Oscars 2018: All you need to know

How Oscar nominees and winners are chosen

Jordan Horowitz, producer of ‘La La Land,’ shows the envelope revealing ‘Moonlight’ as the true winner of best picture at the 2017 Oscars 2017.

Jordan Horowitz, producer of ‘La La Land,’ shows the envelope revealing ‘Moonlight’ as the true winner of best picture at the 2017 Oscars 2017.   | Photo Credit: AP

More than 6,000 voting members of the Academy decide who wins the sought-after statuette every year.

Last year at the Oscars, the Best Picture award was announced as going to La La Land, the Ryan Gosling-Emma Stone-starrer that had already snapped up six statuettes. The cast and crew made it to the stage, only to find that the actual winner was Moonlight, making it the first LGBT film to win the coveted award. Later, it was reported that the announcers Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty had been handed the wrong envelope, that of Best Actress and not Best Picture.

Gaffe notwithstanding, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a meticulous process by which it determines nominees and winners in each category.

The Academy has more than 6,000 voting members, all of whom belong to the film industry. The membership is not easy to receive. Writers, producers and directors must have at least two credits, while actors need three credits, and those in technical fields need a certain number of years of expertise which changes depending on the field they are in.

The voting is also restricted to respective categories. Directors may only vote on the Best Director nominees, cinematographers only for those in the cinematography category and so on. All members, however, can vote on Best Picture nominees.

Each film that can potentially be nominated has to check certain requirements off a list: In December, a producer must submit an Official Screen Credits form (OSC); the film must have a run-time of over 40 minutes; and it must have been screened in Los Angeles and should have run for over seven days. A film cannot premiere outside of a theatre, rendering online releases ineligible.

Voting members in each branch then choose nominees listed in the order of their personal preference. To become a nominee, there is a magic number that needs to be reached. This varies based on the number of members voting in that category. Then, auditors from PricewaterhouseCooper begin tallying the ballots to come out with the final list of nominees, which members vote on again for the winners.

Foreign films are submitted by their country of origin, and the nomination process remains the same for them.

Incidentally, last year’s faux pas was blamed on the accountants. This process takes PwC three days, and the results are closely guarded, with the accountants and their briefcases making red carpet and onstage appearances, until presenters open the envelopes handed to them.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 7:07:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/how-oscar-nominees-and-winners-are-chosen/article22866603.ece

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