Today is the day. February 14, 2014 marks the first day of voting in the final round of this Oscar season. The nominations were announced way back in January, with Gravity and American Hustle leading the pack with 10 nominations each. There are frontrunners in a number of the categories, but those frontrunners do not seem like definite winners.

This award season has been full of back-and-forth wins between many of last year's critically acclaimed pieces. In recent years, we've had a few that fought to the finish. 2013 will go down as one of the greatest cinematic years in history, leaving everything down to the wire on March 2 when Ellen Degeneres hosts the Academy Awards.

With voting starting today, many people wonder who is actually responsible for naming movies like The Artist, Crash, and Braveheart as the Best Picture winners. Well, after doing some research, I've been able to narrow the numbers down. No, the Oscars are not quite the popularity contest many people say. They're the ultimate in awards because they choose to notice quality over just star power. However, star power can play into a person's voting, just like any political endeavor.

With Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, and American Hustle approaching the finish line neck to neck, the different groups mentioned below may show the answer as to who comes out on top. The Director's Guild named Alfonso Cuaron the best for Gravity. The Screen Actors Guild (members of which are included in the Academy's largest branch, The Actors) feted American Hustle. And, the Producer's Guild couldn't decide and gave their prize to 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, the first tie in the group's history.

Here's how the Academy breaks down:

If I did my math right, there are currently 5,732 members of the Academy. Not every member votes every year, so any guesses based on numbers may be skewed. Before we go on, isn't it stupid that there are members who don't vote? You're a member of the Academy, why would you not vote??

Actors Branch: 1,172 Members (20.13%)

Producers Branch: 479 Members (8.23%)

Executives Branch: 450 Members (7.73%)

Sound Branch: 418 Members (7.18%)

Writers Branch: 378 Members (6.49%)

Directors Branch: 377 Members (6.47%)

Public Relations Branch: 377 Members (6.47%)

Art Directors Branch: 367 Members (6.3%)

Short Films and Featured Animation Branch: 366 Members (6.1%)

Visual Effects Branch: 323 Members (5.55%)

Music Branch: 232 Members (3.98%)

Cinematographers Branch: 228 Members (3.92%)

Film Editors Branch: 224 Members (3.85%)

Documentary Branch: 166 Members (2.85%)

Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch: 121 Members (2.08%)

Who do you think will walk away with the big prize? Do you think a smaller film like Nebraska or Her could show up as a surprise winner?

© 2018 by Scottie Knollin.