March 5th, 2010
08:44 AM ET

Oscar's 'new math': How best picture will be picked

Oscar oddsmakers have "The Hurt Locker" and "Avatar" in a virtual dead heat for best picture.  So it's a sure bet that one of them will win on Sunday, right?

Not necessarily.

Voting for best picture – and tabulating those votes – isn't a simple case of majority rule.  For one thing, with 10 nominees this year, it's more likely than ever that no film will receive 50 percent-plus-one of the vote: If "Avatar" and "Hurt Locker" are as close as believed, even if the other eight nominees combined drew, say, just 15 percent of the votes, that likely would be enough to keep either of the favorites from reaching 50 percent.

In the past, that wouldn't have mattered: the top vote-getter would take the trophy, end of story.

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