What Hollywood Insiders Won’t Tell You About the Academy Awards

Break out your ballots: You may be just as qualified to pick the winners for the Oscar as some official Academy Award voters.

By Damon Beres
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    Shocker! Voters don't watch all of the movies.

    Candid testimonies from Academy voters to EW.com confirmed what many suspect: The people who decide Best Picture don't necessarily sit through each nominated film. "It's ridiculous having nine or 10 nominees. That's too many movies for anyone to have to watch," said one anonymous voter.

    Voters are not very...diverse.

    As revealed last year by the Los Angeles Times, the Academy is 94 percent white and 77 percent male. The vast majority of members are over the age of 50.

    Ad reps vote for Best Film Editing, hairstylists vote for Best Sound Mixing.

    True, nominees are selected only by members of appropriate branches—actors choose acting candidates, for example. But everyone in the Academy of the Motion Picture Arts and Science can vote for the winner, even if the industry link is tenuous.

    To be a nominee, at least one voter has to choose you as the best.

    While Academy members can list up to 10 candidates when nominating for Best Picture, no matter how many votes a movie gets overall, it cannot earn a nomination unless someone ranked it as their first choice.

    To vote on best foreign language film, you have to see all of them in a theater.

    In this category, you can only vote if you've seen each nominated film in a theatrical setting—meaning you paid to see it or managed to catch an official Academy screening. This makes for a much smaller pool of people actually voting for the winner.

    It's highly competitive to make it to the memory reel.

    Competition is fierce for a spot in the annual montage of Hollywood's finest who recently passed away. According to The New York Times, a committee of secret Academy members decides which deceased stars to include, warding off lobbying publicists, family members, and others.

    Campaigning can get nasty.

    In 2010, Nicolas Chartier, producer of The Hurt Locker, was banned from the awards ceremony for imploring Academy voters to cast their votes against Avatar. He isn't the only negative one; after the story broke Nikke Finke, editor-in-chief of Deadline Hollywood, wrote, "For months now I have been sent so many emails from so many studios and filmmakers and flacks and insiders badmouthing every rival nominee this Oscar season and talking up their own."

    Voters can be snobs.

    From that same EW report: "Hugo was a children's film—and children's films shouldn't win Best Picture."

    No food bribes allowed!

    After nominations are announced, Academy screenings may not include food or beverages—presumably to prevent any votes for Argo based on the reception's cocktail weenies.

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