Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ranking the 10 Best Picture nominees

I must be in tune with the Oscar gods. Well, at least Entertainment Weekly. Last night I filled out an entire ballot of what I thought deserved to win, not my predictions of what will win. Then today, EW online posted a link to rank the 10 Best Picture nominees in the order in which they deserve to win. It was such a treat for me to rank the 10 films by what I think (and feel too, let's not underestimate the emotional component to voting, ranking and critiquing movies) were the best.

In my ever increasing efforts to understand and learn precisely how the Academy operates, EW is a very important resource. I have previously included the link to the results of their nomination process for Best Picture. I did not participate in the nomination for Best Picture; I missed what I am guessing was a small window of opportunity to do so. I just checked, and the story and link to vote, is no longer very visible on the EW website (the link still works, see below, after my choices). The most interesting part of today's article, is that in the actual voting for Best Picture, not the nomination ballots, the ranking method is actually how all the Academy members vote (its not as simple as marking a box). I can not help but make political comparisons. Nominations are the primaries and voting on the nominees is the general election. The whole ranking thing, reminds me of the electoral college. Not in method, but in that it is not simple or particularly straight forward. Neither are as free of complexities as, this many people voted for this, it has the most votes, it is the winner. Lastly in my political system analogy, they are flat out called Oscar campaigns (complete with ads aimed at the movie industry -- "For your consideration..."). It was putting out her own ads that has dethroned Melissa Leo as the shoe in for Best Supporting Actress. The Academy has rules about campaigning. Remember last year when a producer of the Hurt Locker emailed the entire Academy and much brouhaha resulted? The Hurt Locker of course went on to win Best Picture and the incident did not keep Kathryn Bigelow from making history and becoming the first woman to win Best Director.

I completed my ranking pretty quickly because I wanted to be one of the first 1,000 to complete it, so that I would be counted by EW. As far as I can tell, I was (the story now closes with the update: the poll is now closed...). It was a secret ballot, no email or other information was required. If the follow-up article does not clarify, I am going to ask the question, are the actual Oscar ballots anonymous as well. I am also curious if all categories use the ranking system to determine who receives a statue.

Here's how I voted, to the best of my ability (I should have done a screen print, but I was in such a hurry to be counted, the thought did not occur to me in the moment). I know 1-3 and 7-10 are definitely how I voted, but 4-6, True Grit, Black Swan and The King's Speech, were trickier for me to rank.

1) 127 hours
2) Inception
3) The Fighter
4) True Grit 
5) Black Swan
6) The King's Speech
7) The Kids Are Alright 
8) Winter's Bone
9) Toy Story 3
10) The Social Network

I will post the results and discuss the accompanying article when EW publishes it.  

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