Some of the Oscar voting rules have changed this year. One of course is that there will be at least 5 Best Picture nominees, but it could go up to 10 depending on how the voting goes. This is obviously to keep out movies like WINTER’S or 127 HOURS. The Academy felt like they were having trouble filling in 10 best movies.
The other change is how the votes are counted. Math was never my thing, but this process of choosing a Best Picture is very difficult to understand let alone explain. I really want to understand how it works. Steve Pond from The Wrap broke it down in the most simple way that I have seen, but I still have no idea what he is talking about. Below is Steve’s explanation. Good Luck:
1. As in the old system, all the Best-Picture ballots are put in piles based on each voter’s first choice. Based on the number of ballots received, PwC will determine the number required to guarantee a nomination in the initial count by dividing the number of ballots cast by 11 (the number of available nominations plus one), and then adding one.
In assigning this number, PwC will assume that 10 nominations are up for grabs, even though the final number may well be lower. For instance: If 5,000 of the Academy’s near-6,000 members cast ballots in the Best Picture category, the magic number will be 455.
In that situation, a film with 455 votes or more is automatically a nominee.
2. Any film with 20 percent more votes than it needs triggers the surplus rule, in which the unneeded portion of each vote will go to the second-place film on that ballot, or the highest-ranked film that’s still in the running.
If, for instance, you need 455 votes to be nominated but you get twice that many, 910, each of your votes will count 50 percent for you and 50 percent for the voter’s next choice. If you get a third more votes than you need, that third will go to your second choice.
Note: Contrary to a recent explanation in the Hollywood Reporter, this redistribution does not take place with the ballots of all films that receive more than 5 percent of the vote. It only takes place with films getting 20 percent more than they need to guarantee a nomination. (That means you need to get just under 11 percent of the first-place votes, or 546 votes in our example, to trigger the surplus rule.)
3. Once the surplus redistribution has been made, the films that have less than 1 percent of the total — meaning, in our hypothetical case of 5,000 ballots, all of those with fewer than 50 first-place votes — also have their ballots redistributed. On each of those ballots, the first-place film is crossed off and the vote goes to the film listed second, or to the top-ranked film that is still in the running.
And then the vote stops.
It’s just that simple. I will just predict the Best Picture nominees and they can do all of the math.