1. The "Academy Award", also called "Oscar"

1.3. The voting of the "Academy Award"

The voting and the membership changed very often during the first years. The first two years the awards were decided by only a group of five men, the "Central Board Of Judges". After a scandal the voting body grew up to 600 members. 1937 the Academy president Frank Capra opened the voting body to about 10000 members of the major guilds, even if they were members of the Academy or not. The result of that reform was that the "Oscars" were not won because of the voting process, but by manipulation considering public opinion. Today there are about 5000 members, who represent 13 different branches:

Now in the nomination process the members vote only for the Best Picture and for the nominees in their own field. The entire membership votes then for all the winners, except for the short film, the documentary and the foreign-films. Often the most showiest people win an award because not all the members are trained in special fields like make-up or sound effects. So not necessarily the most skilful people win the award. You only can be a member of the Academy if you have achieved a distinction in the arts and sciences of the motion picture. You also have to be invited by the Board of Governors. Someone who wants to become a member needs at least two sponsors, who are members of the branch. There are also "members-at-large". These are engaged in film production but there is no separate branch for their guild. "Members-at-large" have nearly all privileges. "Associate members" are not engaged in motion picture production and do not vote for the "Oscars". "Life members" have all privileges but pay no dues.
At the first "Academy Award's" presentations sometimes the winners were already known before the banquet. The newspapers also got the information about the winners and published them at 11 p.m. on the "Oscar" night. But 1940 the "Los Angeles Times" published the winners already at 8:45 p.m., before the banquet was held. The next year the "sealed-envelope" system was introduced, which remains until today.
Now the voting is conducted by secret votes and tabulated by an impartial firm. The results are not revealed until the presentation of the "Academy Award". Until the famous envelopes are opened nobody except the voters and this firm know who would win the "Oscar". Although for the Academy the filling up of the ballots is a sacred trust it is possible that sometimes a relative or an employee of the official voter fills out the ballot.