The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has introduced preferential voting to determine the best picture in the second radical transformation to affect the category.

Voters for the 2010 best picture Oscar learned recently they could nominate ten films and now get the opportunity to express a preference as to their favourite films.

“Instead of just marking an ‘X’ to indicate which one picture they believe to be the best, members will indicate their second, third and further preferences as well,” new Academy president Tom Sherak said.

“PricewaterhouseCoopers will then be able to establish the best picture recipient with the strongest support of a majority of our electorate.” 

For a long time preferential voting has been used in the round of voting that determines the nominees in most categories, but it has not been used on the final ballot for best picture since 1945.

Academy sources said that the preferential system was used to determine the winners in 1934 and 1935, when there were 12 nominees for best picture.

From 1936 to 1943 there were ten best picture nominees and the preferential system was used for final balloting. In 1944 and 1945 the preferential system continued to be used although there were only five nominees in the category.

The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on February 2, 2010, and the ceremony is scheduled to take place on March 7.