Culture and Society

How are the Oscar winners chosen?
Answered by Animal Planet
  • Animal Planet

    Animal Planet

  1. Step one in picking Oscar winners is to narrow down the list all the honorees from the year to just five nominees in each of the categories for which awards are given. A distributor or producer who wants his or her film to be among those selected must send an Official Screen Credits form to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Academy creates a list of all the films for which Official Screen Credits forms have been received and sends this list with an official ballot to all the Academy members. Voting members of the Academy, who are selected by invitation, are often directors, actors, writers, technicians and other professional peers of those nominated for awards. Typically, an Academy member may vote for nominees only within his or her own field, so only directors can vote for the best director, and only editors can vote for the best editor. However, every member can vote for the film he or she considers the best picture.

    Once five nominees in each category are chosen, a second set of ballots with the names of these nominees is sent out. Academy members have two weeks to return the ballots with votes indicated. Once the votes are collected, an accounting firm known as PricewaterhouseCoopers counts up the votes and seals the results in those famous envelopes, which remain shut until the night of the Oscars. Years ago, the names of winners were released early to the press, so that late-edition newspapers could print results after the ceremony. Unfortunately, this would sometimes lead to the results going public before the ceremony itself, so now, the results are kept secret until the envelope is opened.

    Currently, Oscars are given out to winners in two dozen categories. These categories include:

    actor in a leading role, actress in a leading role, actor in a supporting role, actress in a supporting role, art direction, cinematography, costume design, directing, film editing, makeup, visual effects, music (song), music (score), sound, sound editing, writing (original screenplay), writing (adapted screenplay), best documentary feature, best documentary short subject, best animated short film, best live-action short film, best animated feature film, best foreign language film and, of course, best picture.

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