The New Oscar Nominating System Doesn't Make Any Damn Sense

Remember when the Oscars had five Best Picture nominees and then they switched it to 10? Remember when they stopped that and now it's going to be like six or seven or nine or who the fuck knows? Well, they announced how they're going to figure out the nominees. Proceed only if you have a PhD in imaginary math.

I am not really a math person, but I am a movie person and I am certainly an Oscars person and I can't even begin to fathom just how Pricewaterhouse Coopers is going to tally the Best Picture nominees this year. Here is the break down as far as I understand it.

OK, so Ernest Borgnine and the other 5,782 members of the Academy each vote for their top five movies in order of greatness. PWC takes the total number of votes cast and divides it by 11, which is the number of potential nominees plus one. That is the number of #1 votes a movie needs to qualify for a best picture. Got it? Easy enough, right. Yes. But here is where it goes from simple algebra to particle physics.

Once a movie reaches the qualifying number of votes, let's say 500 for argument's sake, if it is over by 10% of the 500 number, then the remaining votes are redistributed. But it's not in total votes. No, it's in fractions. God, fractions. First it ruined fifth grade, now this.

That fractional portion is determined by the percentage a film exceeds the minimum number of votes needed for a nomination. If a movie goes over by 20%, then the first-place vote receives eight-tenths of a vote and the second-place movie nets the remaining two-tenths.

Is that even written in English? I have no fucking clue. Now, if someone votes for a movie that receives less than 1% of the vote (like if Ernest's grandkids convince him to put The Chipmunks 3D in the top slot) then that vote is cast aside and the vote goes to the next eligible movie.

OK, now they count up all the full and partial votes each movie receives and any movie with more than 5% of the total vote will get a best picture nomination with as few as five nominees, but as many as 10, so if six or seven or eight movies make it over the 5% line, then there will be that many nominees. Does that even make sense? I spent most of Algebra 2 staring at the back of Joe Huffenbauer's head and imagining it lying next to me on a pillow in our duplex on Central Park West where we're both fashion designers and we're rich and famous and Madonna comes over for dinner parties, so I'm not sure what to do with all these fractions and percents and things.

Whatever, who cares. They're just going to make the nominations up anyway, and we're going to bitch about them. That's the way these things really work, right? Math schmath.

[Image via Getty]