How Does The Academy Choose Their Oscar Nominees?

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In a continuation to yesterday’s Oscars trivia, today we delve into a question that a lot of moviegoers ask – How does the Academy choose their Oscar nominees? Maybe you liked a movie and didn’t find it in the list of nominees, or you didn’t like a movie, and yet it was listed for an Oscar. So, what goes on behind the scenes that awards the so-called best in Hollywood cinema?

How does a film qualify for an Oscar consideration?

There are certain must-haves for films to even be considered in the first place –

  • Starting December of the previous year, the movie’s distributor/producer will need to submit a particular filled-out form called the Official Screen Credits (OSC) to the Academy
  • The film being submitted should be at least 40 minutes long
  • It needs to be shown in at least one theatre within the Los Angeles county, and the name of the theatre(s) need to be mentioned
  • The film needs to be in theatres for at least 7 days at a stretch
  • Premiering the film anywhere except in the theatre will mean disqualification; meaning that if a movie goes straight-to-DVD or is shown on television or streaming site, the Academy will not consider it

How can someone become a member of the Academy’s voting committee?

An estimated 6000 members are chosen as to be on the committee that does the voting for the upcoming Academy Awards, or Oscars. Each person has to be a distinguished member of the film family – producers and directors should have at least two screen credits while actors need at least three screen credits to their name. And those who are art directors and visual effects specialists need a certain number of stipulated years in the industry.

Those who have been nominated or who have won an Oscar before will automatically be given first preference to join the committee. And those who really want to push it but may or may not have the credentials, can be recommended by at least two current members of the committee, and it will be finalized by the committee and the Board.

Anyone who becomes a member can only vote for one branch – for example, someone who won for both direction and acting in different years, can pick only one, mostly the branch they are better qualified in.

What is the nomination process?

To start with, those who are actors in the Academy committee can only vote for the actor category, directors for directors, producers for producers, and so on and so forth. All of the 6000+ members will vote in this way. Calculation done is by taking the number of votes a candidate has won and divide it by the potential number of nominees in that category, +1.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers have been the ones to count the ballots by hand since the past 50 years or more. Once the favorites are chosen, another ballot is taken from each category to confirm the finalists.

And there you have it, the nominees by the Academy for the Oscars!