During a festive ceremony, the Oscar nominees are listed one by one and an envelope is opened revealing the names of the winners and runners-up in each category. But who chooses these names?
Encyclopedia Britannica explains that voting for Oscar winners is the job of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which has a special governing body, 17 separate chapters, and detailed rules on membership eligibility and voting processes.
Eligibility Criteria for Oscar Academy
Since 2016 when the Board of Directors announced the diversification of its membership, the Academy’s membership has grown to approximately 8,000 members. The names of all these members are not published, but each spring it publishes a list of those it has invited to join its ranks.
The academy also publishes the names of the members of its current board of directors, which includes elected representatives from 17 branches. These branches represent various fields of cinema: acting, directing, writing, sound and others.
The names of all the members have not been released
As of 2019, the Academy’s website lists cinematographer John Bailey as chairman of the board, senior vice president as makeup artist Lois Burwell, and its members include actors Laura Dern, Whoopi Goldberg and Alfred Molina.
One must work in the film industry to join the organization, which means that people who work exclusively in television or members of the press cannot join.
Due to the Academy’s strict requirements, the names of many Oscar nominees and winners such as Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks are expected to be included.
Criteria for nomination and Oscar award
The Britannica voting process goes through two stages: the first is to name the Oscar nominees, and the second is to vote for the winners.
In the first phase, members will receive a list of eligible films. The film must be a motion picture and must have been shown at public expense for at least one week in a Los Angeles County commercial theater between January 1 and December 31 of the award year.
Documentaries and foreign films have their own eligibility requirements. Members can only nominate for awards in their branch and best film category.
Votes are ambiguously marked
Each Academy member selects five nominees for each category and shortlists them in order of preference.
To determine the nominees in each category, the votes are tallied by certified public accountants from a firm appointed by the Academy president in what may seem like a sacred ritual to outsiders.
To ensure that candidates receive broad support rather than general support, the Academy uses a system of “preferential voting” that involves multiple rounds and a “magic” number in which a candidate must receive a predetermined number of votes. A candidate.
A few weeks after the candidates are announced in January, the second phase of voting begins. For the final vote, all Academy members are allowed to vote in any category, but are not encouraged to vote in categories with no experience.
New members of the Academy are eligible for membership of the Academy for a period of 10 years. During a decade of membership, they must be active in the film industry, so their membership is automatically renewed for another 10 years, and after three terms they become lifetime members of the Academy.
The accountants reorder the votes, using a preference system to determine the winner for Best Picture and the public vote for all other categories.
The accountants stash the bags in an inconspicuous place outside until the day of the party
After all the voting and counting, the winners are finally decided, but no one tells them. Only two accountants see the final results and are responsible for keeping these results confidential until the award ceremony.
Accountants memorize the names of the winners, bring two sets of envelopes, and stack two bags in an undisclosed location until the day of the ceremony.
On the night of the ceremony, neither Academy members nor awards ceremony producers know who will receive an Oscar, and the winner’s name remains a mystery until the live broadcast.
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