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How the Oscars Work


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The Oscars honor the entire spectrum of filmmaking, from acting to technical achievement. There are now 15 Academy branches in all:

  • actors
  • art directors
  • cinematographers
  • directors
  • documentary
  • executives
  • film editors
  • makeup
  • music
  • producers
  • public relations
  • short films and feature animation
  • sound
  • visual effects
  • writers

There are now 24 competitive Oscar® categories, and a handful of special-recognition Oscars every year. This year, awards will be given for:

  • Actor in a Leading Role
  • Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Actress in a Leading Role
  • Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Animated Feature Film
  • Art Direction
  • Cinematography
  • Costume Design
  • Directing
  • Documentary Feature
  • Documentary Short Subject
  • Film Editing
  • Writing (Original Screenplay)
  • Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
  • Visual Effects
  • Sound Editing
  • Sound
  • Short Film - Live Action
  • Short Film - Animated
  • Best Picture
  • Music (Song)
  • Music (Score)
  • Makeup
  • Foreign Language Film

After all the ballots are in, and the votes are counted, it all comes down to the big night itself. The Oscars is a night of honoring big-budget entertainment, and, appropriately, it is big-budget entertainment event, itself. Every year, hundreds of workers, including carpenters, artists, musicians, cameramen and chefs, work days on end preparing for the big show. The result, in a good year, is a vibrant, glamorous celebration of all things Hollywood. (See Los Angeles Almanac: Locations of the Academy Awards Ceremony to check out the past and present locations for the big event, and visit the Web site of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for a full list of this year’s nominees.)

For much more information about the Oscars and their history, check out the links on the next page.