Oscar hopes are high in Hollywood – but – first come the Oscar nominations. Ballots have gone out to all members of the 17 branches of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, and the results will be announced early on Tuesday, February 8th.
Right now, there are 9,487 active Oscar voters eligible to nominate and vote in the 94th annual Academy Awards, plus an additional 914 Emeritus members, making the total 10,487. All members can nominate Best Picture. The Board has declared there will be 10 nominees this year.
276 feature films are eligible for Best Picture, a significant drop from last year, when 366 qualifying films set a 50-year record. In 2021, the eligibility period was only 10 months – between March 1st and December 31 – because of the near-shutdown of movie theaters during the Covid-19 epidemic.
Feature films must run more than 40 minutes in length and be shown to the public in a commercial movie theater for seven consecutive days in one of the following areas: Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami and/or Atlanta.
The Academy also stipulated: “Films intended for theatrical release but initially made available through commercial streaming, VOD service or other broadcast may qualify if the film is made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member site within 60 days of its broadcast.”
To be eligible for Best Picture consideration, films must also submit a confidential Academy Representation and Inclusion Standards entry as part of the requirement. The Academy noted, however, that meeting those standards won’t be required until the 2024 Oscars.
Under the Oscars’ preferential or ranked-choice system, a voter lists his/her top five choices in order of preference. After those first-place votes are totaled, the lowest ranking films are eliminated and ballots proceed to the film ranked second. This restructuring continues until the final 10 are selected.
As for Best Actor/Actress and Supporting Actor/Actress, those nominations come exclusively from the 1,336 members of the Actors Branch. Only actors can nominate actors. No other branch members can participate in the nomination process in this category.
In the same vein, only the 568 members of the Directors branch can nominate Best Director. Other categories work the same way. There are 171 Costume Designers who can nominate for Costume Design. There are 375 Film Editors, who choose their nominees. There are 504 writers who choose Best Original and Best Adapted Screenplays.
The Short Films and Animation Branch has 844 voting members, making it the second-largest Academy branch. In this particular category, voting is open not only to branch members but also to all Academy members who volunteer to see the required number of entries out of the 26 films that initially qualified.
For Best Foreign-Language or International Film, the Academy seeks volunteers from all branches to screen the short-listed films which are available on the Academy’s website.
The Oscars are set to air live on Sunday, March 27 on ABC from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood