By the Numbers: How Few Votes It Takes to Secure a Nomination


There’s barely a week to go until the Academy opens its voting rolls, which means the campaign machine is in overdrive, with screenings and Q&As to gain the attention of members. Over at the Wrap, there’s a useful accounting of just how many – or in most cases, how few – votes it actually takes to get nominated.71AF7FC61C38B165BC28D731167224_h450_w598_m2_q90_cPGxiGCsp

A simple majority does not rule in the Academy’s preferential system, in which its more than 6,000 members rank their favorites in categories like best picture. Still, it takes only about 300 votes to score one of the most highly coveted honors in cinema. An enterprising boss (Harvey Weinstein? Scott Rudin?) can probably robo-call that many in a day or two.

The acting categories, too, need a few hundred yes votes to get the nod. But most others require convincing just a few dozen people: 39 cinematographers could give Roger Deakins his 11th nomination, for “Prisoners”; ditto the number of editors who will decide the choices in that category, considered a harbinger of a best-picture win.

Just 63 votes would guarantee directors David O. Russell, Steve McQueen, Alfonso Cuarón or the Coen brothers a spot. Under the right circumstances, 35 documentarians will pick the nonfiction choices, anointing a new round of Netflix must-sees. And just 18 people could honor the meticulously researched costumes in “12 Years a Slave,” the extravagant flappers of “The Great Gatsby” or the high-waisted pants of “Her.” They already have some vocal fans.

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