Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Best Picture Voting System Changed for Oscars

Over two months ago, it was announced that the Best Picture category at the Oscars™ was expanding from five to ten nominees, making it more likely for those “close, but no cigar” movies (such as "The Dark Knight" last year) to get a Best Picture nomination the next time the Oscars roll around.

To this day still, that decision causes heated debates among film fanatics, mainly because we don't yet know the kind of impact it will have, and every week we see new movies that have the potential to make it in as a nominee.

Now, another significant piece of news has surfaced, claiming that the voting system for Best Picture has been changed as well.

The system up 'til now has been that Academy voters vote for one movie out of those nominated, and logically whichever movie gets the most votes wins the award for Best Picture. The new system is similar to the way the nominees are chosen: instead of voting for just one movie, the voters will now rank the ten nominees in order of preference, and the result will be tallied using a rather complicated preferential system.

Here's an explanation of the new voting rules courtesy of The Wrap. Read on for why it makes a difference.

"Instead of just voting for one nominee, the way Academy members have almost 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 almost never 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."
The reason for this change by the Academy is to eliminate the chance that a certain movie could win by only getting 18 percent of the votes. Even though he doesn’t say it in as many words, the Academy executive director, Bruce Davis, says that he doesn’t want a vote percentage that low to determine which movie is Best Picture.

One of the issues that increasing the nominees to 10 presents is that members vote so sporadically that it would only take 18 percent for one movie to win - and that wouldn't be a proper representation of the Academy's choice for Best Picture. That's why this change was made, in order to eliminate that extreme possibility, with the Academy members ranking all 10 of the movies instead, then using a bit of math to determine the winner.

This new system can be confusing at first, but a change from the old system is justified because with the nominees list expanded the old system just doesn’t work anymore. If any of you are interested, you can head over to FilmSchoolRejects to read a fantastic write-up on the new voting rules that explains everything in a nutshell.

More news to come! Catch ya' later!
Sources: Screen Rant, First Showing

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