Barry Jenkins cements himself as an essential voice with "If Beale Street Could Talk"                "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" is the best animated film of the year                Snubs and surprises mark the Screen Actors Guild nominations as "A Star Is Born" leads the way                2018 Critics Choice nominations led by Yorgos Lanthimos' "The Favourite"                Nicole Kidman: Boy Erased and Destroyer - Hollywood Film Tribute                “Beautiful Boy” – Timothée Chalamet: Hollywood Film Tribute                “First Man” by Damien Chazelle: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy - Hollywood Film Tribute                Natalie Portman shines in the otherwise confounding "Vox Lux"                Golden Globe nominations announced! "Vice" leads the charge!                “Green Book” - Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali: Hollywood Film Tribute                "Mary Queen of Scots" can't live up to its royal lineage                "Ben Is Back" sees father and filmmaker Peter Hedges direct his son Lucas Hedges to a brilliant performance                Hollywood Film Tribute: GLENN CLOSE for her excellent performances                A final crack at Golden Globe nominations before Thursday's announcement                “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Once Upon a Deadpool”: Films to see in December        

Can we learn anything by looking at an Oscar voter’s ballot?


Tomorrow, ballots will be due for the 90th Academy Awards, with the results obviously to come on Sunday evening. Between now and then, voters will be rushing to turn in their final selections, with the remaining days a literal waiting game. The Film Independent Spirit Awards will be on Saturday, but they won’t be able to have any impact on the race. This is the clock at 11:59PM, as it were. Final predictions of mine will come at the end of the week, with some further analysis in the lead up, but today, I’m doing something that a lot of sites do these days, which is to look at what an actual voter has chosen. Fun, right?

Below you will see the choices that one member of the Academy has made. We’re going to get into how important or unimportant this is after, but we can start with this exercise. I’ve been talking with voters all season long, as always, but this is the ballot of one anonymous Oscar voter to share with you. Much like last year proved, this is hardly indicative of the entire membership, but any possible inside information is always appreciate in trying to crack the Oscar code. That being said, here is what they’re voting for, or more specifically, what they’ve said they’re voting for, as it’s possible some last minute switches could be made before tomorrow:

ACTOR —- GARY OLDMAN
ACTRESS —- FRANCIS McDORMAND (though I’m torn between her and Margot Robbie)
SUPPORTING ACTOR — SAM ROCKWELL
SUPPORTING ACTRESS — ALLISON JANNEY
ANIMATED FEATURE —– THE BREADWINNER (but it’s going to be Coco)
CINEMATOGRAPHY —– BLADE RUNNER
COSTUME DESIGN —- PHANTOM THREAD
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE —- ICARUS
DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT —- HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405
FILM EDITING —- I, TONYA
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM —– THE INSULT
MAKE-UP AND HAIRSTYLE —- DARKEST HOUR
ORIGINAL SCORE —- PHANTOM THREAD (anyone’s guess)
ORIGINAL SCORE —– THIS IS ME (it may be Remember me but I hate that song)
PRODUCTION DESIGN —- THE SHAPE OF WATER
ANIMATED SHORT FILM —- NEGATIVE SPACE
LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM —– WATU WOTE / ALL OF US
SOUND EDITING —- STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
SOUND MIXING —- STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
VISUAL EFFECTS —- WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (though it could be Blade Runner 2049)
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY —– CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY — THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
BEST DIRECTOR —- GUILLERMO DEL TORO (only because Martin McDonough didn’t get nominated — and I thought The Shape of Water was a bit more powerful then Lady Bird)
BEST PICTURE —- THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (only because I, Tonya didn’t get nominated)

Next you can see their ranking of the nine Best Picture nominees, with some explanation as to why certain things are perhaps lower than they would be, just going by personal preference:

NOW BARE IN MIND ——– I DON’T —- NOT —– LIKE GET OUT (that’s of course meaning that I didn’t think it was a bad picture at all —– just not a Best Picture) ——– so I didn’t put it up there like everyone else seems to as far as this groundbreaking portrait of social significance. So I’m rating these by my own opinion. So Get Out is probably number three in reality —– and Dunkirk would be ahead of Darkest Hour. Phantom Thread I thought was so deadly slow – but the ending is SOOO PERFECT it could only be that way because the rest of the picture was the way it was —- otherwise I would have put it below Get Out.

1. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
2. THE SHAPE OF WATER
3. DARKEST HOUR
4. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
5. LADY BIRD
6. PHANTOM THREAD
7. THE POST
8. DUNKIRK
9. GET OUT


For comparison, when I did this last year, the ranking from an Oscar voter was as follows:

1. La La Land
2. Hell or High Water
3. Hidden Figures
4. Manchester by the Sea
5. Hacksaw Ridge
6. Moonlight
7. Lion
8. Arrival
9. Fences

Now, what does this potentially tell us? Well, and keeping in mind that this voter is not representing the entirety of the Academy, the ballot suggests that the presumed frontrunners in all of the big eight categories will win on Sunday. This presumes that Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri bests Get Out and The Shape of Water in Picture (along with Original Screenplay). In terms of potential outliers, there’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi over Dunkirk in both Sound categories, along with The Breadwinner over certain victor Coco in Animated Feature. Aside from that, this could more or less be the results, including a potential Foreign Language upset with The Insult.

I think that polling Oscar voters is an interesting exercise, but there’s such a difference between types of voters and potentially among the newer members that it’s hard to claim anything too indicative about what might happen. In the end, it’s all about trying to figure out how all the factors come to play together. In a few days, you’ll see my final predictions for the Academy Awards, where I take all of the information I’ve gathered and decide at last who and what will be winning this weekend. Sit tight, we just might be in for one of the most unpredictable ceremonies in recent memory…


Stay tuned for final predictions later on this week!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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