Who Decides The Winners, Nominations At The Oscars?

Lady Gaga or Glenn Close? Black Panther or Green Book? Rami Malek or Bradley Cooper? Here’s how the Academy chooses the award winners.

Cinephiles rejoice: the Oscars have returned. Directors, actors and producers are readying themselves for a star-studded night, and only the best will walk away clutching a golden statue.
But who decides whether A Star Is Born should take out the Academy Award for Best Picture over Bohemian Rhapsody? Who is the mastermind determining if Rami Malek is more deserving of the Best Actor award than rival Bradley Cooper?
The Academy has its own method to the tinsel-town madness.
Rami Malek is nominated for Best Actor as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.
Rami Malek is nominated for Best Actor as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.Source:Supplied
Simply put, the Academy is the brains behind the award show. More than 6000 film professionals vote for nominations across the 24 categories. Academy members are divided into 17 voting branches determined by expertise; actors vote for the acting award nominees, while directors vote for Best Director, and so on.
The Best Picture award is the only award decided by all active members of the Academy.
For niche categories such as Foreign Language Film and Animated Feature Film, voters are required to fulfil specific rules and eligibility requirements.
Although members in each branch can vote, the Academy discourages voting in award categories unless all the nominated films have been viewed.
Voting via paper and online ballots takes place during December and January prior to the Oscars telecast.
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga are both vying to take out the Best Actor and Best Actress awards respectively. Picture: Neal Preston
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga are both vying to take out the Best Actor and Best Actress awards respectively. Picture: Neal PrestonSource:Sunshine Coast Daily
Films submitted for nominations must adhere to stringent criteria. A film’s producer or director submits an Official Screen Credits form that proves the nominee meets the requirements. Once deemed as a valid nominee, the nomination voting begins.
On the nomination ballot, Academy members rank the nominees in order of preference. If a nominee ranks first on enough ballots — often called the “magic number” — they become an official Oscars nominee.
This magic number is determined by dividing the total number of ballots by the number of official nomination positions up for grabs, plus one.
For example, if 1500 ballots for Best Actor were submitted, this number would be divided by six (five nominee positions available plus one) to give a magic number of 250. An actor therefore would only need to receive 250 ballots that rank them first to receive an official nomination.
After the results of the first voting round are tabulated, the ballots are recounted, removing the nominee with the least amount of first preferences. These ballots are redistributed based on the nominee listed as second preference.
This process continues until enough nominees reach the magic number, or only five nominees remain. For Best Picture, 10 nominees progress to become official nominations.
BlacKkKlansman is nominated for Best Picture. Picture: David Lee/Focus Features via AP
BlacKkKlansman is nominated for Best Picture.
For the first time since 1989, the Oscars will have no host.
Comedian Kevin Hart was originally announced as the host for 2019. However, controversy surrounding a homophobic tweet led to the Academy’s decision to go host-less.
The last time the Oscars opted for a no-host approach, an 11-minute-long musical number replaced the opening monologue.
The Rob Lowe performance alongside Snow White, however, wasn’t well received, described by the New York Post as the “Hindenburg of Oscars telecasts”. Hollywood icons were quick to shame the Academy for their decision. Seventeen stars, including Julie Andrews and Paul Newman, signed a letter that called the ceremony an “embarrassment” to the entire industry.
The lack of a host is the second revision the Academy has made for this year’s awards ceremony. After backlash online, the decision to introduce an additional category, the “Best Popular Film”, was revoked.
The 91st Academy Awards begins in Los Angeles from 2.30pm on Sunday, February 24. Australians can tune in from 9.30am AEDT on Monday, February 25 on Foxtel channel E!.

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