With the Oscars already here, the big question isn’t just who the winners will be. Doubts also arise about the mechanism that makes it possible to select the names that will go down in the history of cinema. Who are the voters who choose the big winners of the evening? How are the productions that will be part of the shortlists of nominees evaluated?
It’s not a simple question. The Oscars – both the ceremony and the awards results – they are a way of understanding the film industry. Its functioning, financing and promotion mechanisms. Also how the public, critics and press influence the selection. The prizes, in addition to rewarding the work of the actors and production teams, are also indications of the cultural movements surrounding the cinema. A precise reflection to explore how the cinematic world reflects what happens beyond the rooms.
Especially over the past decade. As the Oscars have lost in viewership and prominence, the big question is whether the ceremony can survive a new kind of social conversation. So this year – with a new category chosen via social networks – and a shorter program, the Oscar is reinventing itself. We tell you everything you need to know about the structure behind cinema’s most important award. Or in other words, how do you vote at the Oscars?
Who are the Oscar voters?
The people responsible for deciding the nominees for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards are industry professionals. The vast majority, with jobs and direct connections to the most powerful points of the mecca of cinema. The members of the various guilds and unions attached to the Academy total about 10,000 artists. Of these, about 9,500 can vote.
This year, and thanks to various changes to the Academy’s regulations in favor of inclusion, we note an increase of nearly 65% in the number of members. Too, great diversity among those who have the right to vote. The Academy has invited artists and professionals from different countries, as well as women and people of different races to strengthen the democratization of the prize.
But who really are the members of the Academy?
Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood include a good representation of the industry. From Oscar winners in all categories, to members of associations, unions and guilds.
In fact, if you take a look at the institution’s website, you’ll find that members they have one thing in common. As it reads, membership and participation is “limited to film artists working in the production of theatrically released films”.
How are the voting members of the Academy distributed?
According to the Academy’s website, there are 17 branches. which cover most industry parameters. Thus, the categories of members range from experts in cinematography, directors, casting directors, to executives of different specialties. This includes journalists, special effects, producers, marketing, public relations and also, the entire network of corporations linked to the cinema profession. The largest and most voted branch is the interim branch, which currently has over 1,300 members.
It is an exclusive circle, although not exclusive. To enter the Academy, the candidate must prove that he is directly linked to the world of cinema. In addition, at least two active members must be sponsored or recommended. This ensures that the votes and any decision are made for the benefit of cinema as art and financial production.
What is the process to be nominated for an Oscar?
In reality, the Academy only collects the data it has. Which means that members will nominate the films, actors and professionals they know. Or more precisely: who managed to show their kindness to the guilds. It seems obvious, but it translates in more or less complicated ways. Each year, the Oscars collect information to release a preliminary list of films that may be eligible for the Oscar. The number varies and depends on the ability of production companies and studios to attract the attention of voting members. Once they do, it is checked that the films meet the requirements (shooting year, projection) and the list is displayed as a preliminary analysis.
How are Oscar nominees selected?
Member votes have a single value, which means that no member has a higher or lower value. But they can only vote in their respective branches. This is why each category is the opinion of the professionals of the cinematic aspect that is evaluated. This is what causes phenomena like the one that happened this year when dunes is nominated for Best Picture, but not Best Director. Practically, each of the members of the guilds and branches analyzes the film in a completely different way.
The only category in which all members vote is that of best film. This includes each of the branches and even the so-called branches. That is, members who do not belong to a specific branch. In the case of non-English language feature films, documentaries and short films, there is also a wide vote.
In the latter case, the Academy must make it easier for as many members as possible to see the films on the general list. This selection is made up of the main options. Thereafter, each production will be noted, which will make it possible to obtain a short list. And finally, a new round will allow the vote which will show the final result.
How is the winner of the best film chosen?
This is done through the so-called “preferential voting”, which shows the options after sampling the shortlist. Members should rank Oscar-nominated films from first to least preference. In other words, their favorite film and the one they certainly do not consider worthy of this award.If 50% of the votes are not reached, the least voted option is discarded.. And this will be done as many times as necessary until a majority of votes is obtained.
On the contrary, the other categories are chosen by nominal and unique vote. If there are two candidates with identical results, the vote will be repeated until a majority is obtained, even by one vote.
And how does #OscarsFanFavorite work?
If you wanted to participate – voting ended on March 1, so you should already consider this for the 2023 Oscars – you just had to follow the Academy to Twitter and vote for your favorite movie. Of course, in addition to including the #OscarsFanFavorite HT.