The final ballots for the Oscar voting were mailed 2 weeks ago and in less than a week, the final voting for the awards will be closed, and the winners will be determined. But have you ever wondered how these winners are determined? I (obviously, hence this post) have, so I set out to do some digging into the who and what of the nomiantion and voting process!
But first, some background! The Academy Awards are presented by the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences, the organization made up by over 6,000 “motion picture professionals.” These professionals are divided up into 15 different branches based on what area of film they contribute to. There’s an actor’s branch (which is the largest, at around 1,183 members), a director’s branch, a producer’s branch, a music branch, editing branch, sound branch and even a branch for makeup artists and hairstylists (which is also the smallest, with 118 members). Each member of the academy must be invited in, and can only belong to one branch.
So on to the awards themselves! The process begins when nomination ballots are mailed to Academy members in late December, along with a Reminder List of Eligible Releases (all films with a commercial release in Los Angeles county in 2010). For most categories, voters only vote for their own category (ie, actors nominate the acting nominees, directors nominate directors). The exceptions to this rule are the categories for Foreign Film, Documentary and Animated Feature Film, and of course, Best Picture. For the former three categories, special screening committees are made up of voters across all branches, and for best picture, all academy members are welcome to nominate and vote for their pick.
Following the announcement of the nominees at the end of January, final ballots were mailed on February 2nd, and are due back to PriceaterhouseCoopers (the Academy’s accounting firm) this year on February 22nd. Then, the accountants tabulate the votes and seal the envelopes with the winners’ names, not to be revealed until the live telecast on the 27th! Now, only 11 days to go until the winners are shared with the world!
I’ll be posting my official ballot and predictions later this week, along with a fun giveaway, so check back later!