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Who votes and how do they vote for the winning movies in the Oscar Awards?

The process for determining the awards comes under the microscope after the nominations have been announced.

Estatuas de los Premios Oscar en el Dolby Theatre en la gala de 2019 | CHRIS PIZZELLO (GTRES)

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The Oscar nominations are selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Voting for nominations 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 over the past five years. In 2015 there were 6,261 members eligible to vote, compared with 9,427 as of 16 December 2020 according to Variety.

This was largely in reponse to criticism the Academy has received for being an old white man’s club. According to a 2013 survey conducted by The Los Angeles Times, Oscar voters were on average 63 years old. 76% of them were men, and 93% of them were white.

If a person has feature film credits they could apply to join AMPAS. They then need to be approved by the branch’s executive committee and then finally submitted to the AMPAS board for acceptance into the Academy.

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How do they decide the nominations for the Oscars?

Each member 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 and other catergories have special rules.

Who decides who wins the Oscar?

All members can vote in the finals in all Oscar categories. With the exception of Best Picture, voting members get only one vote per category. Because the field for Best Picture is so big - this year there are 10 nominees - AMPAS uses preferential voting. The members put their choices in order of preference and then when PWC tallies the votes, the votes are weighted.

Once the final tally is counted only two PWC partners know the results until the envelopes are opened onstage during the Oscars ceremony.