While doing a few quick and dirty experiments with the preferential ballot, it becomes more and more apparent that if you want your vote to count, you really need to rank all of the films or there is a good chance your ballot will be tossed entirely. For instance, if, on a first count, Moonlight came in way, way ahead. Next was La La Land, and Manchester by the Sea, Arrival and Hidden Figures. Then it was Lion, Fences, Hell or High Water and Hacksaw Ridge. If you love these movies chances are your ballots will be reshuffled and your number one votes tossed. That means your second or third choice will be counted. If someone puts the last four films as their top five, it might mean their 5th choice get counted. While a number one vote matters most in every category that isn’t Best Picture, the top category MUST have a full ranking to make sure your vote gets counted.
The way it’s looking right now, the top two vote getters are most likely going to be Moonlight, La La Land and next in line Hidden Figures and Manchester by the Sea. But no one can be sure how it will shake down. If you favorite film is Lion and your second favorite is Hacksaw Ridge and your third favorite is Fences and your fourth favorite is La La Land only La La Land will count as your favorite. That’s how the preferential ballot works.
Don’t waste your votes, Academy members!