November 23, 2011 at 1:25 pm #44620
This new 5% rule is going to be a pain in this oscar season’s neck. But just how much is 5%? First of all, what 5% are we talking about? Do we mean 5% of the voter’s votes to nominate a movie, or 5% of the voter’s votes for a movie to win?November 23, 2011 at 1:34 pm #44622
Maybe it would be best to retitle this – Academy Best Picture voting procedures. It certainly is a worthy topic.
The answer is, we don’t know. Steve Pond claimed to have it figured out, but there has been no additional confirmation, and his description frankly still leaves me confused.
What we do know is that 5% will mean, however they count it, around 250-300 votes, depending how many ballots are submitted.
— when first counted, all with 5% right away get in
— those films with fewer than 1% (that is people voting for their own films with little or no chance of being nominated, which many want to do) have their second place film added to those remaining that have less than 5%
— as they do otherwise, they have a complicated procedure where at a certain point when a film is over 5%, its overage is given a numeric value, and the #2 choices on those ballots have that fraction added to existing under 5% piles
— members will list 5 films in order – but how will choices 3-5 come into play, or are they only there in the unlikely event there are fewer than 5 or more than 10 qualifying in order to come up with the number in the appropriate range
At the end of the day, off the record Academy officials have said they prefer the exact way they do this to remain a secret, because members are easily confused and will over think it. I still believe they owe the world an explanation.November 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm #44623
Good Idea for retitleing. I’ll take care of it.November 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm #44624
We don’t really know the practical impact of this, other than the likelihood of fewer than 10 nominees. My guess is that it means a film like Harry Potter – which I think would have been nominated otherwise with 10 – won’t be, but that a film like The Tree of Life – hindered somewhat by only having passionate supporters in not great numbers most likely – has a better chance.November 23, 2011 at 1:54 pm #44625
We don’t really know the practical impact of this, other than the likelihood of fewer than 10 nominees. My guess is that it means a film like Harry Potter – which I think would have been nominated otherwise with 10 – won’t be, but that a film like The Tree of Life – hindered somewhat by only having passionate supporters in not great numbers most likely – has a better chance.
I agree completely. That was my first reaction when I heard the news. The one year where harry potter had the critical acclaim, the box office money, the biggest buzz ever and of course, the sympathy factor of a leaving series, they change the rules and make it ten times more diffucult for it to be nominated.November 23, 2011 at 1:59 pm #44626
We cant know that for certain.
Harry Potter faces the same kinds of genre resistance as others, such as comedies, sci-fi, horror. Imo the only true way for parity to grow is to throw them out there and allow them to compete with the others.
I realize this doesnt help the film, but I’m not throwing my arms up quite yet.November 23, 2011 at 3:05 pm #44627
There was a really nice article by David Poland where he talks with AMPAS’ Ric Robertson and Leslie Unger. http://moviecitynews.com/2011/10/1-week-to-20-weeks-to-counting-best-picture-ballots/
It clarifies some things about the voting but it’s confusing nonetheless.December 27, 2011 at 8:36 pm #44628
Variety takes its turn, making things a bit clearer:
Oscar voting: How will changes affect pics?
Order of titles can make a difference
By Christy Grosz
As the nomination ballots for the 84th
annual Academy Awards hit the mail on Dec. 27, voters are wondering about how
the preferential system will work with this year’s rule changes.
When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences decided in June to
make the number of best picture nominees vary between five and 10, the
announcement again brought up questions about how voting works and which films
will benefit the most.
So, as a service to voters, Variety talked to Acad and PriceWaterhouseCoopers
execs. But there’s no guarantee this will stop the head-scratching. The bottom
line: Fill out all the slots on the ballot, but think carefully about the order
you put them in.
It’s important to note that the basic system of voters ranking films in order
of preference has been used in the nomination process since 1934. The only real
noticeable difference this year is that no one will know how many films will be
nominated until Jan. 24.
Academy COO Ric Robertson said keeping the number of nomination slots
flexible made sense after looking with PwC at how the number would have varied
over the last decade.
“We were able to see that some years we’d have five or six or maybe even 10,”
Robertson explained. “That really sparked us to think that this could work, and
it would be an interesting tweak of our rules.”
So how exactly does it all work?
PwC’s Rick Rosas, one of the people charged with tabulating the ballots for
the company, breaks down the process into a series of very analog steps. (Keep
in mind that all of the tabulation happens by hand in an undisclosed location
over the course of a few weeks.)
The first step for PwC tabulators is to determine the minimum number of
first-place votes any given film would require to secure a nomination; they do
this by dividing the maximum number of slots plus one, i.e., 11, by the total
number of ballots returned.
Then the ballots are sorted into piles based the number of No. 1 votes each
film receives. Any film that already has that minimum number of votes is
automatically on the list of nominees.
“We actually are pushing a lot of paper,” Rosas said with a laugh.
Conversely, a film with less than 1% of the vote is eliminated, according to
Academy rules. The eliminated films’ ballots are then reallocated based on the
No. 2 choice, assuming it hasn’t already secured a slot. If a ballot’s second
choice is already nominated, the tabulators keep going down the list to ensure
that a vote gets counted toward a film that needs it.
Further complicating matters, the system is designed to avoid letting any
single film end up with a preponderance of votes. For that reason, if any film
at this stage has a surplus of votes, or 10% more than what is needed to secure
a slot, the second choice on those ballots are reallocated at a reduced value.
“We will reallocate all of the ballots for the film to the second-place
choice, assuming the second place film hasn’t otherwise been nominated,” Rosas
There could be any number of films that have secured a slot at this point,
but this is where the change for this year comes into play:
“At this particular juncture, we will then determine the 5% threshold of all
the outstanding votes. Meaning, if I have 6,000 votes out there, we’re going to
look and say, what’s 5% of 6,000? It’s 300. All those films with 300 or more
votes will be nominated, unless I have more than 10. If we have at least five,
but less than 10, we’re done,” Rosas explained.
The real salient question for voters is, Does it make sense to fill out all
of the slots on the ballot? Will those votes be counted? The answer is: Well, it
“If they pick two films that they just love, but they’re kind of in the
weeds, and those films get eliminated in the 1% round, then I have nowhere else
to allocate that vote. It depends on their taste in movies, and how well it
matches the taste of the Academy overall. The preferential system’s always been
geared in favor of those voters who fill out a complete ballot, and it’s still
the case now,” Rosas said.December 27, 2011 at 10:16 pm #44629
Ugh why does the Academy keep changing the BP rules? We get the same result every year. One of the two frontrunners ALWAYS wins in the end. It’s not like many Academy voters have the time (or a mind of their own) to anoint an out of the box winner.
Why don’t voters just write down the name of their favorite movie of the year and call it a day? It could make things so much easier.December 27, 2011 at 10:18 pm #44630
Actually, this could be the year where 5 or 6 films could still be contenders when the envelope is opened, and the winner might not even win any other awards. I’m not sure we are going to have a true frontrunner this year.
In any event, what this article refers to is the rule for being nominated for best picture. The rules for the winning after the nominations are the same as they have been the previous two years.December 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm #44631
Wasnt sure where to place this. I’ll move it if y’all want.
From The Wrap
There Will Only Be 8 Oscar Best-Picture Nominees — Here’s Why
Published: December 21, 2011 @ 6:16 pm
By Steve Pond
Everybody’s confused about the new Best Picture process.
Nobody knows how it will play out, and whether we’ll have five nominees, or 10, or some number in between.
But what if I could tell you what happens when the Oscar process is applied to ballots cast by a group of hundreds of voters who’ve historically been an accurate predictor of what Oscar voters will do?
I can, and here’s the answer: There won’t be 10 Oscar Best Picture nominees.
There will be eight.
And we got that number by counting the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards ballots the same way the Motion Picture Academy tallies its votes.
The study began when I approached executives at the Broadcast Film Critics Association, which gives out the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards — and of which I am a member — with a crazy suggestion:
“After you announce your nominees, let me recount the ballots using the Oscar system,” I asked.
The CCMAs, after all, are one of the most accurate bellwethers of the Oscars. Last year, 27 of the Academy’s 30 Best Picture and acting nominees had already received CCMA noms; the year before, it was 24 out of 30.
Understandably, the Broadcast Film Critics didn’t go for my plan to borrow their ballots, even after I promised not to reveal which films would have been left out. But they were intrigued by the idea, and they got in touch with the accountant who tallies those ballots at CMM, LLP.
The Broadcast Film Critics and CMM agreed to let me tutor the accounting firm’s Debby Britton on the Oscar process, and then reveal the results after the counting was completed.
So I sent Britton a step-by-step description of the process that the Academy says will result in somewhere between five and 10 Oscar nominees.
And here’s how it played out:
A large majority of the Broadcast Film Critics’ more than 250 critics cast ballots, which asked them to rank their favorite movies, one through five. On those ballots, 33 different films received first-place votes.
Under the Oscar system, the race is immediately narrowed to those 33 films; every other movie is out of the running, no matter how many second- or third-place votes it received.
Once the initial count was made, the number of votes required to guarantee a nomination was determined. This is done by dividing the number of votes by 11, and then adding one (or if the result is not a whole number, adding whatever fraction is needed to make it one).
Example: If 250 members had voted, 23 votes would have guaranteed a nomination, because it would be impossible for more than 10 films to receive that many votes.December 29, 2011 at 4:16 am #44632
It seems sure to be more than 5 this year, as I figured there would be.December 29, 2011 at 7:02 am #44633
So if we assume that this is right and we are going to get 8 nominees and this is how the new system works, who does this help to grab those last few spots? Does this favor the smaller films or the bigger studio films?December 29, 2011 at 9:02 am #44634
It favors neither. It favors films with small intense passionate support or those that have an identifiable bloc behind them (Tree of Life, or perhaps TTSS with the Brit bloc) over broader appeal but less passionate ones (Harry Potter, Bridesmaids).
I don’t buy the notion that any experiment with a very homogenous group like the BCs (nearly all male, American, generally younger) applies to a more diverse group like the Academy (multi-national, multi-ethnic, though older dominated still enough younger members to get 5%). I think there is as much chance that there will be 9 or 10 nominees as that there will be any other number above 5 (I do expect at least 6, more likely more). This is such an open race with no frontrunner that my guess is members will feel free to go with their favorites or push a film to #1 (like Bridesmaids) just to open up the field a bit.