The way Academy chooses who wins an Oscar? “It’s crazy,” research professor Michel Balinsk told the Wall Street Journal. It is ” “truly perverse and antithetical to the idea of democracy,” says NYU prof Steven Brams.
Here’s how it works:
WSJ: The nominees are selected using a system called instant runoff, which has been adopted in some municipal and state elections. Out of last year’s 281 eligible films, each voter selects five nominees in order of preference for, say, best picture. All movies without any first-place votes are eliminated. The votes for those films with the least first-place votes are re-assigned until five nominees have enough.
A movie that is second place on every ballot will lose out to one that ranks first on only 20% of ballots but is hated by everyone else. Then, in another upside-down outcome, a movie can win for best picture even if 79% of voters hated it so long as they split their votes evenly among the losing films. This isn’t as unfamiliar as it sounds: Some people think Al Gore would have won the Electoral College in 2000 if Ralph Nader hadn’t diverted more votes from him than he took from former President George W. Bush.