The source is an Acting major at USC. He’s in a small class of 17 people that have every class together for all four years, and do several plays together as an ensemble.
And the Nominees are: is a game that the male actors in the class made up, while backstage for a production of the play Moonchildren. It is an improv game that can be played anywhere, and a round of the game generally occurs any time four or more of the original players are in the same room, and have time to kill.
The game is played as follows:
One person in the group starts the game off with “And the nominees are:” they include someone’s name in the group, and then make up a movie title for that person to act off of. So a person might say, “And the nominees are: Jack Smith, for his performance in The Darkest Knight”, then Jack Smith would have to improvise a 15 second Oscar clip from the made up movie. The nominated player can include any other player in his Oscar scene, and they must play along. After a player performs his Oscar clip, all of the other players clap for him, and shout out stupid questions heard at many actor Q & A’s, for example: “What’s your process?”. After that, any player can create a new nomination for another player in the group.
Play continues until all players have performed their Oscar clip. Then, any player can declare a winner. The winner is not decided for any particular reason, as the game is not competitive, but just to end the round. The winning player then finds something to stand on top of to deliver an acceptance speech. It is good form to start the speech with the phrase, “Means the world”. Depending on how funny the speech is, the other players will allow the speech to end naturally, or start making up a song to cut the speech short.
New rounds are started, and the game can keep going into perpetuity. Generally play naturally fizzes out after 10-15 minutes, or the players are yelled at by their stage manager for being too loud, and the game is cut short.
This game probably caught on for three reasons. First, it allows the players to keep warm, and keep performing during large breaks in rehearsal or before shows. Second, its an effective method of ensemble bonding, as all of the players support and entertain each other. Lastly, it allows the players to joke about and make fun of the Oscars, because as actors, they most likely all have a deep desire to win an Oscar they’re afraid to talk about with each other.