The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science announced in 2009 that it will use ranked choice voting (RCV) to choose its honoree for Best Picture, ensuring that the most celebrated movie of the year is one with strong support among Academy members. Used by the Academy in Best Picture voting before 1945, which was the last time ten pictures were nominated, RCV is a system in which voters rank their preferences in order of choice. The nominee with the fewest votes is eliminated, and ballots cast for that film are moved to voter's next choice among the remaining films. The process continues until one film has more than half the votes and is declared Best Picture of the Year.
Academy voters already appreciate the value of ranking candidates. Since the 1930s, the Academy has used the choice voting method of proportional voting to nominate best picture and most other categories. With choice voting, Academy members rank candidates just as with IRV, but it takes about a fifth of the vote to secure one of five nominations. Choice voting ensures that nearly all Academy members help nominate at least one nominee for best picture and other categories.
Earlier in 2009, the Academy announced that it would expand the Best Picture category from five to 10 nominees. Given that the nomination threshold will now be about a tenth of the vote, keeping the "first-past-the-post" voting system where voters can indicate a preference for just one choice would theoretically allow a film to take home the Oscar despite being potentially disliked by 89%. With RCV in place, the Best Picture winner is sure to be preferred by a large share of Academy members. This demonstrates how RCV improves single-seat political elections when more than two candidates run - because voters can rank their choices on their ballots, third party and independent candidates are no longer potential "spoilers," and no one takes office with small pluralities, but are far more likely to be the consensus choice of the majority.
"It's encouraging to see the Motion Picture Academy wisely adopt ranked choice voting," said Rob Richie, executive director of FairVote, a nonpartisan election reform organization that supports RCV. "It serves as another example of how RCV can not only improve how we pick our favorite movies, but how we can have more meaningful choices for leaders and representatives in our elections for public office."
We also have a blog dedicated to examining and explaining the innovative voting systems used by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to nominate and select winners of the prestigious Academy Awards. For more than half a century, AMPAS has used the choice voting method of proportional voting to nominate candidates in all award categories. Since 2009, the Academy has used instant runoff voting to determine the winner of the coveted Best Picture award.
Read on to find out more about these systems and what they mean for Oscar voting! View the blog here: http://oscarvotes123.blogspot.com/