In 2009 the Best Picture category was raised from five final nominees to 10. All voting members of the Academy can vote for Best Picture in the preliminary and final rounds, and the preferential voting system will be used to make sure the voting members intentions are accurately represented."
"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," 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."
In 2006 the Academy changed the rules for the Foreign Language Film category. A large screening group consisting of members representing all the branches of the Academy vote on the eligible foreign language films. After the final five are selected, then all members of the Academy may vote for the winner.
The Academy was formed in May 1927 and is a non-profit corporation. The Academy has grown from 36 members to 6,000 highly qualified individuals representing 14 branches of interest - actors, animators and short film makers, art directors and costume designers, cinematographers, composers and songwriters, documentary filmmakers, directors, executives, film editors, producers, public relations specialists, sound technicians, visual effects experts, and writers.
SOURCE: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences