What Can We Learn From An Academy Member’s Ballot?


Ballots for the 91st Academy Awards are due in just a few short hours. On Sunday night, the Oscars will be handed out in all their glory, despite how mangled the telecast may end up. As voters are turning in their ballots, I wanted to share what one anonymous Oscar voter was choosing as their picks. One ballot obviously doesn’t tell the whole story, but it does tell a story. Especially with how unusual awards season has been this year, and how unreliable the precursors seem, it’s folly to dismiss anything. These choices won’t reflect my predictions on Friday, but they inform my thought process, at least to some degree.

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 were made before the deadline…

This is what they cited, with their tiny preface beforehand:

“This was a rotten year —- nothing really stood out except for my pics which DID NOT get in. So for better or worse – here it is.”

BEST PICTURE – Green Book

BEST DIRECTOR – Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite)

BEST ACTOR – Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)

BEST ACTRESS – Glenn Close (The Wife)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – Green Book

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN – Black Panther

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – The Favourite

BEST COSTUME DESIGN – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

BEST FILM EDITING – Vice

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING – Vice

BEST SOUND MIXING – Bohemian Rhapsody

BEST SOUND EDITING – A Quiet Place

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS – Christopher Robin

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – Black Panther

BEST ORIGINAL SONG – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – RBG

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FEATURE – Shoplifters

BEST ANIMATED SHORT – Weekends

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT – Period. End of Sentence

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT – Detainment

And here is their ranking of the Best Picture nominees:

1. Green Book
2. Bohemian Rhapsody
3. Vice
4. Black Panther
5. BlacKkKlansman
6. The Favourite
7. Roma
8. A Star Is Born

Obviously, this is just one voter, but it’s worth keeping in mind that Academy members aren’t a monolith. They often just choose who and what they like, other factors be damned. What this is important for is if Roma doesn’t take things on the first ballot. Preferential voting then would favor what gets the most second and third place votes. Roma will get a ton of first place votes, but if it’s not enough to win on the first ballot, where does it fall on the other rankings? Is it like this one, and low enough to be out of the running? If so, watch out for an upset this weekend.


As a bonus, this is what my ballot would look like if I was an Academy member and had a vote:

BEST PICTURE – A Star Is Born

BEST DIRECTOR – Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman)

BEST ACTOR – Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)

BEST ACTRESS – Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Emma Stone (The Favourite)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – The Favourite

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – BlacKkKlansman

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN – First Man

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – A Star Is Born

BEST COSTUME DESIGN – The Favourite

BEST FILM EDITING – BlacKkKlansman

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING – Vice

BEST SOUND MIXING – A Star Is Born

BEST SOUND EDITING – First Man

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS – First Man

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – BlacKkKlansman

BEST ORIGINAL SONG – A Star Is Born (Shallow)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – RBG

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FEATURE – Cold War

BEST ANIMATED SHORT – Bao

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT – A Night at the Garden

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT – Skin

Plus, my ranking of the Best Picture nominees:

1. A Star Is Born
2. BlacKkKlansman
3. The Favourite
4. Vice
5. Green Book
6. Black Panther
7. Roma
8. Bohemian Rhapsody


Stay tuned to see how it all goes down on Sunday night!

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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