Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Academy Changes Best Picture Voting Rules

by Anne Thompson
August 31, 2009 9:34 AM
8 Comments
  • |
Thompson on Hollywood


In his new The Wrap Oscar column "The Odds," Steve Pond reveals new voting rules to accompany the top ten best picture Oscar contenders. The goal, says Academy executive director Bruce Davis, is to eliminate the possibility that one of the films could win with less than 18% of the vote. This seems like a reasonable--if arcane--solution. And one that will change the way Oscar campaigners have sought to persuade voters to choose their number one favorite. That's less important now. The top five favorites will now become key.

Pond explains:

Instead of just voting for one nominee, the way Academy members have always done on the final ballot, voters will be asked to rank all 10 nominees in order of preference -- and the results will be tallied using the complicated preferential system, which has been used for decades during the nominating process but never, until now, on the final ballot.

As a result, a film could be the first choice of the largest number of voters, but find itself nudged out of the top prize by another movie that got fewer number one votes but more twos and threes.

It sounds crazy, but there’s good reason to make the change at a time when dividing the vote among an expanded slate of 10 nominees could otherwise allow a film to win with fewer than 1,000 votes (out of the nearly 6,000 voting members).

  • |

More: Awards, Oscars

8 Comments

  • Jeanne Gallagher | September 2, 2009 1:10 AMReply

    I have been a movie buff for nearly 70 years. Overtime there have been many good and very bad films. I don't pretend to know the machinations of the Committee, but whatever they are, it is my hope that the process is as fair as possible. To have 10 to choose from broadens the field, however I think dilutes the goal with this type of "calibrating" system.
    Good night and good luck, as ER Murrow would say......

  • JF | September 1, 2009 10:53 AMReply

    Melissa, that's a bet I'll take you up on. Basterds as top film of the year? It will be enough to get Christoph Waltz's name in the nominations.

    And ranking systems such as this S_U_C_K. If you folks can't pick a 'best' out of 5, don't make it a lame-butt weighted system out of 10.

    Sigh.

  • Good Idea | September 1, 2009 7:08 AMReply

    This is probably a good idea to prevent gaming of the system by one studio over another, or over an independent film, or between branches of the Academy that have so many members as to "tip" the balance too far one way or the other. It's confusing, but something had to be done to prevent Tranformers from sweeping! ; )

    BTW, Basterds probably has a shot at one of the 10, but its probably not even the best war film in the arena, so I doubt it can win. It might get a best supporting actor nod though and maybe cinematogaphy (beautiful and lush!). But the Cannes screening was such a trainwreck, it's hard to agree with a "do over" even if the film is one minute shorter now with the new editing. Oh wait, it's not. It's one minute longer! (huh?)

  • jl | September 1, 2009 4:59 AMReply

    This reminds me of the BCS ... this is going to result in a trainwreck, just about as bad as another overrated Slumdog winning ...

  • Brian | September 1, 2009 4:55 AMReply

    Will they change the rules so CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA can get a Best Foreign Film nomination?

  • Melissa | August 31, 2009 12:05 PMReply

    Are you kidding me? Inglourious Basterds was the best film of the /decade/ so far. No way its walking out of the Oscars without the Best Picture title.

  • david | August 31, 2009 10:30 AMReply

    The suspense is over. Time Travelers Wife is the winner.

  • Griff | August 31, 2009 10:19 AMReply

    Yep. It sounds crazy.

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

Email Updates

Most "Liked"

  • Ron Howard Rocks Beatles Concert Tour ...
  • Trailers from Hell Spends 'A Night at ...
  • WATCH: Knightley, Rockwell and Moretz ...
  • WATCH: Academy Videos of 'Originals’ ...
  • Read an Interview Between Richard Linklater ...
  • First Reviews of Woody Allen's 'Magic ...
  • Best of the Week: Peter Biskind's New ...
  • Summer Box Office Freefall Continues ...
  • Academy Elects New Board of Governors: ...
  • Will Mark Romanek Follow Kubrick Into ...