How the Oscars Work

By: Melissa Russell-Ausley & Tom Harris

Oscar Categories

The Oscars honor the entire spectrum of filmmaking, from acting to technical achievement. There are now 17 Academy branches in all [source: Oscars]:

  • Actors
  • Casting Directors
  • Cinematographers
  • Costume Designers
  • Designers
  • Directors
  • Documentary
  • Executives
  • Film Editors
  • Makeup Artists and Hairstylists
  • 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 [source: Tapley]:


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

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.

For much more information about the Oscars and their history, check out the links below.

Related Articles

More Great Links


  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, "Oscar Statuette." (Jan. 8, 2018)
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, "Academy Membership." (Jan. 8, 2018)
  • Feinber, Scott. "Academy Retains Accounting Firm Despite Oscars Fiasco." Hollywood Reporter. March 29, 2017 (Jan. 8, 2018)
  • Jones, Arnold, Wayne. "They Envelope, Please: The Ultimate Academy Awards Trivia Book." Avon. 1999.
  • Live Science Staff. "What's An Oscar Really Made Of?" Feb. 20, 2009 (Jan. 8, 2018)
  • Miller, Michael. "Ballot Lessons! A Reminder on How the Oscar Voting System Works After the Best Picture Mixup." People. Feb. 27, 2017 (Jan. 8, 2018)
  • Osborne, Robert. "70 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards." Abbeville Press. 1999.
  • Ramisetti, Kirthana. "Oscars 2015: 10 fun facts about Hollywood's biggest awards show." NY Daily News. Feb. 21, 2015 (Jan. 8, 2018)
  • Schrodt, Paul. "More than 7,000 people get to vote in the Academy Awards - here's who they are." Business Insider. Jan. 22, 2016 (Jan. 8, 2018)
  • Tapley, Christopher, "Oscar Predictions in all 24 Academy Categories." Variety. Dec, 26, 2017, (Jan. 8 2018)

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