The preferential system developed for nominating best pictures according to critic’s choice ballot has produced a full set of 10 nominations for the first time ever.
As the nomination lists for Oscars get shorter, the biggest nominees’ lists are also coming to a close. The biggest of the nominations is of course the last night of the awards, THE Oscar for Best Picture.
There is a whole lengthy procedure before the movies released whole year round come to the Oscar voters to vote on in a shortlist. The preferential system for shortlisting the movies have a maximum capacity for ten movies.
Every year the Critics’ Choice Awards ballots are recounted and this year, the recount produced a very surprising result, a whole set of 10 Best Picture nominations.
The system was instituted by the Academy of Motion Picture and Science in 2011. The reliability and validity of the system was verified by the Oscars team at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
They went back and recounted eight previous years of voting to test how the system would have worked. They found years of five, six, seven, eight and nine nominees, but never a year of 10.
For the first time in 12 years of usage and testing by AMPAS and in four previous years of simulations with Critics’ Choice ballots, never has it come up with 10 nominations, according to The Wrap.
Many people have questioned about how the system could not have turned up with ten nominations in previous years of usage. Debby Britton of CMM, LLC; an accountant at Broadcast Film Critics Association has recounted the Critics’ Choice Awards best-pic ballots using the Oscar system. According to the recounting, previous years calculations yielded 8 nominations until this year.
To understand the system, we have to know how it works. This year, a larger-than-usual number of films got votes but a smaller-than-usual number of them had strong support.
That indicates a strong possibility of a stronger and surer list of nominations. Once all the ballots are cast, a magic number is determined. The procedure for that is to divide the total number of ballots by 11 (the number of available nominations, plus one).
For example if 250 critics voted, that number divided by would be 22.7. If the result is a whole number, 1 is added and if it’s a decimal, it is rounded off to the next highest whole number.
Thus is this case, the result would be 23. This magic number is the number of minimum votes in the next step that the film requires to be a nominee. The BFCA voters are then asked to rank their top five films in order of preference.
The main concern at this point is the movie they write as No.1. Any film that is not the first choice of at least one voter is eliminated from contention, regardless of how many No. 2 or No. 3 votes it receives.
According to Britton, 38 movies received first-place votes this year and managed to remain in the running. That’s 10 more movies that received first-place votes than last year and the most that have ever done so during the five years that the recount has been conducted in. So the movie with more than the magic number of first-place votes becomes a nominee. This year, one movie has received that honour.
Once the votes have been counted, the recounting personnel are on a lookout for instigating the surplus rule. That is if one movie has received an overwhelming majority of votes and the film has qualified as a nominee by attaining the magic number of votes, the surplus votes should not got to waste. Instead they should be allocated to the movie in the second number slot by overall count.
That is that if the movie at number one has ten percent of extra votes, that ten percent would be allotted to the second movie with most votes. If the votes are enough to cross the magic number, then the movie at the second number also becomes a nominee. If the second movie has already qualified, then the surplus votes go to the third movie in the list and so on.
The next movie can only get votes if it hasn’t been disqualified yet by not receiving any No.1 votes. For this year, Britton said that the one film that clinched a first-round nomination also went into surplus. Once the surplus votes were reallocated, three more films passed the magic number to bring the total number of nominees to four.
That implies that either the first film had an overwhelming majority of votes or the other three had so many votes that they needed little help to cross the magic number. At this point, any movie picked at No. 1 on less than one percent of the ballots is also eliminated.
According to Britton, this year out of 34 movies, 21 fell below the 1 percent line which is an extremely large number of films to be eliminated at this stage. Typically at this stage of Critics’ Choice recount, about half of the remaining films are typically knocked out of contention at this stage but this year almost two-thirds of the movies were which represents that a large number of movies were voted for but had a very narrow support.
The votes for the less than one percent movies don’t go to waste either. Their votes are also relocated for the top ranking films if they have not been eliminated or qualified for a nominee yet.
Once those votes are also reallocated, every film that has more than 5 percent of the vote becomes a best-picture nominee. When CMM ran the numbers, six of the 13 remaining films crossed the 5 percent threshold to raise the number of nominees to 10.
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The ten nominees are now in the hands of 6,200 Oscar voters. The fate of the final listing which will be announced on January 14th. Looking at history, the Oscar voters might not agree with the Critic’s Choice Recount and the list can be further shortlisted or remain the same. The final list will then be revealed on January 14th.