For the first time since 1979 we’ll have shortlists in Original Score and Original Song
The Academy announced yesterday that instead of dropping shortlists in categories like Foreign Language Film, Makeup & Hairstyling and Documentary Feature on separate days, they will join six other categories for a single-day reveal in mid-December.
Last year, as in previous years, these shortlists began in early December (Animated Short was the 4th) and ended within a week before the Christmas holiday (Makeup & Hairstyling was on the 19th) with voting happening as early as mid-October. This year, voting for all shortlists will take place during the first two weeks of December, leading to a simultaneous announcement of all shortlists on Monday, December 17th.
One of the more exciting elements of this announcement was that Original Song and Original Score would, for the first time since 1979, be getting their own shortlists – 15 apiece. Both categories usually give out eligibility lists that can contain up to 90+ titles. Will this make Oscar predicting in those categories easier or harder? It’s hard to tell but it will kind of ruin the surprise of an “Alone Yet Not Alone” type of nomination if it shows up on a shortlist.
In all, the nine categories we’ll see in that announcement are: Foreign Language Film, Animated Short, Documentary feature, Documentary Short, Live Action Short, Makeup and Hairstyling, Visual Effects, Original Score and Original Song.
In the 15 other categories Academy members from each branches pick the nominees from the entire field of eligible contenders; actors nominate actors, directors nominate directors and so on. Every Academy member is allowed to vote on nominees for Best Picture.
This is also the first year in which the entire Oscar voting process — from shortlists through nominations voting through final voting — will take place exclusively online; meaning no more paper ballots. It will be curious to see if this changes some results as it had been reported that some older voters still had trouble using the online voting system that began a few years ago. With a large portion of the Academy’s new members over the last three years (over 2000) being younger than the average Academy voter, we could see a pendulum swing from largely ‘traditional’ Academy fare to bolder, more progressive work (much to the chagrin of Academy president John Bailey, I’m sure).
The Oscar nominations for the 91st Academy Awards will be announced on January 22, 2019.