FYI: There’s a new voting system to determine Best Picture

Okay, I know I’m pretty late on this tip but I just realized today that because this year’s Oscars expanded their Best Picture nominations to 10, they couldn’t use the old system where everyone in The Academy gets one vote for the movie they thought was the Best Picture of the year.

Why? Because technically, the Best Picture winner would only need a small percentage of The Academy’s votes to win (this of course is hypothetical, but still an interesting point).  And how fair would it be if the Best Picture only received under 20% of the popular vote?

The Academy wanted a simple majority to decide who wins the Best Picture award (which is fair enough).  So here’s the new system:

All members of The Academy will rank the 10 Best Picture nominees in order from the film they feel is the best to the worst of the group.  Then the ballots are collected and tallied.

First, the ballots are separated into piles of films that received #1 votes.  So if every film received atleast one, #1 vote, there will be ten piles.  From the current standpoint of the race, it seems like The Hurt Locker and Avatar would have the most #1 votes.  But unless one of those films has more than 50% #1 votes (which is very unlikely), we move onto Round 2.

This is when they take the film that received the least amount of #1 votes and throw them back into the pool.  For argument’s sake, let’s say that The Blind Side received the least amount of #1 votes.  So all of the ballots that had The Blind Side as #1 would now take their #2 ranked film into consideration and place each single ballot into their respected piles.

After that is done, they count up the piles and see if there’s a film that has the majority of the votes.  If not, the process is continued.

Did I confuse you?  If I did, then check out a better explanation here.

So what does this mean?  Well, for those (like me until today) who aren’t aware of the new voting process, this makes a very big difference.  It seems as though the films that are being the most talked about, The Hurt Locker and Avatar, would be the films to receive the most #1 votes from The Academy.  But with eight other nominees, neither is likely to receive a majority of the votes from the first round.

In my opinion, this hurts Avatar’s chances greatly, because Avatar is a film that people love (giving it a lot of #1 votes) or people don’t so much (giving it a lot of potential #8 or #9 votes).  This then strengthens films like Up in the Air and Inglourious Basterds.. films that everyone really liked but not necessarily would top their list.

Is if fair that there’s a chance the movie that receives the most #1 votes from The Academy won’t win Best Picture?  It doesn’t seem like it, but I guess we’ll just have to see on March 7 how the system worked.


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