Imagine you’re one of the roughly 5,800 people who get to decide which movies get Oscars and which don’t.
In a few days, you’ll open your mailbox and find a package from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Inside is the Oscar ballot — a long sheet of paper outlining nominees in each of the 24 categories — which were mailed out Tuesday.
Get out your pen, but “Do NOT Sign This Ballot.”
That’s the big, bold warning on the blank back side that guarantees anonymity. Be careful with the accompanying envelope, too — it’s the only one you can use to mail back your ballot, or else the accountants at PricewaterhouseCoopers will rule your votes ineligible.
The first name your eye will see is Johnny Depp, nominated for “performance by an actor in a leading role.” That category is first, and the contenders are ranked alphabetically, followed by the title of the movie.
The last column of contenders — Live Action Short Film — is on the back of the ballot. Fold it back up, seal it in your special Oscar envelope, and ship it off. It’s got to get back to the accountants by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24.
Five days later, when the winners are announced at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre, you’ll see how right — or wrong — you were.