September 26, 2016

Oscar voters “profoundly confused” by new ballots


By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: When the Academy shifted its rules regarding the Best Picture race – making it a more fluid process while eliminating the minimum number of films that might make it into the competition – those tracking the annual Oscar marathon predicted confusion once the ballots were in voters’ hands.

As such, THR Oscarologist Scott Feinberg now says that Academy members he’s hearing from are “profoundly confused by the new voting system,” which asks them to pick only five films for Best Picture, even though there could end up being as many as 10 (or as few as five) nominated.

“The reason that voters are only being asked to name five films instead of 10 is that the current ‘preferential’ voting system rewards films that appear highly on the most ballots, not films that merely appear somewhere on the most ballots,” Feinberg explains in his piece. “In other words, it seeks to identify films that many people love, not that most people like.”

This, as I’ve always feared, will cost a film that voters might like, but not enough to put it high on their ballot. A film will have to be universally supported to get into the as-yet-undetermined number of Best Picture slots.

“On most ballots, the number one movie carries the real weight, although second and third choices could well come into play. Fourth and fifth choices will play a much more minimal role in the selection process,” fellow THR reporter Gregg Kilday wrote.

Hopefully there won’t be a deserving film sitting on the outside of the Oscar race looking in. Will this new system introduce the “twist” the Academy desires, or cost a film that many like but might not love as strongly as they need to in order to get it into the competition?

Awards Alley brings you the best Oscar coverage. Click below to read our exclusive interviews with:
Harvey Weinstein
– The cast of “The Artist.”
Kenneth Branagh for “My Week With Marilyn.”
Sir Ben Kingsley and Chloe Grace Moretz for “Hugo.”
Tilda Swinton for “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”
David Fincher, Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara on “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”
Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer for “The Help.”
Tate Taylor for “The Help.”
Gavin O’Connor for “Warrior.”
Gary Oldman and Colin Firth for “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”
Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody for “Young Adult.”
Steve McQueen for “Shame.”
Glenn Close for “Albert Nobbs.”
Seth Rogen and Will Reiser for “50/50.”

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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