Monday, August 31, 2009

The Academy changes the rules

Only this time it's infinitely more confusing than the last time. I only understand the voting rules during January of each year - Steve Pond over at The Wrap (via Awards Daily) explains the new rules:

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.

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).

LiC makes it a little easier for us to understand:

According to a new post from Steve Pond over at The Wrap, instead of simply voting for their favorite film for best picture next year, Academy voters will rank all 10 nominees in order of preference. If a single film receives more than 50% of the #1 votes, it will be the winner. If there is no such film, the film receiving the fewest number of #1 votes will be eliminated and that film’s ballots will be redistributed to the film marked #2 on each ballot. This procedure will continue until one film has more than 50% of the votes.

It’s a procedure similar to that used during the nomination process and, according to Academy executive director Bruce Davis, it’s being instituted to ensure that the expanded nominee pool doesn’t allow for a film with only a small percentage of votes to win. With a membership of less than 6000, it’s conceivable a film with 600 votes could win the Oscar under the 1-vote system with ten nominees.

I'm not sure if this is a good thing, or a bad thing. I suppose it depends on what wins anything but The Hurt Locker.

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