THR has an insightful conversation with an Oscar voter
. What I find interesting is all the factors that go into the votes. I've often noticed the Academy giving the envelope to an an actor for a less than brilliant performance, and figured it's because they feel he or she has earned an Oscar in general. (Often it's a brilliant comedian turning in an okay performance in a drama. Comedies almost never win.) Between an aging actor and a young one they'll tend to give the envelope to the aging actor because (a) the young actor will be back and (b) the Academy is a bunch of alter kockers
. And after a few Oscars they'll raise the bar for an actor -- they can't be giving Jack Nicholson an Oscar every time, now, can they? (They don't do that for composers. How many Oscars does John Williams have, now?)
Anyway, the THR article pretty much confirms everything I've suspected about your basic Academy voter. Including that they take the voting pretty seriously, and have seen a surprising percentage of the material.