Oscars: how voting works

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(CNN) – The Academy Awards will be handed out Sunday night, and another year of debate will rage on.

Why didn’t so-and-so get an Oscar? Why didn’t they get nominated?

Every year, the best of Hollywood is honored at the Academy Awards. Here’s how the winners are chosen.

There are six-thousand Academy members.

According to awards website Gold Derby, around 85 percent of the members vote each year, using either a paper ballot or a secret online ID.

During the nomination round, Academy members are instructed to pick five nominees for each of the categories that they’ve actually worked in, then rank them one to five. In most categories, a movie or person needs a certain number of first-place votes for a nomination. When an entry gets at least 20 percent more first-place votes than they need,

The extra votes get passed on to whomever was marked number two on those ballots. This lets members vote for a clear frontrunner, without fearing their votes will be wasted.

The best picture category is special. A movie must be the top choice on at least five percent of the ballots to get a nod, and up to 10 movies can be nominated.

Then comes the final round of voting for the winners. For most categories, it’s pretty simple.

Each Academy member votes for just one nominee. The nominee with the most votes wins. But it can take rounds of tallying to determine best picture.

Again, members rank their choices. If one movie earns half of the first-place votes, it wins automatically. If not, the movie with the fewest first-place votes is eliminated, and the second choice on those ballots gets the points.

If no film has 50 percent of the total yet, that step is repeated until there is a clear Oscar winner.Copyright 2015 CNN

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