oscar before, they are almost certainly part of the Academy as well.. However, there are those who have declined the invitation, such as ryan coogler Director of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, who this year is nominated for his participation in the composition of the original song lift me up. The Academy describes its voting groups as “limited to motion picture artists working in the production of films released theatrically” and divides its members into 17 distinct branches.

What are the branches?

In principle, if there is a category in the Oscars, there is a branch that accompanies it — yes, with some exceptions. In addition to Oscar voters with well-known categories, such as cinematographers or directors, there are also specific branches for casting directors, executives, producers, and marketing and public relations, bringing the total to 17 branches. To this we must add the independent members that do not fit into an existing branch. The categories of interpretation are part of the most numerous branchBy far: it has more than 1,300 members.

How to become a member?

To become a member of the Academy, Candidates must be sponsored by two members of the same branch of the Academy to which they aspire to access. Some of the 397 guests this year are winners like Ariana DeBose and billie eilish, nominated as Jessie Buckley and Ryusuke Hamaguchi, and even professionals who have had their backs turned, such as Caitriona Balfe and Reinaldo Marcus Green. If, as in the case of Hamaguchi, the author of drive my cara guest belongs to several branches, they must opt ​​for one, since the Academy only allows belonging to one.

Why campaign to compete for the Oscars?

Each year, the Academy publishes a complete list of Oscar-eligible feature films. In 2022 there were 301. Campaigns strive to ensure that not even a much-loved film is lost among so many options. After all, Even though Academy members make movies, that doesn’t mean they watch as many movies as the average moviegoer.. Precisely for this reason, movie studios can spend a lot of money on campaigns in order to get noticed.

Are there rules for campaigns? Broke any ‘To Leslie’?

The Academy has extensive guidelines on the dos and don’ts of rallying support for a film and its creators. In general, events must focus on showing the film in question and cannot directly contact voters or mention the competition. the campaign of To Leslie had at least one event unrelated to the screening (where attendees were invited after seeing the movie on their own), but the Academy did not rule that there was any infraction worthy of withdrawing her nomination for best actress to Andrea Riseborough. However, the Academy alluded to certain “social media campaign tactics and outreach that caused concern,” perhaps referring to at least one Academy member, who supported Riseborough on his social media while also citing others. candidate actresses. According to the Academy, “these tactics are being addressed directly with the responsible parties,” but neither the membership nor voting privileges of the individuals in question have been revoked.

Can a nomination be annulled?

Yeah. There are recent precedents for nominations being annulled after committing violations of the campaign regulations, as in the case of the nomination for the best original song of Alone Yet Not Alone, which was revoked after its author (a member of the executive committee of the music branch) directly informed other members of his branch of his candidacy. Another famous case is that of The Godfatherwhose nomination for Best Original Score was rescinded after it was determined that the soundtrack contained parts of an earlier composition.

How are the nominees chosen?

Each member votes solely on their branch categories at the nomination stage, along with their Best Picture nominations. In the case of the branches that do not have their own category, the members of the Academy only vote for the best film. Some branches have a first round of voting in which the candidacies are reduced to shortlists, such as the two categories of music, sound, visual effects and makeup and hairstyling. The categories of international feature films, documentaries and short films also reach its final list of nominees through this type of process.

How are you nominated in the international short and feature film categories?

Only one film can be submitted to the International Feature Film category per country. The Academy currently allows members of all branches to vote in this category, but in the past it has resorted to multiple committees, with highly controversial results. Participants must view a percentage of the submitted movies and submit a score for each movie they watch. Those scores determine the movies that make the shortlist. Those Academy members who have seen all of the shortlisted films can vote for the final nominees..

Short films are chosen through a similar process, in which the scores of volunteer members lead to shortlists, and animated and documentary shorts can only be voted on in their respective branches. Live-action shorts are also voted on by members of the directing, screenwriting, and producing branches. The preferential voting system determines the final nominees from each of these shortlists.

What are preferential votes?

Once the nominees have been selected, only the preferential voting system is applied to the best film category, but it greatly influences the choice of the most important award of the evening. For it, voters are asked to rank the nominated films from highest to lowest preference. If a film gets more than 50% of the votes (very unlikely), it automatically wins the award for best film. From there, the film that receives the fewest votes redistributes its ballots among the second most voted film of the members who had placed it at number one. This process continues, thus weeding out the lowest voters and redistributing, as necessary, to third and fourth favorites, until a film passes the 50% threshold. The objective is to reward the favorite film by consensusor at least the one that an approximate majority of the members of the Academy would consider their favorite.

How are the other winners chosen?

One vote is cast per category. Long live simplicity!

Are Academy voters required to see all of the nominated films in order to vote?

No but in some categories they are required to have seen all the nominees in order to vote for them, as in the case of international short films and feature films. Please, a round of applause for the hypothetical member of the Academy who has seen not only all the nominees in his category, but also enough international shorts and features to participate in all the categories in which he could in this labyrinthine voting system.

What categories will appear on the Oscars broadcast?

Following widespread outcry from Oscar fans and industry insiders over the announcement of eight categories ahead of last year’s ceremony, the Academy has determined that all categories will be presented live again during the ceremony. However, for the moment it still does not include the honorary Oscars in the broadcast again. This year they have been awarded to Euzhan Palcy, Peter Weir, Michael J. Fox and Diane Warren. So whatever the controversy that occurs this year on Oscar night, at least we can be glad that the awards for these categories are broadcast again.

Original article published by Vanity Fair USA and translated and adapted by Darío Gael Blanco. Access the original here.

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