How a movie plays at official Academy screenings(which take place every weekend) is crucial--although not entirely predictive. Even if members like a Bond movie, that doesn't mean they'll wind up voting for it. I love sitting in the plush red theater surrounded by voters of every stripe, who tend to be over 50. They watch each movie with a fierce intensity. They're checking out every aspect--production design, acting, writing, costumes, cinematography, editing, score, sound, etc. And they ALWAYS sit through all the credits.
One attendee reported:
Packed room. Packed. Perfect audience for it -- interested in the high-speed evolution of culture, probably more than a few veterans of similar battles for credit and acceptance, educated and appreciative of the word (of which the screenplay has so many so well made) and the fluid assured scope of the direction. Lots of spots of laughter (Doug Urbanski sold Larry Summers perfectly). The energy in the movie fed the crowd as it made its way across Wilshire to parking. It's enough to make you feel young again.
Full House. Played well, but I don't think it's emotionally satisfying enough for us old folks. Not the kind of ovation a Best Picture gets. How cute is Armand Hammer's grandson, the Winklevoss twins"?