Best Picture – Oscars 2020 – Interactive Article
With Oscar season upon us, Hurlbut Academy are putting you in the driving seat to decide which movie and which individuals deserve the much coveted awards!
Starting here with Best Picture, we have created a brief breakdown of each category’s nominees with BTS pictures and Trailers to help you to make your decision.
At the bottom of this page is your voting grid.
Place your votes for your favorite films and filmmakers of 2019 and click SUBMIT to see how voting is going.
WHO MAKES UP THE ACADEMY?
Here’s a quick rundown of how the Academy Awards are voted for and decided.
There are about 8,000 members of the Academy. To qualify, an individual must work in the film industry (so those who work exclusively in television are not able to join). This is then segmented into different branches (for example, “Directing”) each with their own specific requirements – directing for example requires a minimum of 2 directing credits with at least one in the past 10 years. You can only be part of one branch so if you’re a writer and director then you’re going to have to choose.
BEST PICTURE VOTING PROCESS
Voting is in two phases:
- Nominating the Oscar candidates
- Voting for the winners.
In the first phase, members receive a ballot that lists qualifying movies. “How many movies qualified for this year’s Oscars?” I hear you scream at the computer – 344!
So Shane, for example, as a cinematographer received his list and voted a couple of weeks ago.
To be considered for a nomination, a movie must be feature-length (80 to 180 minutes long – or 210 minutes in the case of The Irishman) and must have been publicly screened for paid admission for at least one week at a commercial theater in Los Angeles county between January 1 and December 31 of the award year – Hence why when we went to a screener of 1917 with Director Sam Mendes in November, the director revealed he had just finished the edit 8 days prior to the showing and released in New York and Los Angeles prior to the official release date of January 10th 2020!
Members may nominate only for awards within their branch and for best picture. Shane for example, being a member of the ASC, may suggest nominees for best cinematography, but he may not nominate candidates in the best sound editing, best SFX categories.
Each member of the academy picks up to five candidates for each of their designated categories and lists them by preference. So if it were a director they may say 1. Greta Gerwig, 2. Sam Mendes, 3. Martin Scorsese, 4. Jordan Peele and 5. Alma Har’el.
To determine the nominees in each category, the ballots are tallied by certified public accountants (you’ll remember them from the LaLaLand/Moonlight debacle a few years ago – here’s a link to that moment in case you were on Mars at the time – it makes for pretty special viewing!) from a firm designated by the academy’s president. In addition to this, and to ensure that nominees have broader and not just popular support, the academy uses instant runoff voting, or preferential voting, which involves a “magic” number. Don’t worry, it’s not like “pick a number between 1 and 3 – great, Zombieland 2 gets a best picture nomination…”
For “magic number”, a candidate must receive a predetermined number of votes to be considered a nominee.
A few weeks after the nominees are announced in January (literally today!), the second phase of voting begins (something we are allowing you to pretend you are part of by voting at the bottom of this page!). For this final voting, all active or lifetime academy members are allowed to cast ballots in any category, but they are discouraged from voting in categories where they lack expertise.
Accountants once again tally the ballots using the preferential system to determine the winner for best picture but using the popular vote for all other categories.
Only two accountants see the final results and are responsible for keeping those results secret until the awards ceremony.