Votes are sent to PricewaterhouseCoopers to be counted and verified securely, and then the nominees who come out on top are announced a few days later in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theatre.
The process has mainly been criticised by some of the film industry for the ruthless campaigning that can take place from November. Most recently Joaquin Pheonix and Anthony Hopkins have joined the list of actors who have been outspoken about the awards-season buttering up of Academy members. Pheonix, who appeared in Oscar -tipped The Master and has racked up two previous nominations for Gladiator and Walk the Line told Interview magazine that the annual campaigning is total, utter bulls***, and I don t want to be a part of it. Hopkins, who won an Oscar for his role in Silence of the Lambs called the kissing the backside of the authorities that can make or break it disgusting to behold in an intervuew with The Huffington Post .
It s arguable that the keen antics of aspiring Oscar-winners is out of the control of the Academy, however their strict policy on foreign film nominations isn t. The nominations process is roughly the same as above for the Foreign Language Film Category, but its draconian one-film-per-country submission rule is criticised by some.
This year saw a record 71 countries submit their officially selected single film to the Academy. From these, nine will be chosen - six by a volunteer committee of members from different branches, three from the executive committee. This nine will become five after a screening marathon over a single weekend in Los Angeles and New York. Members can only vote on these if they can prove they ve been at the screenings.
This year potential nominees are in fear of Michael Haneke s Amour . Not only do some think it s likely to take Best Picture, but it s also distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, which has won the category three years running.
As for now, it s just a case of waiting. Although one potential nominee has been given a big hint: a hitch on the Academy s website Oscars.com caused a test page to reveal Django Unchained costume designer Sharen Davis was shortlisted. We ll be able to see if that s still the case on Thursday.