Earlier today I was invited to attend the Vanity Fair Oscar blogger panel at WeWork, Hollywood, a very comfortable social workspace where, for a monthly fee, you can sit and wi-fi. Free food and drink. You’ve likely seen some of these places pop up around big cities – for anyone who works at home, this affords you kind of mixed experience between a library and high end coffee shop.
The subject of the discussion was “do Oscar predictions matter?” It was moderated by Mike Hogan Digital Director at Vanity Fair and included Anne Thompson, Dave Karger, Pete Hammond, Kyle Buchanan, and Krista Smith. Peggy Siegel also joined the group, giving the majority slightly to the women. While we bloggers and journalists can give insights on the race itself, Siegel is the one who really knows the voters best considering she is at almost every major gathering in town. Siegel was the one, I thought, who could offer the best insights into what the buzz was. Sure, Pete Hammond talks to voters, so does Anne Thompson, Dave Karger and Scott Feinberg. But Siegel talks to them not from the perspective of a journalist, but from the perspective of someone they see and know socially.
There was an Academy member there, Bruce Feldman, known to Anne, Pete and Peggy. Feldman really does appear as you’d imagine any Academy member would: middle-aged, white male. He was not liking anything I said, being that I was the only member of the panel critical of the Academy’s choices. We did start with Citizen Kane, after all. He kept rolling his eyes and shaking his head, so much so that everyone on the panel noticed. After a while we started to make jokes about him. “I’m an Academy member,” he said to me at one point. “I don’t agree with anything you’re saying.” “I am not surprised that you don’t,” I said back.