After expanding the Best Picture field from five to 10 for the past two years, this year's slate of contenders will number somewhere between those two numbers. To reap a bid, a film will have to garner at least 5% of the overall first place votes.
The current system of preferential balloting with upwards of 10 rounds of vote counting will be replaced by a single round of tallying, including the redistribution of votes. Any film listed first on 9% of the total ballots is guaranteed a nomination. If a film is listed first on more than 10.8% of the total ballots, it triggers the surplus rule. The ballots for such films are apportioned as follows: the requisite share of the vote goes to the first place film such that it reaches the threshold of 9% and the remaining share goes to the second place film.
Following this redistribution, any film listed first on less than 1% of ballots is eliminated and these ballots are redistributed to the second place film. Thus ends the vote counting and any film with at least 5% of the total ballots is a Best Picture nominee. Those ballots listing films in first that number between 1% and 5% of the total ballots are not counted.
Had this system been in place between 2001 and 2008, there would never have been 10 Best Picture nominees. Rather, there would have been between five and nine contenders.