How are the Academy Award winners selected? Who votes for the Oscars?
The most prestigious prizes in cinema will be awarded later this month after months of speculation about potential winners.
The 95th Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, 12 March, bringing together the biggest names in Hollywood to celebrate the finest achievements in cinema during 2022.
For those on the shortlist, the prospect of winning an Oscar would represent the pinnacle of their career and it will ensure that their name goes down in cinematic history. But how are those winners chosen?
Who votes for Oscars nominees?
The Oscar nominees are selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Voting begins in late December and all votes are tallied by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and then normally announced mid-January.
The membership of the AMPAS has grown dramatically in recent years. In 2015 there were 6,261 members eligible to vote, but that number had risen to 9,427 by the start of 2021 according to Variety.
This was in part a response to criticism the Academy has received for a lack of diversity. A 2013 survey conducted by The Los Angeles Times found that Oscar voters were on average 63 years old; while 76% were men and 93% were white.
Anyone with feature film credits can apply to join AMPAS. They then need to be approved by the branch’s executive committee and finally submitted to the AMPAS board for acceptance into the Academy.
How are winners voted for in the Oscars?
Once the nominees have been shortlisted, the Academy is once again enlisted to decide the winner in each category. All members can vote in all Oscar categories and, with the exception of Best Picture, they get one vote per category.
The Best Picture category is organised differently to the other because it is usually the largest; with 10 nominees for the 2023 ceremony. For this category AMPAS uses preferential voting in which members put their choices in order of preference and votes are weighted accordingly.
Once the final tally is counted only two PWC partners know the results until the envelopes are opened onstage during the Oscars ceremony.
Who is in the Academy?
Each member of AMPAS belongs to one of 17 branches; Actors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, editors, makeup artists/hairstylists, music, producers, production design, short films/feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.
Most categories are nominated by the members of the corresponding branch; actors nominate actors, directors nominate directors, and so on. All members can nominate the Best Picture, while certain other categories have special eligibility rules for nominations.