We have written extensively about our predictions for the winners of the upcoming Oscars. But who gets to cast their ballots for the 89th annual Academy Awards that take place on Feb. 26. How do you get to become one of the 6,687 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who received their final ballots on Feb. 12.
As per academy bylaw Article III, Section 1:
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Membership shall be by invitation of the Board of Governors. Invitations to active membership shall be limited to those persons active in the motion picture arts and sciences, or credited with screen achievements, or who have otherwise achieved distinction in the motion picture arts and sciences and who, in the opinion of the Board, are qualified for membership.
Applicants need to be sponsored by two members of the branch, approved by the membership committee of that branch and then by the board of governors.
Each of the 17 branches sets out its own criteria for admission. All include a proviso that allows for admission of those who have been nominated for an Oscar. And the executive committee of each branch can deem someone to have “achieved unique distinction, earned special merit or made an outstanding contribution.”
Beyond these two catch-alls, there are varying degrees of experience required. All branches require that the credits submitted be for films “of a caliber that reflect the high standards of the academy.” Below, we break down the rules for each branch. And we detail the various ways in which someone can be admitted as a member-at-large.
Photo Gallery: Oscar Best Picture galleryHistory of Academy Award winning films
Actors Branch: 1,158 membersscripted roles in three films, with at least one of these from the past five years.
Casting Directors Branch: 99 membersscreen credit on at least 10 films over a period of no less than eight years.
Cinematographers Branch: 240 membersdirector of photography on two films, with at least one of these from the past three years (until last year, five credits were needed).
Costume Designers Branch: 117 membersscreen credit on at least six films.
Designers Branch: 295 membersscreen credit as Production Designer, Art Director or Set Decorator on at least four films over a period of no less than five years; Art Directors working under supervision of Production Designers must have six credits.
UPDATED: Oscar Experts predict winners in all 24 categories
Directors Branch: 473 membersdirector of two films, with at least one of these from the past 10 years.
Documentary Branch: 277 membersdirector and/or producer of two documentary films, with at least one of these from the past five years.
Executive Branch: 468 membersat least five years experience as a senior executive at an organization producing and/or distributing films, which has been in business at least five years and released three films (or two animated films) in that time. Twenty years of work in the film business guarantees life-time membership.
Film Editors Branch: 274 membersscreen credit on four films, at least two of which must be single card credits; shared credits and supervising film editor credits count as 1/2 each.
Makeup & Hairstyling Branch: 157 membersscreen credit on at least five films, three of which were within the last seven years.
NEW: Oscar odds in all 24 categories
Members-At-Large: 233 membersencompasses all those who work in fields for which the academy has no branch.(i) general: eight years experience; or sitting executive director of DGA, SAG, PGA, WGA and IATSE; or two years of distinction with uanimous approval of membership committee.(ii) creative science & technology: eight years experience; or contribution to creative process; or distinction with 3/4 approval of Creative Science and Technology sub-committee.(iii) production: eight years experience; or five years as head of production, visual effects production, post-production.(iv) stunt coordinator: 10 years experience and 10 screen credits.
Music Branch: 279 membersscreen credit on at least three films, with at least one of these from the past six years.
Producers Branch: 504 membersscreen credit on at least two films, with at least one of these from the past 10 years.
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Public Relations Branch: 389 membersdistinction in field of publicity, advertising or promotion of film AND at least 10 years experience with at least five of those as head of a department or as chief strategist of a company involved in producing, distributing, marketing or publicizing films (the latter requirement can be waived by a two-third majority of the branch executive committee) OR two years as the most senior marketing executive at a motion picture production/distribution company (again, with two-thirds approval).
Short Films and Feature Animation Branch: 479 membersscreen credit in a key creative role on at least three films.
Sound Branch: 456 memberseight years experience with at least five of those as mixer, engineer or supervising sound editor (in the case of the latter, credit on at least five films).
Visual Effects Branch: 383 memberseight years experience in a key creative role.
Writers Branch: 406 membersscreen credit on at least two films.
Predict the Oscar winners now; change them till February 26
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films are faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before winners are announced on February 26 at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm ET. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.
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