Academy Awards | nomination

Nomination

Since 2004, Academy Award nomination results have been announced to the public in mid-January. Prior to that, the results were announced in early February.

Voters

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), a professional honorary organization, maintains a voting membership of over 8,000 as of 2018.[34]

Academy membership is divided into different branches, with each representing a different discipline in film production. Actors constitute the largest voting bloc, numbering 1,311 members (22 percent) of the Academy's composition. Votes have been certified by the auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (and its predecessor Price Waterhouse) for the past 83 annual awards ceremonies. The firm mails the ballots of eligible nominees to members of the Academy in December to reflect the previous eligible year with a due date sometime in January of the next year, then tabulates the votes in a process that takes thousands of hours.[35][36][37]

All AMPAS members must be invited to join by the Board of Governors, on behalf of Academy Branch Executive Committees. Membership eligibility may be achieved by a competitive nomination or a member may submit a name based on other significant contributions to the field of motion pictures.

New membership proposals are considered annually. The Academy does not publicly disclose its membership, although as recently as 2007 press releases have announced the names of those who have been invited to join. The 2007 release also stated that it has just under 6,000 voting members. While the membership had been growing, stricter policies have kept its size steady since then.[38]

In 2012, the results of a study conducted by the Los Angeles Times were published describing the demographic breakdown of approximately 88% of AMPAS' voting membership. Of the 5,100+ active voters confirmed, 94% were Caucasian, 77% were male, and 54% were found to be over the age of 60. 33% of voting members are former nominees (14%) and winners (19%).[39]

In May 2011, the Academy sent a letter advising its 6,000 or so voting members that an online system for Oscar voting would be implemented in 2013.[40]

Rules

According to Rules 2 and 3 of the official Academy Awards Rules, a film must open in the previous calendar year, from midnight at the start of 1 January to midnight at the end of 31 December, in Los Angeles County, California, and play for seven consecutive days, to qualify (except for the Best Foreign Language Film, Best Documentary Feature, and Best Documentary Short Subject).[41][42]

The Best Foreign Language Film award does not require a U.S. release. It requires the film to be submitted as its country's official selection.

The Best Documentary Feature award requires either week-long releases in both Los Angeles County and New York City during the previous calendar year, or a qualifying award at a competitive film festival from the Documentary Feature Qualifying Festival list (regardless of any public exhibition or distribution), or a submission in the Foreign Language Film category as its country’s official selection.[43]

The Best Documentary Short Subject award has noticeably different eligibility rules from most other competitive awards. First, the qualifying period for release does not coincide with a calendar year, instead covering a one-year period starting on 1 September and ending on 31 August of the calendar year before the ceremony. Second, there are multiple methods of qualification. The main method is a week-long theatrical release in either Los Angeles County or New York City during the eligibility period. Films also can qualify by winning specified awards at one of a number of competitive film festivals designated by the Academy. Finally, a film that is selected as a gold, silver, or bronze medal winner in the Documentary category of the immediately previous Student Academy Awards is also eligible.[44]

For example, the 2009 Best Picture winner, The Hurt Locker, was actually first released in 2008, but did not qualify for the 2008 awards as it did not play its Oscar-qualifying run in Los Angeles until mid-2009, thus qualifying for the 2009 awards. Foreign films must include English subtitles, and each country can submit only one film per year.[45]

Rule 2 states that a film must be feature-length, defined as a minimum of 40 minutes, except for short-subject awards, and it must exist either on a 35 mm or 70 mm film print or in 24 frame/s or 48 frame/s progressive scan digital cinema format with a minimum projector resolution of 2048 by 1080 pixels.[46] Effective with the 90th Academy Awards, presented in 2018, multi-part and limited series will be ineligible for the Best Documentary Feature award. This followed the win of O.J.: Made in America, an eight-hour presentation that was screened in a limited release before being broadcast in five parts on ABC and ESPN, in that category in 2017. The Academy's announcement of the new rule made no direct mention of that film.[47]

Producers must submit an Official Screen Credits online form before the deadline; in case it is not submitted by the defined deadline, the film will be ineligible for Academy Awards in any year. The form includes the production credits for all related categories. Then, each form is checked and put in a Reminder List of Eligible Releases.

In late December ballots and copies of the Reminder List of Eligible Releases are mailed to around 6,000 active members. For most categories, members from each of the branches vote to determine the nominees only in their respective categories (i.e. only directors vote for directors, writers for writers, actors for actors, etc.). In the special case of Best Picture, all voting members are eligible to select the nominees. In all major categories, a variant of the single transferable vote is used, with each member casting a ballot with up to five nominees (ten for Best Picture) ranked preferentially.[48][49][50] In certain categories, including Foreign Film, Documentary and Animated Feature, nominees are selected by special screening committees made up of members from all branches.

In most categories the winner is selected from among the nominees by plurality voting of all members.[48][50] Since 2009, the Best Picture winner has been chosen by instant runoff voting.[50][51] Since 2013, re-weighted range voting has been used to select the nominees for the Best Visual Effects.[52][53]

Film companies will spend as much as several million dollars on marketing to awards voters for a movie in the running for Best Picture, in attempts to improve chances of receiving Oscars and other movie awards conferred in Oscar season. The Academy enforces rules to limit overt campaigning by its members so as to try to eliminate excesses and prevent the process from becoming undignified. It has an awards czar on staff who advises members on allowed practices and levies penalties on offenders.[54] For example, a producer of the 2009 Best Picture nominee The Hurt Locker was disqualified as a producer in the category when he contacted associates urging them to vote for his film and not another that was seen as the front-runner (The Hurt Locker eventually won).

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