In the wake of the change from five to ten nominees for the Best Picture category at next year's Oscars,the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made a further change to the rules. Voters will now use preferential voting - basically, ranking the films in order - for the final round of balloting as well as that used in earlier stages.
This system was previously used from 1934-1945, but then fell out of use. Since 1945 the final ballot has simply seen voters mark an X next to their favourite of the nominees, but as Indiana Jones explained in Last Crusade, X never, ever, marks the spot - so from now on they'll have to place the nominees in order. Assuming that they can all get their head around the change, this should in theory lead to the film that gets the broadest love behind it getting the big prize.
Will this result in much of a change? It's hard to say. In a year like 2006, where Crash beat the much-loved Brokeback Mountain and it's generally thought that the vote was pretty close, it might've made a difference. Where there's a juggernaut like Titanic or The Return of the King, we're not so sure. Still, we'll be watching out for any changes or upsets with interest.