Tuesday, 1 September 2009

And The Academy Goes To...

By now if you’ve been following Oscar news you would have heard that there have been some new changes to the choosing of the best picture winner. The preferential system which is used for choosing the nominees is now being used for picking the actual winner too. Read more on what the system is about.
I am very against this decision. I would not have liked them ranking the nominees when there were five to choose from. For argument’s sake though, it’s relatively simple for you to rank them from least favourite to most favourite. But if you get five more jeans ranking becomes more difficult because you’re working with twice the number which could take twice the time, perhaps more. The members of the Academy are not robots. They’re human. Of the list of ten nominees, there will probably be about three that they’re passionate about [give or take]. After ranking the first two or three, do you really think that they’re going to sit down and weigh the strengths of the remaining seven films? Take for example the year is 2004 and assume the top ten films in addition to Million Dollar Baby, The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Sideways, Ray are Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Hotel Rwanda, Vera Drake, Collateral, Birth…just hypothetically. A voter is passionate for the unusual fare so his top three goes – Eternal Sunshine, Birth, Sideways…he’s left wondering how to rank the remaining seven. Major problem. Hmmm, Scorsese is due let me rank him fourth. Tick. That Kate Winslet chick is hot. Let me vote for her flick. Tick. And so it continues. How many voters will sit down and say…let me measure the aesthetic strengths of The Aviator against Vera Drake…which has the stronger screenplay etc…? Not many. The Academy is demanding too much from their voters and the voters are not going to put any troublesome amount of time into this.
Let me continue. I can’t be sure what the voting looked like when The Departed won the Oscar. But let’s say the distribution was like this if there were ten nominees.
The Departed – 19%, Little Miss Sunshine – 17%, Babel – 14%, Dreamgirls – 12%, Letters From Iwo Jima – 11%, Pan’s Labyrinth – 8%, Volver – 6%, Blood Diamond – 5%, Little Children – 5%, %, The Queen – 3%
Now let’s assume that everyone who voted for The Queen, Blood Diamond and Little Children has their second choices divided between Dreamgirls and Babel 2:1. Dreamgirls now has 21% votes and Babel now has 19%. The voting could go on thus and eventually Babel or Dreamgirls could become the winner because even though the most people want The Departed as their number one it’s not the second choice of many. It may seem like a long shot but it’s very possible. Now films in the same genre are going to get lucky. I like gory films so No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood are my top 2. Films like Atonement may have many number ones, but people liking other films won’t have it as their third or second choices. I’m not saying that this is how it went down. But it’s definitely worrying. And I don’t like it one bit.
I really don’t think that this is a good idea. The most they should have done is let voters rank they’re top two and even that’s too much. Why mess with the entire history of the Academy. It’s supposed to be voters voting for their best picture…now it’s turning into the most popular.
This is just my two cents on the issue...what are your thoughts?

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