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All eyes on vote system

Did Oscar's winner actually receive the most votes?

Now that “The Hurt Locker” has been crowned best pic, skeptics and conspiracy theorists can begin debating whether the winner actually received the highest number of first-place votes.

That’s because for the first time since the 1943 crop of films, Academy members didn’t simply select their favorite film from a field of five; instead they ranked their picks from one to 10.

“I don’t like this system at all because theoretically you could have a film with zero first-place votes win best picture,” groused one Academy member who ranked “Up in the Air” in the top slot.

The Acad doubled its number of best pic nominees in the hope that more popcorn fare would be featured alongside its usual crop of limited-appeal selections. That strategy appeared to have paid off. Still, it is unclear whether more films translated into better TV ratings and whether the 10-film format will be extended beyond this year. The Acad board would need to pass any such continuation. But those close to the board say it will take a few years to see if the experiment sticks.

In the meantime, there is room for debate over how the widened pool of nominees affected the final outcome.

Related:
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