Voting for the 2022 Oscar nominations in 15 races ends February 1 after just six days of voting. Nominations for the 94th Academy Awards will be announced on February 8. Applicants in the acting, directing, writing and craft categories (excluding makeup/hair and visual effects) will be selected under the preferential system that has been in place for years. To illustrate how this counting method works, let’s apply it to last year’s Best Actress race.
Between our experts (journalists who cover this beat year-round), website editors, and readers like you, we’ve filed 8,157 Best Actress nomination ballots. (In comparison, the actor branch of the academy had 1,363 members last year.) In accordance with the preferential system, we sorted these ballots by first choice and only women who appeared at the top of at least one ballot. voting continued in the process.
There are five nominees for Best Actress. In our scenario, the initial threshold—that is, the magic number—for a nomination was set at 1,360 votes (that is, 8.157 divided by 6 and rounded up). If each of the five women reaches this threshold, they will count for 6,800 votes, which makes it mathematically impossible for a sixth actress to obtain more than 1,357 votes.
Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) got 4,957 votes for first place and won a bid (as she did in the actual nominations). Usually these ballots would be set aside at this point.
However, this newly minted candidate was so popular that she garnered at least 20% more first-place votes than needed to be nominated – in our scenario, that’s 1,632 – thus triggering the overage rule ( the best picture ballot invokes the overage rule with a 10% overage). The rationale for this rule is to ensure that someone can vote for an extremely popular candidate without worrying that their ballot won’t matter.
When this happens, the ballots for that candidate are distributed as follows: one share goes to the candidate so that they reach the number needed for a nomination and the remaining share goes to the candidate below them on the ballot. vote which is still in the running and not yet named.
Mulligan only needed 1,360 first-place votes to reach the initial threshold, so each of her 4,957 votes is split with 0.274 of the votes remaining with her and 0.726 for the actress listed in second place, in assuming she got at least a first-place vote from someone to remain eligible and is not already considered a candidate. These split votes equal 3,597 ballots in all.
french McDormand (“Nomadland”) got 1,386 first-place votes. As with Mulligan, this carry triggered the overage rule, with a split of 0.981 for McDormand and 0.019 for the second-place pick.
And so ends the first round with two of the five slots filled.
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Before starting the second round, a new second threshold must be calculated based on the ballots remaining in the process and the number of candidates remaining to be determined.
We started with 8,157 ballots and removed 6,343 [4,957 (Mulligan) + 1,386 (McDormand)] leaving 1,814.
Since there are three spots left, we divide those 1,814 ballots by four and round up which gives us a new second threshold of 454. If three actresses each got that many votes, they would represent 1,362 votes, leaving only 452 in play .
Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) originally had 1,221 votes and would have become the third nominee at this point.
vanessa kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) entered this round with 253 votes for first place. Perhaps she received enough fractional votes from the surplus rule applied to ballots listing Mulligan and McDormand first to reach that new threshold to become the fourth candidate, as she actually was.
Before starting the third round, a new third threshold is calculated. We remove Davis’ 1,221 ballots and Kirby’s 253 of the 1,814 that were used in the second round, leaving a new total of 340. With one spot remaining, we divide that by two and round up for a new third threshold of 171 If an actress achieves this, there will only be 169 votes at stake.
At this point, the accountants redistribute the ballots from the actress with the fewest votes for first place to the next actress lower on the ballot who is still seeking a nomination. The accountants search each of these ballots for the next highest ranked actress still in the running. This will be done with the ballots of each actress who has the fewest votes for first place until someone reaches the new threshold of 171.
The eventual fifth candidate was Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”), which started with 168 votes.
While the Best Picture champion is determined by a version of this preferential system, the winners of the other races are those who are ahead in the popular vote – that is, a voter chooses just one of the nominees and the ‘Oscar goes to the nominee with the most votes.
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