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How Oscar Nominees Are Chosen?

Mar 16, 2021

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📽️ Who are the academics of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences?

Anyone with significant professional achievements in the field of cinema can become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). In total, the Academy has over 7,000 members – representatives of the cinematography, which are divided into 17 categories (guilds):

  • Actors
  • Cinematographers
  • Casting Directors
  • Costume Designers 
  • Directors
  • Designers
  • Documentary
  • Film Editors
  • Make-up Artists and Hairstylists
  • Executives
  • Public Relations
  • Music
  • Producers
  • Sound
  • Visual Effects
  • Writers
  • Short Films and Feature Animation

🎬 How are the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences selected?

One can get into the ranks of AMPAS academics in three ways:

  • Become an Oscar nominee and automatically become a member of AMPAS.
  • Seek references from at least two Academy members from their professional field. In this case, the nomination is considered by a special committee, and the final decision is made by the Board of Governors.
  • Demonstrate outstanding achievement in the field of cinematography and apply to the Academy. Writers, producers, and directors need to have at least two films in their portfolio, and actors must play at least three movie roles. Members of other guilds (e.g. artists, public relations managers, and administrators) must have worked in the industry for a certain number of years.

🎞️ What films can qualify for an Oscar?

To be nominated for an Oscar, a film must meet the following requirements:

  • The length of feature films and documentaries must be at least 40 minutes;
  • The first screening of the film must take place in the cinema;
  • The film must be released from January 1 to December 31 in the year preceding the presentation of the award;
  • The picture must be at the box office in Los Angeles County for at least a week in a row;
  • Foreign films must be released in their home country no later than September 30 of the year preceding the year of the award;
  • The creators of the film must fill out a special form for the details of their film. The Academy then collects these forms and registers the films as eligible for Oscar nominations.

📽️ How are the Oscar nominees chosen?

Previously, members of the Academy voted using paper ballots. Now they have the opportunity to send an electronic form via the Internet or vote the old-fashioned way. Academics must make their choice and send documents to the auditing company PricewaterhouseCoopers no later than January.

The top five in each nomination are chosen by a guild – actors vote for the best actors, screenwriters – for the best script, make-up artists – for the best make-up, etc.

The exceptions are the nominations for Best Foreign Language Film, Best Animated Feature 

Film, and nominations dedicated to documentary and short films – they are formed by specially selected committees, which include members of the academy from all guilds.

The only nomination for which all members of the academy vote (about 7,000 people) is “Best Film”.

You can vote only for films that academics have seen on the big screen. Exceptions are films in a foreign language, documentaries, and short films – you can watch them at home.

In January, the nominees are announced at a morning press conference in Beverly Hills.

🎬 What does the winner voting process look like?

All members of the Academy, without exception, vote for the final winner by sending a ballot by mail or via the Internet. From 2014, DVDs of the foreign documentary, short, and animation films will be sent out to academics so that as many academics as possible can vote.

PricewaterhouseCoopers then counts the votes again. The names of the winners are kept in the strictest confidence and are known to only two auditors. Oscar winners are announced at the ceremony after the envelopes are opened.

🎞️ How is the Oscar ceremony going?

The red carpet. Before the ceremony, all the invited celebrities and nominees walk the red carpet. The stars arrive in luxury cars and take turns walking on the carpet, signing autographs, posing for cameras, and giving interviews to the press.

The hosts’ speeches. Traditionally, the Oscar ceremony opens with a monologue by the hosts – invited comedians, actors, and actresses. They should dilute the ceremony with jokes and witty statements.

Winners award ceremony. Celebrities from the world of cinema and show-business are invited to the stage to receive awards. They open an envelope with the name of the winning nominee. The Oscar winner goes on stage and is presented with a gold statuette. This is followed by a thanks speech, in which, as a rule, fans are mentioned, as well as relatives and friends of the winner.

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