Unlike recent years the Academy of Motion Pictures increased the number of nominees for best picture from 5 to 10. All well and good and considering the many good films that were out last year you would think there would be no problem picking the 10. In fact you’d think the problem would be which films to leave out. Well guess again, turns out that with only 4 days left to choose, some of the Academy members are having a tough time picking more than five according to Peter Hammond of the LA Times.
Perhaps that’s why, even more than in recent years, Oscar strategists are continuing to create campaign opportunities right up to the last minute. You might think everyone would be burnt out by Globe weekend partying but events, big and small, for Tobey Maguire, Lee Daniels, Wes Anderson, Gabourey Sidibe, Colin Firth and others this week, just days before the deadline, are luring academy members in the hopes that a vote or two can make a difference in a close race for nominations, or even for Saturday’s SAG awards.
In countless conversations with academy voters over the past two weeks it’s apparent that not everyone is able to come up with 10 movies. In fact it’s an epidemic. According to the overwhelming majority of members they get to five or six and give up on the other slots. One voter went so far as to actually send Peter an e-mail asking him to suggest seven other movies to augment their own three choices.
“I can barely find five movies to nominate. I have no idea what to do for 10,” one exasperated member told said. When prodded for more information it was apparent they had only just a few of the real contenders and many in their pile of DVD screeners had so far gone unopened.
One veteran consultant said that from a survey of 60 potential voters that found only 18 had bothered to actually pick 10 movies for best picture nominations.
Of course it isn’t required that members vote for 10 to have their voices heard, but the academy does subtly encourage making the effort. Here’s the official language on all ballots:
“In order for any achievement to be among those chosen from this balloting it must have at least one first place vote. It is important that your FIRST CHOICE be written on the FIRST LINE. You need not fill in all 10 lines. The more preferences you indicate however, the greater the certainty that your ballot will influence the Best Picture nominees list.”
With the complicated tabulating system, a voter is probably not mistaken in thinking that the first three choices are the only ones that will count anyway, but this is fairly uncharted territory this year.
Some voters conversely have said they welcome the chance to name 10 movies as it frees them to go with their heart even if they believe it’s a wasted vote. After listing the usual suspects like “The Hurt Locker,” “Up in the Air,” “An Education,” etc., one guy said he selected “Drag Me To Hell” because that’s the best time he had at the movies all year and it doesn’t matter that it can’t possibly be nominated because he has nine other slots in which to “influence” the race, as the academy language suggests.
Would’t it be great if Drag Me To Hell got nominated. Just imagine if Sam Raimi’s film won an Oscar. How would Sony feel then about taking him from the Spider-Man films? If any members of the Acadamy should be reading this (hey you never know) then make it so.
To be honest this beggars belief. They get sent copies of loads of films. They watch a load, are surrounded by films and then can’t even think of more than five films to put down. Instead of going with films they think everyone else will pick or those that are worthy (as they say in Tropic Thunder any film where the character is not full-retard will usually win) they should just pick the films they have enjoyed as, at the end of the day, that is the best way to judge whether you liked a film or not.
They have 10 choices and it looks as if many of those 10 will be left empty and those films that the studios haven’t been pushing, such as Moon, will get left behind.
God damn, I wish I was a member of the Acadamy.
How do you feel about the news? How difficult is it to pick 10 films for Best Picture? What would you pick?