An anonymous ballot (really, after all that’s been said, why be anonymous? Grow a pair, pal) reveals how one member thought Green Book won. His op-ed illustrates how little conviction or courage people have when so much public humiliation is involved. I fault journalists with clickbait headlines for not adequately informing readers why Green Book’s win was anything but a surprise. I get that a lot of people not only predicted Roma to win but were 100% convinced it would win. They need to believe Green Book’s win wasn’t predictable. But it was. It was if you were paying attention to stats. And precedent.
This anonymous voter says the following:
How did Green Book win? I have to assume the preferential balloting [which in a close race can elevate films ranked second or lower by many voters] helped because people clearly had a lot of regard for Roma, based on Alfonso Cuarón’s directing win. Regardless, many Academy members, sad to say, aren’t very rigorous and don’t hold their choices to a high standard; the award is for excellence and artistry, not whether a movie made you feel good. Green Book is a fine enough film, but it’s not an Oscar film — period — and I’m very disappointed that so many members thought it is.
Preferential voting has been in place since 2009. If these folks, and the journalists who cover the race, don’t know how it works by now what can anyone say? It rewards broad support. That means Green Book had to be not just liked but loved by enough voters — almost all of them, folks, to rank higher than any other in each round of ballot redistribution. This is the same process that put Moonlight, Spotlight, 12 Years a Slave at the top. In a year where picture and director split, the film that wins is the least divisive, more widely-liked film.
How do we know Green Book is the most liked? There’s more evidence. It beat Roma in Toronto. It beat Roma on the preferential ballot at the PGA. Surely that might have been a clue to, you know, someone?
This anonymous voter gets a chance to complain, yet again, about Green Book not being good enough (because he thinks it’s not) but then he neglects to include the important information, yet again, that it wasn’t like Crash. Just because people responded in waves of outrage doesn’t mean this wasn’t a predictable outcome to anyone really paying attention. Crash was genuinely unpredictable. It had only won the SAG ensemble. Its win would have been as surprising as Black Panther’s win. Green Book’s win came down to more of a coin toss with Roma. Roma had no SAG noms and lost the PGA — and it was destined to win Best Foreign Language, one of Oscars highest honors, thus absolving many voters from choosing it as best film again at the top of the ballot.
Journalists who got it wrong, and there are many – MANY – are not doing due diligence in pointing this out to their readers. Instead, most of them are happy to watch the world burn because they are pissed that they got it wrong. I’ve gotten it wrong many times before. This time I got it right by paying attention to stats, a methodology that has served us well over the years but is written off by the majority of pundits out there.
The reason so many people voted for Green Book, the reason it won, is that so many people simply liked the movie. Not just white people. Not possible. Across a broad swatch of diverse moviegoers, any hesitation they might have had about the movie evaporated once they actually saw the movie. Yes, because Green Book, unlike several other Oscar nominees, made so many people feel good, and not just white people. We know that most voters vote with their hearts. But you didn’t need to consider that fact to predict Green Book — you only needed to ask why didn’t Roma win in Toronto? Why didn’t it win the PGA?
Even as we put the 2019 Oscar race behind us, we know it won’t be the last time we talk about this year’s Best Picture winner. Because so many people are behaving as if Green Book’s victory is the worst thing to happen in America since the election of Donald Trump. If only that were true. If this is our second-worst problem then we’re doing a lot better than the rest of the world. But no, there are more important things to be mad about, and the sooner people stop saying anyone who voted for Green Book is “not very rigorous” or worse, the sooner we can all focus our anger on things that matter.