Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Tribeca Film Festival Matches George Lucas with Stephen Colbert: “I’m gonna tear you a new one, George" Tribeca Film Festival Matches George Lucas with Stephen Colbert: “I’m gonna tear you a new one, George" 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work The Eerie Connection Between 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and 'Tomorrowland' The Eerie Connection Between 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and 'Tomorrowland' Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

Oscar Watch: Voting for Ten Instead of Five

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 29, 2009 at 11:10AM

I'm having a devil of a time figuring out what this year's Oscar nominations for best picture are going to be. As the ballots are going out, I usually have a fair idea of the final five. But this year there are ten best picture slots instead of five. If voters had trouble coming up with their top five in the past, won't they have even more trouble filling out a ballot with ten?
2
Thompson on Hollywood

I'm having a devil of a time figuring out what this year's Oscar nominations for best picture are going to be. As the ballots are going out, I usually have a fair idea of the final five. But this year there are ten best picture slots instead of five. If voters had trouble coming up with their top five in the past, won't they have even more trouble filling out a ballot with ten?

A rash of movies that started strong but were hurt by bad reviews or box office or a lack of award group support may not wind up at the top of voters' lists: they include Broken Embraces, Nine, Bright Star, The Road and A Serious Man, which is dividing Academy voters with its idiosyncratic take on midwestern Jews in 1967. But if enough people love it, that may not matter. Here's why.

The preferential ballots are hard to guess, because it's not about which movies the voters like: it's which ones they like best. The final best picture nominations list will reflect the preferential ballots of the Academy. That means the movies that are given the highest-place votes on voters' ballots will wind up on the nominations list. If too many people vote for Star Trek or The Last Station as their ninth or 10th choice, that movie won't make the final list. That's because the PricewaterhouseCoopers folks start with 10 piles for best picture, keeping the titles with the most first-place votes and throwing out the films with the fewest first places. Then they go through the second-place choices, getting rid of the titles with the least votes. And so on through eight rounds.

In order for many Academy members' favorite titles to make the final 10, many other voters will have to feel passionately enough about them to put them at the top of their ballots. Just because plenty of Academy voters adore James Bond movies doesn't mean they vote for them for best picture. If some late-breaking titles disappoint, voters may add such films as The Messenger or District 9 in order to fill out their lists. But will they rank them as their favorites? That will tell the tale.

It's a lot easier to come up with the movies that might fill out the bottom of voters' ballots than to guess which ten will be at the top. Which titles do the most voters feel strongly, even passionately about? The top seven is fairly clear: Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Precious, Invictus, An Education, Up in the Air, Inglourious Basterds. But then what? Actors, by far the dominant branch, could vote for The Last Station, Crazy Heart or The Messenger. And does the Academy's built-in bias against animation bode ill for Up, Coraline and Fantastic Mr. Fox, which will likely turn up in the animation category? These titles might fill out a ballot, but will they lead it?

Both Variety's Tim Gray and The Wrap's Steve Pond dig into the preferential voting in greater depth. You tell me if it makes sense.

This article is related to: Awards, Oscars


E-Mail Updates