Unfortunately you’ll have to wait until Sunday night to find out who takes home the coveted awards. But until then, read on to learn how actors, directors, and films make it to podium.

Oscar Votes 1-2-3 (a project of FairVote) explains the voting system utilized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. For more than sixty years, the Academy has used proportional voting to nominate candidates in all award categories.

Choice voting or “single transferable vote” is used to select nominees in all categories and is a process designed to accommodate a large number of candidates while accurately reflecting the preferences of voters.

The 5,500 voting members of the Academy are divided into voting groups based on their professional specialty. In the nominating elections, these groups vote only for candidates within their specialty. However, in the Best Picture category, all 5,755 academy members get to vote in the nominating contest. Read a detailed explanation of how nominees are selected.

Starting in 2009, things changed slightly for the Best Picture award, which is now selected by instant runoff voting. Read more about how the Best Picture is chosen.

Want to get in on the action? You can vote using FairVote’s instant runoff ballot. And don’t forget to tune in Sunday night to see if you favorites made the cut!

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