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Oscar voting rules may be changed next

June 25, 2009 |  1:23 pm

Updated at 3:05 p.m.: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Vice President Hawk Koch says that the organization does not want a film with just over 10% support winning the top prize and that the board of governors will revisit the Oscar voting rules at its next meeting.

"We want to make sure that 11% does not win the best picture," said Koch, who is both on the academy awards review committee and the board of governors.

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SlumdogWinCould 11% of the vote be enough to snag an Oscar for best picture?

If the current rules apply, the answer is yes.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this week doubled the number of best picture nominees to 10. Under the existing guidelines, the academy's approximately 5,800 members simply select their first choice out of the nominated films, and the one with the most votes wins.

But perhaps mindful of a potentially perverse result in which nearly 90% of voters don't agree with the outcome, the Oscars' governing body is considering a rules change.

"We're studying how the voting procedures will work now based on this change," said academy spokeswoman Leslie Unger.

Any changes probably would involve some kind of ranking system that takes into the second, third, etc. choices of voters whose No. 1 selection isn't among the top vote-getters.

Such a system is already used to pick the nominees. Voters have traditionally selected and ranked their top five films of the year. If the rules don't change, they would simply rank their top 10.

But such a ranked system comes with its own flaws. Most notably, any film that doesn't get a single first-place vote is eliminated, even if it is an overwhelming second choice. And you thought figuring out who the No. 1 college football team is was hard.

-- Ben Fritz and John Horn

Photo: The cast and crew of "Slumdog Millionaire" accept the best picture Oscar in February. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

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