Posts Tagged ‘oscars’

Monday Medley

What we read while Billy Crystal sang…

Oscarpalooza: Previews and Predictions

Even though Cablevision’s dispute with ABC means that I, along with several other million people in the NY-NJ area, will not be able to watch the Oscars, NPI’s Oscarpalooza carries on with previews and predictions. Of course, I am not a movie critic and, thus, have not seen all the movies nominated. Nor do I care about the majority of awards. So much of what makes the Academy Awards interesting to casual movie fans, though, is how a cottage industry of diviners and predictive pseudo-sciences has sprung up in response to the awards. Thanks to innumerable “Best Of” lists and predictive “secondary” awards like the SAGs or the Golden Globes, most people feel like they have a good idea of, say, Meryl Streep’s performance in Julie & Julia, whether or not they have seen it. Sifting through the critical white noise has become something of an art, and I’m offering my services so that those of you who would rather not watch Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin chaperone a four-hour self-congratulatory love-fest (or those of you who have Cablevision and simply have no choice), don’t have to watch to see who wins the eight major awards.

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A Continuation of My Praise of the Oscars’ New “Best Picture” Voting Process

The 2010 Oscar Nominees were announced today and I seek to defend my previous praise of the expansion of the “Best Picture” category to include ten nominees instead of the usual five. Without further ado, the ten nominees are:
Academy Awards Best Picture
Avatar
The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious
A Serious Man
Up
Up in the Air

Based on Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominees/winners and general Oscar “buzz,” Avatar, Up in the Air, and The Hurt Locker were shoo-ins to be nominated and Precious was pretty close to one. If we’re in the five-nominee system that leaves one more nomination and two NPI favorites: Inglourious Basterds and A Serious Man. One of those movies would most likely not have been nominated and would have no chance at winning “Best Picture.” Yes, with the expansion to ten nominees we get the inclusion of the undeserving The Blind Side and the filth known as Up*.
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In Praise of the Oscars’ New “Best Picture” Voting Process

alg_oscar_trophies

Back in June, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that the Oscar “Best Picture” field would be increased from five to ten. This change was partially brought about by claims that too many films that had a chance of winning best picture had been cheated by not even being included among the nominees. The Dark Knight and Wall-E were two examples from last year. Traditionally, comedies have also had a difficult time making the list of nominees, a problem that may be alleviated by expanding the list to ten.

While there were obvious benefits to expanding the list to ten, it was clear that there were shortcomings too. The traditional way of selecting best picture had been that each of the 5800 voting members would pick the top film among the nominees and the film with the most votes would win. Conceivably, with ten films up for best picture, a film with slightly more than 10 percent of the vote could win. If two films are front-runners, there is an incentive to vote for one of those two films so your vote “counts”, as opposed to voting purely based on preferences. Having preferential voting based on rankings would help to avoid this problem, among others.
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