Should the Academy Awards Use Instant Runoff Voting?
Consider the following hypothetical voting preferences for 2010 Best Picture with four options (IRV is too complicated to show an example with all 10 nominees).
Instant Runoff Voting selects The King’s Speech as the winner for this award.
A huge 67% majority of judges think Black Swan deserved the award more than The King’s Speech.
And Black Swan received nearly twice as many first-place votes as The King’s Speech, 32% vs. 17%.
And an even larger 83% super-majority of the judges think Inception deserves the award more than The King’s Speech (and Inception got justslightly fewer first-place votes than The King’s Speech).
Unfortunately, we can’t see the actual peculiarities of IRV because the Academy doesn’t release the ballots. But we know from real political elections that IRV behaves very strangely when there are multiple competitive candidates (video). Perhaps the movie industry deserves a superior and simpler alternative.
Attention movie studios! Do you really want Instant Runoff Voting to determine whether your multi-million-dollar project deserves to win an Oscar?
We suggest the system used by the Internet Movie Database, called Score Voting. Just let the judges rate the movies on a scale like 0 to 10, or “1 to 5 stars”. Note that the following data is collected from IMDB, which uses internet users as the voting sample and not Academy judges.
Here’s a Score Voting example including this year’s Best Picture nominees:
And how did IRV do in its debut last year for the 2009 Best Picture award?
IRV-Selected Winner for Oscar
Advanced economic calculations show Score Voting (a.k.a. Range Voting) to be far more representative of the will of the judges or voters, even given tactical voters.