Oscar Votes 123: March 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hurt Locker Wins Best Picture

And the winner is............. The Hurt Locker! Congratulations to the cinematographers on their award.

The conventional wisdom boiled down to two contenders - Avatar and The Hurt Locker. The speculation is over and a favored film scored the top prize.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voters used a preferential ballot with a tabulation system known as Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). As stated in previous posts, IRV is a majority voting system.

Regardless of the speculation, there was much suspense regarding which film would take the big prize. And that's how using IRV paid off for the Academy - they did multiple rounds of tabulations from a single ballot cast by each of the Academy's voters. There was no second, third or subsequent ballot to get a majority - how could you do such an effort and not risk blowing the suspense on Oscar night? No, by using a single preferential ballot, the Academy kept a lid on the winner until the envelope was opened in front of millions of viewers.

Perhaps The Hurt Locker got an outright majority of first choices and no runoff was needed? We'll never know because the Academy chooses to keep its tabulations secret.

The good folks at FairVote Minnesota did their own poll / election for best picture Oscar using IRV and The Hurt Locker won it also!

The Oscars are a promotional tool for movies. The Academy expanded the nominees for best picture from five to ten. Nine films still have the luster of "Nominated for Best Picture". But there still needed to be a majority winner - IRV met the needs of the Academy.

Congratulations are also in order to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on a wonderful awards ceremony.

See you next year at Oscar Votes 123!