Oscar Nominations Postmortem
Without wishing to dismiss any of the points that Sasha & co make on the podcast isn’t a more simple (and less sinister reason) why you get a lot of these snubs/surprises every year more to do with the Oscar voting system. In most categories, the branch members only really get one vote that counts in the overall totals so quite likely that Hanks, Thompson, Inside Llewyn Davis, Winfrey, Greengrass, Stories We Tell, Schoonmaker etc. were on lots of ballots but simply didn’t get enough of the all important number 1 votes to get in (for example much as Sasha wants 12 Years A Slave to win if she’d gone for her favourite – Wolf of Wall Wall Steet as her number 1 her vote for 12 Years would not have counted at the nom stage). On the other hand the voting system probably helped a loved/watched by the minority film like Her get a Pic nomination over a liked/watched by the majority of the Academy film like Blue Jasmine or Saving Mr. Banks. Personally I’d prefer voters to get up to 5 picks that count (10 in Picture) so the nominations more truly reflect what the academy think are the 5/10 top achievements in each category.
As for the nominations, pretty good list but three things are written in stone with Oscar – in a consensus vote, no-ones going to agree with everything that gets nominated, the music branch will always make appalling choices for best original song and John Williams will always be nominated!
A few examples of how the one vote system may of affected votes in the past:
In 1977 if voters had had 5 picks for Best Picture highly likely that both Star Wars and Close Encounters would have both got in. The same groups of people probably loved both movies but the number 1 system meant most of their votes went to Star Wars and Close Encounters failed to get a nomination. A more even split of number 1 votes in the director race helped them both get in.
In 2004 highly likely that Paul Giamatti probably appeared on far more ballots than Clint Eastwood for Best Actor but Academy love for Million Dollar BAby spilled over into more number 1 votes for Clint.
Same goes for The Dark Knight and Wall-e in 2008. Probably (particularly in Dark Knight’s case) appeared on far more ballots than The Reader but it got the all important number 1 votes in the picture and director races.
Finally if you look at the critics top 10′s for 2007, many fans of Zodiac had it placed behind No Country and There Will Be Blood on their lists so if repeated by Oscar voters no great surprise that those films got in and Zodiac (even if it was well liked by the Academy) got completely snubbed under the one vote system.
Dear God, is this for real? Oprah didn’t get in because they hate women? SERIOUSLY??? Oprah/The Butler didn’t get anything because she was horrible in it and the movie was a mess. Same thing about Saving Mr. Banks. Thompson’s performance couldn’t save that film.
Also, since all you do is saying that American Hustle doesn’t have black characters…neither do Nebraska (the WHITEST movie EVER!), Inside Llewyn Davis & The Wolf of Wall Street but you don’t seem to have any problem with that?
Why can’t you just realize that everyone likes what they like? And that your opinions are not the right ones? These are SUBJECTIVE matter.
I think Sasha makes perfectly valid points in general in these podcasts about sexism, misogyny and straight, white male dominance within the industry but I do think she may have been a little unfair at the top of the show in implying (to me) that some of the snubs were down to anti-women bias. For example disappointing to see Schoonmaker not nominated for editing Wolf Of Wall Street but she has the joint most wins and second most nominations in the entire history of the category so it would seem unjust to accuse the branch of sexism (and plenty of women have been nominated and won in the category since the early forties). People liked Saving Mr. Banks but didn’t love it so no great shock that under the one vote system it didn’t get in for screenplay and as for Stories We Tell the academy has a long history of snubbing documentary front-runners (Roger & Me, Crumb, Hoop Dreams) regardless of the sex of their makers.
Sorry, forgot to include Oprah in that reply. Again I think if actors got 5 votes that counted she would have probably got in but was anyone really saying she delivered the BEST supporting actress performance of the year so no great surprise she didn’t get enough number one votes to get in.
Fred, The Butler is not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s an outdated style of filmmaking that certainly will not appeal to a majority of people under 40, but your dismissal of it is wrongheaded. It’s exactly the kind of movie that the oldies at AMPAS would go for, so why wouldn’t it? I’m not ready to say it’s Oprah hate that caused it, but are you really going to sit there and say with a straight face there aren’t large numbers of people who don’t reject Oprah mostly because she’s a strong, powerful woman who isn’t afraid to prove it?
Love or hate The Butler, but to deny the resistance to Oprah guts much of your credibility.
It will never happen, but wouldn’t it be ironic if Cate Blanchett lost to Amy Adams AND both Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence won as well?!?!? I believe that would be the first time a film won actress and both supporting categories since Streetcar Named Desire, the film which Blue Jasmine is being compared to… Just a thought.
Also get the feeling that Sasha, Craig & Ryan needn’t worry too much about the Hustle win. Methinks they’ll be jolly at the end of Oscar night.
With the caveat that this year feels like a year when the unexpected could happen, as I said in the most recent podcast (based on the new PGA/DGA info, I’m ready to stick a fork in American Hustle and gladly.
I was thrilled when Sally Hawkins made it! Why is it misogynist to not give Oprah a nomination? Isn’t it possible that they just didn’t find The Butler to be that great of a movie not worthy of accolades?
Yes, there could be perfectly reasonable and artistic reasons to have not nominated The Butler, but it DOES seem like a movie Oscar would go for. Hell, The Help (which I personally hated) got a tone of traction and The Butler is superior to it in every way. And there is this inexplicable aversion to Oprah that can’t be denied. I don’t get it, but I suspect there’s a few people who wouldn’t even admit it to themselves that they don’t like her because she’s an uppity n—-r. And a woman on top of that who isn’t willing to scrape and bow to make us white people feel comfortable.
I thought she was terrific in The Butler and that she fit the movie’s slightly stylized melodrama perfectly.
Bravo to Craig’s comments at the end of the podcast!
Jack, I posted this comment last week, but I think somehow it got lost, I’m curious what my comments you’re referring to were. I can’t stand to hear my own voice so I rarely know what I said made it into the final Oscar Podcast edit and what doesn’t.
One of my coworkers is a proud, intelligent black woman age 55 who has no desire whatsoever to see 12YAS. She has no doubt that its a quality film. And Im sure shed be happy if it won. But like Michael said in the podcast, a lot of AA men and women have moved on from slavery. She believes that this type of movie is “important”, but also depressing, and she doesnt want to go there.
She would rather be entertained; and shes a huge movie fan of all genres. In fact, one of her favorite films this year was Philomena! She loved it. Made her cry. My point is that not everybody, no matter what race, sex, age they are isgoing to rally over 1 movie because of an Oscar narrative.
It really is true … Most voters will vote for what they like. Having said all of this, I cant inagine anyone loving American Hustle. And to be perfectly honest, I have yet to encounter anyone who has not been disappointed by that movie.
John I swear to you I had a long thoughtful response to your comment but somehow it got lost. I don’t know if there was a glich or something got lost in the transition between themes. I’m not sure I can recreate my response, but I value your opinion and if you’re still interested in having a conversation about it, write me at craig (at) livingincinema (dot) com
Mic Check, 1-2-1-2, check check. Just playin’.
Your style is really unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this blog.