The Oscars (earlier known as The Academy Award) is the main movie award in the United States and one of the most prestigious awards in the world. It is the oldest award in the world in the media, but it still remains one of the most significant awards in the world of cinema. It is awarded annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) at the ceremony, which traditionally takes place in late February or early March at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles (United States).
The feature of this award is that unlike most film festivals, The Oscars are awarded based on the results of the popular vote of the Academy members, and are not chosen by the jury. The candidates for the award are nominated by the workers of the film industry, and the winners of the award are determined by secret ballot among the Academy members, whom there were around 6000 people as of March, 2007, divided into 17 branches. Each branch (by the way, the largest is Actors) votes for its category (actors choose the best actress and actor, scriptwriters chose the best screenwriter, etc.).