Each year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences publishes a booklet for its members detailing the current revised rules for nominating and voting for Academy Awards. Listed below is the exact text of the rules for the 1930-31 (4th) Awards.
Click on a year in the column on the right to display the Voting Rules for another year.
Note: Although the typography has been modified slightly for greater consistency and easier reading on this website, the text displayed for each Rule Book is exactly as it was originally printed (including the original—sometimes quirky—outline format and occasional spelling errors).
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
RULES FOR YEAR 1930-31
Merit Awards are bestowed each year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the purpose of recognizing distinguished achievements in the arts and sciences of motion pictures as judged by the workers themselves, and to encourage advancement in such arts and sciences.
- Awards to be bestowed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for achievements in motion pictures first publicly exhibited in the Los Angeles District (previews not included) from August 1, 1930, to July 31, 1931, inclusive, shall be as follows:
Actor; for the best performance by an actor.Actress; for the best performance by an actress.Directing; for the best achievement in directing.Cinematography; for the best achievement in cinematography.Sound Recording; for the best achievement in sound recording.Art Direction; for the best achievement in art directing.Scientific or Technical; as defined in Section 8.Production; for the most outstanding motion picture production.Writing; for the best original motion picture story.Writing; for the best adaptation.
- Members in good standing of each Branch of the Academy may nominate three candidates and/or achievements for each award pertaining to such Branch, except the awards for Sound Recording and Scientific or Technical Achievements, filing the same with the Secretary of the Academy on or before September 15, 1931, unless the date shall be extended by Board or Executive action.
- Nominations for Directing, Cinematography, Art Direction and Writing achievements shall be for achievements only, naming in each case the production but without naming the individual or individuals entitled to credit.
Nominations for Sound Recording and Scientific or Technical achievements are exempted from awards to be voted for, as provided in Sections 7 and 8 of these Rules.
Nominations for outstanding productions shall name in each case the producing company and the production.
Nominations for actor and actress shall be for individuals, naming also the picture in each case for which the nomination is made.
- Nominations filed, as hereinbefore provided, by members in good standing of each Branch, shall be canvassed by five tellers for such Branch, duly appointed by the chairmen of the Executive Committees of the respective branches. The said tellers for each Branch shall count only nominations for such achievements as conform to the requirements hereinbefore specified for said achievements. The tellers shall then certify the five candidates for each award pertaining to their respective branches, who shall have received the highest number of nomination votes so counted, and shall ascertain and certify the individual or individuals to whom credit is due for each of such achievements as are nominated by achievements only, recommending in such cases to the Board of Directors of the Academy the manner in which divided or joint credits shall be recognized. No individual or company (referring to award for best production) shall be entitled to more than one nomination, with the achievement polling the highest vote to be listed in case the individual or company may have received enough votes for different achievements to be entitled to more than one nomination. There shall be only five nominees, others being added in order of votes to replace an achievement that may be disqualified by the above rule. In the event that there shall be a tie or ties in the lower or lowest recorded nominations of the five highest for any award, the tellers for such award shall select from the tied nominations the one or more who in their judgment are most entitled by achievement to be included in the five certified highest nominations.
- On October 5, 1931, the duly certified five highest nominations for all awards to be voted for shall be submitted on a printed ballot to all members of the Academy in good standing.
- Each member of the Academy in good standing shall then proceed to vote for one of the nominations for each award, except the awards for Sound Recording and Scientific or Technical Achievements, which are exempted, and shall deposit the ballot with the Secretary of the Academy on or before November 1, 1931. All ballots shall be contained in sealed envelopes under suitable regulations to insure the secrecy and validity of the ballots, and shall not be opened for counting until the night fixed for the bestowal of awards (November 4, 1931 at the Ambassador Hotel). They shall then be opened and counted by a Board of five tellers, to be composed of one Academy member from each Branch to be appointed by the President of the Academy. The said tellers shall certify to the President the candidates receiving the highest number of votes for each award. The candidate or candidates who are within three votes of a tie in any count shall be given an award in the form of a bronze statuette.
- The procedure for nominating the award for Sound Recording shall be as follows:
Each studio may submit five samples from 150 to 250 feet in length from separate productions exhibIted in the Los Angeles District (previews excepted) from August 1, 1930, to July 31, 1931. This is subJect to the exception that if less than five pictures from any studio have been exhibited in the Los Angeles District in the year the studio must submit one sample from each production. All samples submitted will then be exhibited to members of the Sound Section of the Technicians Branch under rules designed to insure a fair comparison. The scoring system of voting on the individual samples will chiefly consider the technical excellence of the sound recording.
From three to five samples will be selected by the Sound Section for exhibition to all members of the Academy in good standing at a meeting or meetings to be called for the purpose. At this exhibition a scoring system of voting will designate the studio sound department which is to receive the award. The final ballots will be counted as in Paragraph 6.
- The award for Scientific or Technical Achievement shall be for a device, method, formula, discovery or invention of the most special and outstanding value to the art, science or industry of motion picture production and actually employed in production during the year. The manner of deciding such award shall be as follows: The chairman of the Technicians’ Branch shall at once after the adoption of this rule appoint a Board of nine qualified judges, members of the Branch, who shall take notice of all achievements within or of the industry as herein described, acquaint themselves as to the merits of such achievements and thus be able at the end of the award year to render a just decision. After the appointment of such Board of Judges any individual or company may submit to the Judges in writing nominations for said award. The Judges shall meet at such times as they elect to consider nominations and achievements, whether nominated or not, and shall thereafter, not later than the day for bestowal of awards decide the winner and certify to the President the person, persons or corporation on whom the award shall be bestowed, and recommend to the Board of Directors the manner in which such recognition shall be accorded. It shall be within the discretion of the Judges to make no award.