Who will win the Academy Award for Best Picture? According to the

Who will win the Academy Award for Best Picture? According to the new rules for the Oscars, a majority of Academy members will decide, not just the film with the most votes. It’s an important distinction when shuffling through films like “Up” and “Inglourious Basterds”.This year there are 10 nominees for Best Picture, up from the previous five. With this wider field, the Academy decided the ballot-tabulation rules needed to be reconsidered. When there were just five movies up for Best Picture, the one with the most votes won the Oscar, end of story. But with 10 nominees up for the award, a movie with just 10 percent or so of the Academy’s support could take home the high honor. To ensure that the winning film receives the support of the majority of the Academy, the organization is enlisting the use of ranked-choice voting (which readers of my columns know I’m a strong advocate of). Voters rank their choices on a single ballot. For example, you put “Avatar” as your first choice and “The Hurt Locker” as second, “District 9” as third and so on down the ballot. This way, Academy members are mailed a single ballot. And tabulation is basically the same: If there’s a majority at first, the election is over. If not, the last-place vote-getter is dropped and second, third and other subsequent choices are distributed to the films left in the counting. This process continues until that majority threshold (50%+1) is met.With ranked-choice ballots, Academy voters can feel more connected to the eventual winner — perhaps their second or third choice. With the expanded number of nominations, there was a need for this change. I work with the national group FairVote — which advocates preferential ballots for public elections. If you’re interested, you can check out FairVote’s blog on the Academy Awards for a perspective on this voting system and the Oscars.