After the Academy Award nominations are announced, I always race to Twitter to see people explode over the snubs and laud the names in lights.

I have to admit, every year there's a few titles or people I get upset about being nominated, or not being nominated.

But this year, I realized I actually had no idea how the nomination process works and how people vote on the Academy Awards.

So, I set out to get some answers.

Who Runs the Academy Awards?

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was established in 1928 to award cinematic achievements to the films they deemed most deserving. Finally, after nearly 100 years of the little golden man we know only as Oscar, they are working to expand their membership to be more diverse and inclusive.

Members of the Academy are the selected voters on Oscar Awards.

The17 branches of the Academy arenas follows:

  1. Acting
  2. Cinematography
  3. Costume Design
  4. Directing
  5. Documentary filmmaking
  6. Editing
  7. Makeup/Hairstylists
  8. Music
  9. Producing
  10. Production Design
  11. Short/Feature Animation
  12. Sound
  13. Visual Effects
  14. Writing
  15. Casting
  16. Executives
  17. Marketing/Public Relations

Each branch nominates the members of its own category. For example, Academy writers are the ones who vote on who's nominated for Best Adapted and Best Original Screenplay. And only the editing members vote on who's nominated for Best Editing.

As you may have noticed, 14 of the 17 branches have their own category. But casting directors, executives, and marketing/PR do not.

No matter what category you're in, you also vote for Best Picture.

In order to become a member, you have to have a list of feature film credits and then be nominated. Once your name is sent into the board, they vote on your entry.

Currently, there are around 10,000 members.

How Does Oscar Voting Work? 

In the Oscar nomination process, each film industry branch nominates within its category, like actors nominating actors.

However, special rules apply for categories like International Feature Film and Animated Feature Film, detailed on the Oscars' Rules & Eligibility page.

Every voting member can nominate for Best Picture. Nominations use online ballots, calculated by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited (PwC). PwC also announces results.

In the final balloting all categories are open to all voting members. That means all members are allowed to vote for the winner across all categories, and the nominee with the most votes wins.

So if you're an actor, you can select who you think is the Best Director out of the five nominees. And editors can pick what they think should win Best Original Screenplay out of the nominees.

But, of course, Best Picture is determined a different way.

How Best Picture Voting Works

Oscars statues

How Best Picture Voting Works

CREDIT: Andrew H. Walker/REX/Shutterstock

For Best Picture, the Academy uses a preferential voting system to avoid a film winning with a minimal percentage.

Academy members rank their choices. Initially, the first-choice votes are counted. If no film gets over 50%, which is rare, the count moves to second choices, and so on, though it seldom goes beyond the third.

This way, a film might win not by receiving the most first-choice votes but by being broadly favored in the top ranks, reflecting a consensus among the voters.

The final results of all the voting is then tabulated by PwC, and remain secret until the Oscars ceremony, when they're revealed onstage as the envelopes are opened.

The Academy Awards' voting process showcases a blend of tradition and meticulous methodology. While not perfect, film is a subjective medium and as the Academy tries to diversify, hopefully we get closer and closer to a consensus.

For me, it's the lack of perfection that makes Oscar night so much fun. You hope for your favorites to win, make wild predictions, and mourn the losses.

Let me know your Oscar pics in the comments.