With the Oscars six months away and counting, the Academy are continuing to tweak the rules to try and shake up the awards ceremony -- perhaps doing their damnedest to ensure, "Up," "Star Trek" and other populist fare finally get their due. First came the announcement that the Best Picture category was being expanded to ten films, and then we heard that the amended rules for Best Original Song may eliminate the category altogether unless the contenders reached a certain numerical score during the nomination process (after all, too many songs make that ceremony too long; they'd rather run more ads). Now comes word that the voting process used to nominate the Best Picture films will be used to decide the final winner as well. The new system will weigh both number one votes and how many ballot appearances a film makes to determine the final winner. Algebra isn't our strong suit so here's a direct quote from the Hollywood Reporter about how the process will work:
The Academy has opted to use the preferential system in the best picture race because it realized that with a field of 10 nominees, a winner could emerge with just slightly more than 580 votes out of the potential voting pool of 5,800 members.While it seems the Academy is trying to level the now ginormous playing field of ten nominees, it seems the process is geared to favor the most popular film, but not necessarily the best. Great, expect the Oscars to be the biggest farce in years? So once again, smaller films that don't have the marketing dollars behind them to make sure all 5,800 Academy members get to see their film may lose out even if they get the most number one votes because the Weinsteins were able to schmooze everyone in town with cocktails and "Inglourious Basterds" DVDs.
The preferential system is designed to measure depth of support, since second- and third-place choices can be just as important as first-place choices. "PricewaterhouseCoopers will then be able to establish the best picture recipient with the strongest support of a majority of our electorate," Academy president Tom Sherak said.
Under the system, ballots are first separated according to first-place choices. If one film wins a majority among all first-place votes, it's the winner.
If not, the film with the fewest number of first-place votes is eliminated and the No. 2 choices on those ballots are redistributed among the remaining films. The process continues until one film has picked up a majority of votes.
It seems that the more the Academy tries to shake things up, the more they amend their own rules to make sure things stay the same. Are they really still just so pissed that "The Dark Knight" and "Wall-E" didn't score nominations? Get over it guys! At the very least, can we get a decent host this year? We're nominating David Cross.