Nominations kick awards off with a little fanfare and a lot of mystery. The way the nominees — and ultimately, the winners — are chosen varies from show to show, but the question from the audience remains the same: how?
Here are 31 behind-the-scenes facts about the nomination process for some of the biggest awards shows — from the Academy Awards to the VMAs and everything in between.
1.The Academy Awards winners are selected by the members of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences, which has more than 6,000 members.
2.The entire membership votes for Best Picture, but the other categories are nominated by specific branches.
3.The Academy Awards nominations are done online, but members can ask for a paper ballot instead.
4.They don't just vote for their favorite potential nominee, though — they're asked to rank up to five candidates.
5.The candidates who receive enough first-place rankings become nominees in that category.
6.Then, for the final vote, the members go online to select the winners in every category, not just their branch.
7.Until the envelopes are opened on stage, only two people from PricewaterhouseCoopers (the company that tallies the votes) know who the winners are.
8.Potential nominees actually campaign for their nominations — and they've been doing so since practically the beginning of the Academy Awards.
9.For the Grammys, all members of the Recording Academy can vote for the nominees in the general field — including Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist.
10.Then, a 20-member committee chooses eight nominees per category from the top 20 candidates.
11.For categories within specific genres, nominees are chosen by special committees of 13–17 experts, who meet to listen to the top 15 candidates, then select five finalists.
12.Each committee can add two candidates to the results from the general vote, but only the Classical Nominations Review Committee can make three additions.
13.The Nominating Committee members have a term limit of three years on and one year off.
14.Members aren't allowed on the Nominating Committee if they have potential conflicts of interest, such as being potential nominees themselves, having financial ties to the candidates, or being in the immediate family of a nominee.
15.Moving onto the Emmys, unlike other awards shows, potential nominees are required to submit themselves for consideration — and it costs money.
16.Once submissions close, all of the Television Academy members vote to choose nominees in the program (i.e. TV shows and movies) categories, such as Drama Series or Television Movie.
17.However, the performer (such as Lead Actor) and individual achievement (such as directing) categories are voted on by smaller peer groups.
18.Then, each nominee has to submit a specific number of episodes, which the voters then watch through a secure online platform.
19.For the final vote, the same rules regarding categories apply — and you definitely can't vote for yourself.
20.The voter pool for the Golden Globes is a lot smaller than other awards shows because it consists of members of the Hollywood Foreign Press — all of whom are US-based entertainment journalists who report for international publications.
21.Studios must submit their eligible films for nomination, which go onto a list the voters receive alongside their ballots.
22.Throughout the year, the members are invited to screenings of the eligible films, and they also receive DVD copies of some of them.
23.Each member ranks their top five candidates per category, but they don't know who the nominees will be until they're announced publicly.
24.BAFTA nominations begin with the members of the British Film chapter ranking up to 20 of their favorite movies made by British filmmakers, and the top five are automatically nominated.
25.In the second round of voting, a jury chooses five of the remaining 15 movies to round out the 10 nominees.
26.All of the BAFTA members vote in the third round to choose the final winner.
27.For the Tony Awards, the Tony Awards Administration Committee appoints about 50 theater professionals to the Tony Awards Nominating Committee — a position each member can hold for three years.
28.Each member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee is supposed to see every single new Broadway show.
29.Then, after the eligibility deadline, the committee has its annual meeting to cast secret ballots to choose the nominees.
30.Next, a wider group of roughly 831 eligible voters from the theater profession cast online ballots to determine the winners, but if a voter failed to see a production that's nominated, then they're locked out of voting in any category it was nominated in.
31.And finally, while MTV has not publicly released information on how nominees are chosen for the VMAs, their official voting rules reveal that the sponsor "reserves the right to select the winners at its discretion."
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