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The State of the Race: Climbing the tree and finding Best Picture, branch by branch

In the circle of gal pals we’re playfully calling Oscar’s Angels, I discuss with Anne, Thelma and Susan the Best Picture race.  Eventually, it got to the undeniable truth about the Oscars: they’re won by consensus. How you get to a Best Picture nomination is broad support among the various branches.  If you have a film that is beloved by the writers, the designers, the directors, the executives and especially the actors, your chances for Best Picture rise measurably. You can’t really get in with just one branch standing behind you. Note the one director nomination for David Lynch for Mulholland Drive.

But then Anne and I got into it on Twitter.  On her blog, Thompson on Hollywood, she mentioned having met with Oscar strategist extraordinaire, Cynthia Schwartz, and that she thought The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had a great chance at getting Director, Screenplay and Actress nominations but wouldn’t get picture. We batted i back and forth. I took the position that if you’ve got those three branches behind you along with however many guilds, with a system like this one specifically, it’s more likely than not that you will get a Best Picture nomination.  Even with only five slots, you’re looking at a strong probability for Picture if you’ve already got writing, directing and acting.  That means the clout of the DGA, the WGA and the SAG are already behind you.  But probably the PGA is also in there since they still have ten nominees.

Anne said no, not under the new system that relies on racking up number one votes. I’m thinking if the direction is Oscar caliber, then the film itself will have ardent fans.  Of course, none of us will know until we actually see it.  My point only was that if you concede Director, Screenplay and Actress and add David Fincher in the mix, the man who directed the best film of last year and famously lost the Oscar in a spectacular defeat – you have a recipe for, at the very least, a Best Picture nomination.  Seems like a no-brainer to me.  If you want to be cautious about it you’d say that no nominations are assured until the film can be seen and appraised.  And I’d agree with that.  The same goes for War Horse, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, We Bought a Zoo, etc. But we were having this debate today; not the day after Christmas.

Nonetheless, I wanted to find evidence back up my theory. I’ve been throwing around the “number 1 this and number 1 that” ever since the AMPAS threw a new wrench into the works.  So I decided to look for those numbers Tom Sherak is talking about when he says they “did a study” and came up with a number between 5 and 9 as the Best Picture totals for films in the years between 2001 and 2008 — when The Dark Knight’s exclusion caused such an uproar they changed it to ten nominees.  But after they did that, they felt they’d made a mistake. Maybe 10 nominees allowed too many fringe favorites. This new procedure provides for the possibility that there might be more than five that they absolutely love but if there aren’t (and, as you’ll see below, there often aren’t) they don’t have to fill in all ten blanks just for the sake of it.

Maybe they felt that they lost some of the suspense when they widened the field.  Maybe the race became too predictable (literally, too easy to predict). Maybe some didn’t like that the Academy was honoring “little” movies and not “big movies.”  Either way, after having done the research year by year (which took me all day, I might add), I’m now convinced that this is a great system.  It’s still not quite as dramatic as five nominees for Best Picture.  I’d like that better if the films they chose in a given year were actually great films. Most of the time, they’re not.  In fact, a straight flush of excellence is so rare, when I finally got to 2006 it was like the clouds parted — a magnificent revelation — wall-to-wall cinematic greatness! Finally!

Then came No Country for Old Men. And after that, Slumdog Millionaire.  I stopped before The Hurt Locker because they went to ten and the study Sherak cited only goes to 2008.  With the exception of Return of the King, most of the Best Picture nominees and winners within than span were just so mediocre.  But when The Departed won, and then No Country won — it felt, to me, so unexpected.  So magnificent.

Anyway, check out the research below. It isn’t perfect. Some years I included BAFTA, other years I didn’t. I put in the Globes because they show what’s popular when the race begins.

First, the new rules:

RULE SEVENTEEN SPECIAL RULES FOR THE BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR AWARD

1. A Reminder List of all eligible motion pictures shall be sent with a nominations ballot to all active and life members of the Academy who shall vote in the order of their preference for not more than five pictures.

2. The pictures receiving the highest number of votes shall become the nominations for final voting for the Best Picture award. There may not be more than ten nor fewer than five nominations; however, no picture shall be nominated that receives less than five percent of the total votes cast.

3. The individual(s) who shall be credited for Academy Award purposes must have screen credit of “producer” or “produced by.” Persons with screen credits of executive producer, co-producer, associate producer, line producer, produced in association with or any other credit shall not receive nominations or Academy statuettes. The nominees will be those three or fewer producers who have performed the major portion of the producing functions. The Producers Branch Executive Committee will designate the qualifying producer nominees for each of the nominated pictures. The committee has the right, in what it determines to be a rare and extraordinary circumstance, to name any additional qualified producer as a nominee.

4. Final voting for the Best Picture award shall be restricted to active and life Academy members.

Then, this from a Hollywood Reporter interview with Tom Sherak:

“With the help of PricewaterhouseCoopers, we’ve been looking not just at what happened over the past two years, but at what would have happened if we had been selecting 10 nominees for the past 10 years,” said Academy president Tom Sherak, who noted that it was retiring Academy executive director Bruce Davis who recommended the change first to Sherak and incoming CEO Dawn Hudson and then to the governors.

During the period studied, the average percentage of first-place votes received by the top vote-getting movie was 20.5. After much analysis by Academy officials, it was determined that five percent of first place votes should be the minimum in order to receive a nomination, resulting in a slate of anywhere from five to 10 movies.

“In studying the data, what stood out was that Academy members had regularly shown a strong admiration for more than five movies,” said Davis. “A best picture nomination should be an indication of extraordinary merit. If there are only eight pictures that truly earn that honor in a given year, we shouldn’t feel an obligation to round out the number.”

If this system had been in effect from 2001 to 2008 (before the expansion to a slate of 10), there would have been years that yielded five, six, seven, eight and nine nominees.

The final round of voting for best picture will continue to employ the preferential system, regardless of the number of nominees, to ensure that the winning picture has the endorsement of more than half of the voters

In trying relieve some of my anxiety, I’m going right to the source, into the mouth of the beast, the Academy itself. What a peculiar challenge they have put forth to us. From the years 2001 to 2008, had they opened their arms to more than five, the results would have been, five, six, seven, eight and nine nominees.

But they don’t say which years resulted in which totals.  So I’m going to look back, to investigate starting at 2001.  We’ll wade through the dust, to see if we can deduce which years might have had the most nominees, and which years that might have had the least. The least being five. It helps that I started this site in 1999, so I’ve lived through all of these years and I remember the circumstances inside out. Who could ever forget them. 9/11 seemed to shake things up everywhere, even in the Oscar race.

Let’s go back to Titanic.

Well okay, not literally Titanic, although the methods would be the same.

2001
A Beautiful Mind (4 wins – Picture, Director, Supporting Actress, Screenplay; 4 more nominations – Actor, Editing, Makeup, Score)
Fellowship of the Ring (4 wins – Cinematography, Effects, Makeup, Music; 9 more nominations – Screenplay, Sound, Picture, Music, Editing, Director, Costume, Art Direction, Actor)
Gosford Park(1 win – Screenplay; 6 other nominations – Picture, Director, Art Direction, Costume, 2 Supporting Actress nods)
Moulin Rouge (2 wins – Art Direction, Costume; 6 more nominations – Actress, Cinematography, Editing, Makeup, Picture, Sound)
In the Bedroom (0 wins; 5 nominations – Picture, Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress)

Would have been contenders:
Black Hawk Down (DGA, WGA, CAS, Ace-WON, ADG) 2 wins – Sound and Editing; 4 more Oscar nominations -Best Director, Cinematography.
Amelie (ASC, ADG)- 5 Oscar nominations, Screenplay, Sound, Foreign Lang, Cinematography, Art Direction

Other films that sort of seem like maybe — David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (but with only one Oscar nomination for Director, probably not), Memento — only editing and screenplay. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone with three techs – Art Direction, Costume, Music.

But I think only two movies might have ultimately pushed through — so my guess for 2001: 7 Best Picture nominees.

2002
Chicago (6 wins – Picture, Supporting Actress, Editing, Costume, Art Direction, Sound; 7 more nominations – Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Director, Song, Screenplay)
Gangs of New York (0 wins; 10 nominations – Picture, Director, Screenplay, Editing, Actor, Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume, Song, Sound)
The Hours (1 Oscar win – Actress; 8 more nominations – Picture, Director, Screenplay, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing, Costume, Score)
LOTR: Two Towers (2 wins – Sound Editing, Effects; 4 more nominations – Picture, Editing, Sound, Art Direction)
The Pianist (3 wins – Director, Screenplay, Actor; 4 more nominations – Picture, Editing, Cinematography, Costume)

Could have been contenders:
Road to Perdition (PGA/CDG/ASC) 1 Oscar win – Cinematography; 5 more nominations -Actor, Art Direction, Score, Sound, Sound Editing)
Adaptation (PGA/SAG ensemble/WGA/ACE) 1 Oscar win – Chris Cooper; 3 more nominations – Actor, Supporting Actress, Screenplay
About Schmidt (Globes/WGA/ACE/CDG) 2 Oscar nominations – Actor, Supporting Actress
Far From Heaven (ASC/SAG(2)/WGA) – 4 Oscar nominations – Actress, Screenplay, Cinematography, Score

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (PGA/WGA/ACE nominee)

Since there was never ten, this seems to be a good candidate for the year of 9. I’ll guess either Greek Wedding or Far From Heaven failed to make the cut.

My guess for 2002: 9 nominees for Best Picture

2003
Return of the King – (Globes/PGA/DGA/WGA/ACE/CDG/ASC/ADG) 11 wins – clean sweep – Picture, Director, Screenplay, Editing, Visual Effects, Sound, Score, Song, Makeup, Costume, Art Direction
Lost in Translation (DGA/ACE/ADG) 1 win – Screenplay; 3 more nominations – Picture, Director, Actor
Seabiscuit – (Globes/PGA/DGA/SAG ensemble/WGA/ACE/ADG) 0 wins; 7 nominations – Picture, Screenplay, Editing, Sound, Costume, Cinematography, Art Direction
Master and Commander (Globes/PGA/ACE/ASC) 2 wins – Cinematography, Sound Editing; 8 more nominations – Picture, Director, Editing, Art Direction, Costume, Makeup, Sound, Visual Effects
Mystic River – (Globes/PGA/DGA/SAG ensemble/WGA/ACE/ADG) 2 wins – Actor, Supporting Actor; 4 more nominations – Picture, Director, Screenplay, Supporting Actress

Could Have Been Contenders:
Cold Mountain (Globes/PGA/WGA/ACE/CDG/ASC/ADG) 1 win – Supporting Actress; 6 more nominations – Actor Editing, Song, Score, Song, Cinematography
City of God 4 nominations – Director, Screenplay, Editing, Cinematography

Last Samurai (PGA/ASC/ADG) – 4 nominations – Supporting Actor, Art Direction, Costume, Sound

My guess is that City of God, Cold Mountain and maybe Last Samurai would squeezed in and that for 2003 there would have been 6 Best Picture nominees.

2004
Million Dollar Baby (Globes/PGA/DGA/SAG ensemble/WGA/ACE/ADG) 4 wins – Picture, Actress, Supporting Actor, Director; 3 more nominations – Screenplay, Actor, Editing
The Aviator (Globes/PGA/DGA/SAG ensemble/WGA/ACE/CDG/ASC/ADG) – 5 Oscar wins – Supporting Actress, Editing, Costume, Cinematography, Art Direction; 6 more nominations – Picture, Screenplay, Directing, Supporting Actor, Actor, Sound
Finding Neverland (Globes/PGA/DGA/SAG ensemble/ACE/ADG) 1 win – Score; 6 more nominations – Picture, Actor, Screenplay, Editing, Costume, Art Direction
Ray (Globes/DGA/SAG ensemble/ACE/CDG/ASC) 2 wins – Actor, Sound; 4 more nominations – Picture, Directing, Editing, Costume
Sideways (Globes/PGA/DGA/SAG/ACE) 1 win – Screenplay; 4 more nominations – Picture, Director, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor

Eternal Sunshine (Globes/WGA/ACE/CDG/ADG) – 1 win – Screenplay; 1 more nomination – Actress
Vera Drake – 3 nominations – Director, Actress, Screenplay
Hotel Rwanda (Globes/SAG ensemble/WGA/CDG/ADG) – 3 nominations – Actor, Supporting Actress, Screenplay

So I’m going to guess that all three of these would have made it – and so for 2004 I say 8

2005
Crash (PGA/DGA/SAG ensemble/WGA/ACE/ADG) 3 wins – Picture, Screenplay, Editing; 3 more nominations – Directing, Song, Supporting Actor.
Brokeback Mountain (Globes/PGA/DGA/SAG ensemble/WGA/ACE/ASC) 3 wins – Director, Screenplay, Score; 5 more nominations – Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Cinematography
Capote (PGA/DGA/SAG ensemble/WGA/CDG) 1 win – Actor; 4 more nominations – Picture, Director, Screenplay, Supporting Actress
Good Night, and Good Luck (Globes/PGA/DGA/SAG/WGA/ACE/CDG/ASC/ADG)
Munich (DGA/ACE) 5 nominations – Picture, Director, Screenplay, Editing, Score

Walk the Line (Globes/PGA/ACE/CDG/ADG)1 win – Actress; 4 more nominations – Actor, Editing, Sound, Costume
The Constant Gardener (Globes/WGA/ADG) 1 win – Supporting Actress; 3 more nominations – Screenplay, Editing, Score
Memoirs of a Geisha (ASC/ADG) 3 wins – Cinematography, Costume, Art Direction; 3 more nominations – Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Score

I don’t think, in the end, Geisha would have made it. It’s possible. But the pattern that emerges is that the heart of the Academy is Directing, Screenplay, Editing. We already knew that. But I do think that Walk the Line and The Constant Gardener could have.

So my guess for 2005 is 7 Best Picture nominees

2006
The Departed (Globes/PGA/WGA/DGA/SAG ensemble/BAFTA/ACE/ADG) 4 wins – Picture, Director, Screenplay, Editing; 1 more nomination – Supporting Actor
Babel (Globes/PGA/DGA/WGA/Sag ensemble?BAFTA/ACE/CDG/ADG/CAS) 1 win – score; 6 more nominations – Directing, Editing, Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress, Score
Letters from Iwo Jima (Globes) 1 win – Sound Editing; 3 more nominations – Picture, Directing, Screenplay
Little Miss Sunshine (Globes/PGA/DGA/WGA/SAG ensemble/BAFTA/ACE/CDG) – 2 wins – Supporting Actor, Screenplay – 2 more nominations – Picture, Supporting Actress
The Queen (Globes/PGA/DGA/WGA/BAFTA/Eddie/CDG/ADG)

Dreamgirls (Globes/PGA/DGA/SAG ensemble/ACE/CDG/ADG/CAS) 2 wins – Supporting Actress, Sound; 6 more nominations – Supporting Actor, Song, Song, Song, Costume, Art Direction
Pan’s Labyrinth (CDG) 3 wins – Art Direction, Cinematography, Makeup; 3 more nominations Screenplay, Foreign Film, Score

I’m fairly certain that Dreamgirls would have made the cut. Going to throw in Pan’s Labyrinth because clearly they loved that movie. So for 2006 my guess is also 7 Best Picture nominees.

2007
No Country for Old Men (Globes/PGA/DGA/SAG enemble/WGA/ASC/ADG/BAFTA/CAS/) 4 wins – Picture, Director, Screenplay, Supporting Actor; 4 more nominations – Sound, Sound Editing, Editing, Cinematography
Michael Clayton (Globes/PGA/DGA/WGA/SAGx3/ACE/ADG/1 win – Supporting Actress; 6 more nominations – Picture, Director, Screenplay Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Score
There Will Be Blood (Globes/PGA/DGA/SAG+1/WGA/ACE/ADG/BAFTA/2 wins – Actor, Cinematography; 6 more nominations – Picture, Director, Screenplay, Editing, Sound Editing, Art Direction
Atonement (Globes/BAFTA/ADG/CDG) 1 win – Score; 6 more nominations – Picture, Actress, Screenplay, Costume, Cinematography, Art Direction
Juno (Globes/PGA/SAG+1/ACE/) 1 win – Screenplay; 3 more nominations – Picture, Actress, Directing

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Globes/PGA/DGA/WGA/ASC/ADG/CDG) 4 nominations – Directing, Screenplay, Editing, Cinematography
Ratatouille (ACE/ADG)- 1 win, 4 more nominations – Screenplay, Sound, Sound Editing, Score

This is a tough call. It’s possible Ratatouille could have made the cut. But I’m more sure Diving Bell would be in there. So I’m going to guess that for 2007 there would have been 6 Best Picture nominees.

2008
Slumdog Millionaire (Globes/PGA/DGA/WGA/SAG Ensemble/ACE/ADG/BAFTA/CDG/CAS 8 wins – Picture, Director, Screenplay, Editing, Sound, Score, Cinematography, Song; 2 more nominations – Song, Sound Editing
Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Globes/PGA/DGA/WGA/SAG Ensemble/ACE/ASC/ADG/BAFTA/CDG/2 wins – Visual Effects, Makeup, Art Direction; 10 more nominations – Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing, Sound, Score,Costume, Cinematography
Frost/Nixon (Globes/DGA/WGA/PGA/SAG ensemble/ACE/ADG/BAFTA) 5 nominations – Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, Editing
Milk (Globes/DGA/WGA/SAG ensemble/ACE/ADG/BAFTA/CDG/2 wins – Actor, Screenplay; 6 more nominations – Picture Director, Supporting Actor, Editing, Score, Costume Design
The Reader (Globes/SAG+1/ASC) 1 win – Actress; 4 more nominations – Picture, Directing, Screenplay, Cinematography

The Dark Knight (DGA/WGA/SAG+1/ACE/ASC/ADG/BAFTA/CDG/CAS/2 wins – Supporting Actor, Sound Editing; 6 more nominations – Art Direction, Cinematography, Editing, Makeup, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects
Wall-E (ACE/ADG/1 win – Animated Feature; 5 more nominations – Screenplay, Sound Editing, Sound mixing, Song, Score

Wall-E is a tempting choice. You could probably get seven out of that. You could maybe add Doubt. But I feel like The Dark Knight was really and truly pushing through, like Dreamgirls. This is why I think 2008 would have had 6 Best Picture nominees.

What I noticed going back in time was that there were very specific movies that stood out as films that I know beyond a shred of doubt would have pushed through – Dreamgirls and The Dark Knight.  There is only one year where 9 seemed like a worthy lineup, but most of the time, the natural number seemed to be rest around 6 or 7.  8 if it was an exceptional year.

I looked at the various films’ placement in the Globes, and the guild awards first.  I then looked at how many nominations they got for the Oscars. Of course, as these things go, if a film is getting heavy placement in the guild awards it’s possible that their own choices could be impacted.   Also, this is the first year they are relying on the number one votes.  When they had five nominees they did not do that.

5% of the total vote is the minimum a film needs to make it to the second round as a nominee.   The first thing they do is put them into piles of #1 votes (thanks to you commenters for clarifying this).  1% is needed, I suppose, to make it to the second round. Anything under 1% is tossed.  Then they go through and they find those with a minimum of 5% of the total vote.  There is some kind of explanation about the surplus rule.  Let me quote a commenter DFP:

My understanding is after Round Two you need 5% of total ballots to be a potential BP nominee. If no more than ten movies are left in the running, those movies are the nominees. if there are more than ten, my guess is the ten highest vote getters are in. But based on what the academy reveals about past analysis that would not have happened, as after Round Two there were never more than nine movies left.

Which means Round One is the round that determines the movies over 5% or between 1-5%. The latter ones then depend on #2 and #3 etc. ballots to help push them over the edge into over 5% territory. If you survive Round One with over 1% you are still in the running.

However it is true that you are much more likely to survive into Round Two if you have 3% or 4% of number 1 votes. A movie with only 1.5% of Number 1 votes will need to be the #2 choice of many many more people to make it through.

But what I keep trying to make clear is 5% isn’t the hurdle for Round One. 1% is.
5% is the hurdle for Round Two after just one round of redistribution of ballots.
Redistributed ballots come from the under 1%, as well as (in fractions) from the big vote getters (somewhere over 10%, maybe 12%, can’t remember which).
According to the accountant’s analysis, that is all it would have ever taken to get 5-10 nominees with no leftovers.

Here is the breakdown of the branches.So what is 5% of the total vote? If there are roughly 6,000 voting members, a fair estimate of ballots returned might be, say, 5,000?  In that case, 5% of that is around 250.  A film would need at least that many number one votes to make it in.  If fewer members turn in their ballots, obviously the number goes down.  If more people turn in their ballots, that number goes up.  But it might be a safe way to look at it to think of the magic number as somewhere between 200 and 350.

Actors Branch
Chair: Annette Bening
Members: 1,183
Art Directors Branch
Chair: Rosemary Brandenburg
Members: 364

Cinematographers Branch
Chair: Caleb Deschanel
Members: 202

Directors Branch
Chair: Kathryn Bigelow
Members: 367

Documentary Branch
Chair: Rob Epstein
Members: 157

Executives Branch
Chair: Robert Rehme
Members: 442

Film Editors Branch
Chair: Michael Tronick
Members: 220

Makeup Artists & Hairstylists Branch
Chair: Leonard Engelman
Members: 118

Music Branch
Chair: Bruce Broughton
Members: 236

Producers Branch
Chair: Mark Johnson
Members: 446

Public Relations Branch
Chair: Marvin Levy
Members: 366

Short Films and Feature Animation Branch
Jon Bloom
Members: 343

Sound Branch
Chair: Kevin O’Connell
Members: 407

Visual Effects Branch
Chair: Bill Taylor
Members: 289

Writers Branch
Chair: Frank Pierson
Members: 375

267 Comments on this Post

  1. Question Mark

    I’d guess Finding Nemo probably would’ve snagged a nomination in 2003, certainly ahead of Last Samurai or Cold Mountain. Momentum would’ve played a role — while Finding Nemo was a universally-loved hit, LS and CM were both seen as vaguely disappointing, despite their few nominations in lesser categories.

  2. Question Mark

    I’d guess Finding Nemo probably would’ve snagged a nomination in 2003, certainly ahead of Last Samurai or Cold Mountain. Momentum would’ve played a role — while Finding Nemo was a universally-loved hit, LS and CM were both seen as vaguely disappointing, despite their few nominations in lesser categories.

  3. I hate it to be the one who sees tiny details, but I for some reason always do. My Fat Big Greek Wedding didn’t win a Golden Globe that year. Chicago swept the comedy/musical categories. (:

  4. I hate it to be the one who sees tiny details, but I for some reason always do. My Fat Big Greek Wedding didn’t win a Golden Globe that year. Chicago swept the comedy/musical categories. (:

  5. @Question Mark- I agree. I’d say that ‘WALL*E’ would get in with ‘The Dark Knight’ in 2008 as well. I would’ve loved for ‘The Incredibles’ to have gotten in with the 2004 lineup, but I doubt it had that kind of support.

  6. @Question Mark- I agree. I’d say that ‘WALL*E’ would get in with ‘The Dark Knight’ in 2008 as well. I would’ve loved for ‘The Incredibles’ to have gotten in with the 2004 lineup, but I doubt it had that kind of support.

  7. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    It’s outside the scope of this investigation to name movies that didn’t enough attention from other branches of the Academy to make them likely contenders for a BP nomination.

    But I’ll list a few titles anyway. Movies that have weathered well, stood the test of time. Movies that wouldn’t look out of place (I feel) next to selections like District 9 or A Serious Man or The Kids Are Alright.

    2001
    Spirited Away
    A.I. Artificial Intelligence

    2002
    In America
    Minority Report

    2003
    Finding Nemo
    American Splendor

    2004
    Before Sunset
    Fahrenheit 9/11

    2005
    Match Point
    King Kong

    2006
    Children of Men
    Casino Royale
    United 93

    2007
    Eastern Promises
    Into the Wild
    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
    Zodiac

    2008
    The Wrestler
    Let the Right One In

    I know, I know, LTROI wasn’t even a blip on Oscar radar because of slippery release dates and bungled Best Foreign Language Film opportunity. But I’m just saying, I would never have any trouble finding 10 Best Picture nominees, even in years that some people deem “weak.”

    Too depressing to live in a world where The Blind Side is a Best Picture nominee and movies like Let the Right One In get left out of all the Oscar conversations.

    Sad and rather shitty to think the Academy can look at any year in film and be unable to find 10 movies they’re proud of.

  8. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    It’s outside the scope of this investigation to name movies that didn’t enough attention from other branches of the Academy to make them likely contenders for a BP nomination.

    But I’ll list a few titles anyway. Movies that have weathered well, stood the test of time. Movies that wouldn’t look out of place (I feel) next to selections like District 9 or A Serious Man or The Kids Are Alright.

    2001
    Spirited Away
    A.I. Artificial Intelligence

    2002
    In America
    Minority Report

    2003
    Finding Nemo
    American Splendor

    2004
    Before Sunset
    Fahrenheit 9/11

    2005
    Match Point
    King Kong

    2006
    Children of Men
    Casino Royale
    United 93

    2007
    Eastern Promises
    Into the Wild
    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
    Zodiac

    2008
    The Wrestler
    Let the Right One In

    I know, I know, LTROI wasn’t even a blip on Oscar radar because of slippery release dates and bungled Best Foreign Language Film opportunity. But I’m just saying, I would never have any trouble finding 10 Best Picture nominees, even in years that some people deem “weak.”

    Too depressing to live in a world where The Blind Side is a Best Picture nominee and movies like Let the Right One In get left out of all the Oscar conversations.

    Sad and rather shitty to think the Academy can look at any year in film and be unable to find 10 movies they’re proud of.

  9. There were so many movies in ’07, and ’09 I thought were nomination worthy, to think about would disappoint me

  10. There were so many movies in ’07, and ’09 I thought were nomination worthy, to think about would disappoint me

  11. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    ^
    I know, Rashad, right? And the anglo-centric thing is discouraging too.

    When I made that pipe-dream list of titles I wish the Academy had noticed, I left out all the international films too. Because they hardly ever make exceptions in the BP circle.

    Even though we know on rare occasions they’ll acknowledge Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Letters from Iwo Jima, they’re afraid to let the “Best” of Hollywood go head -to-head with the best of the rest of the world.

    Like Little Miss Sunshine is a greater film than The Lives of Others.

  12. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    ^
    I know, Rashad, right? And the anglo-centric thing is discouraging too.

    When I made that pipe-dream list of titles I wish the Academy had noticed, I left out all the international films too. Because they hardly ever make exceptions in the BP circle.

    Even though we know on rare occasions they’ll acknowledge Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Letters from Iwo Jima, they’re afraid to let the “Best” of Hollywood go head -to-head with the best of the rest of the world.

    Like Little Miss Sunshine is a greater film than The Lives of Others.

  13. Adam Lewis

    Sasha,

    Thanks for explaining the 5% per cent rule, now I understand it all more. Didn’t realise it was only 200-250 (depending on ballot return) number ones that is needed.

    Would you think that would benefit a film like TREE OF LIFE more as the people that really love it, LOVE IT and therefore would go in the number one position on their ballots.

    Also it’s going to benefit the late releases even more because people will be turning in their ballots soon after the year end and the latest films would be freshest in their mind (and they would have had less time to examine flaws). Hope this doesn’t lead to even more late year releases as I am sick of the first quarter of the year being a dumping ground for bad films.

  14. Adam Lewis

    Sasha,

    Thanks for explaining the 5% per cent rule, now I understand it all more. Didn’t realise it was only 200-250 (depending on ballot return) number ones that is needed.

    Would you think that would benefit a film like TREE OF LIFE more as the people that really love it, LOVE IT and therefore would go in the number one position on their ballots.

    Also it’s going to benefit the late releases even more because people will be turning in their ballots soon after the year end and the latest films would be freshest in their mind (and they would have had less time to examine flaws). Hope this doesn’t lead to even more late year releases as I am sick of the first quarter of the year being a dumping ground for bad films.

  15. Interesting. Does your analysis indicate which films would have missed the cut from the years of 10 nominees?

  16. Interesting. Does your analysis indicate which films would have missed the cut from the years of 10 nominees?

  17. Ok, now the 5% rune makes a lot more sense. Thanks, Sasha.

  18. Ok, now the 5% rune makes a lot more sense. Thanks, Sasha.

  19. 2001
    Amelie
    Black Hawk Down
    Mulholland Dr.

    2002
    Adaptation
    About Schmidt

    2003
    City of God
    Cold Mountain
    Finding Nemo
    In America

    2004
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    Hotel Rwanda
    Vera Drake

    2005
    The Constant Gardener
    King Kong
    Walk the Line

    2006
    Dreamgirls
    Children of Men
    Pan’s Labyrinth
    United 93

    2007
    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
    Into the Wild
    Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street

    2008
    The Dark Knight
    The Wrestler

  20. 2001
    Amelie
    Black Hawk Down
    Mulholland Dr.

    2002
    Adaptation
    About Schmidt

    2003
    City of God
    Cold Mountain
    Finding Nemo
    In America

    2004
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    Hotel Rwanda
    Vera Drake

    2005
    The Constant Gardener
    King Kong
    Walk the Line

    2006
    Dreamgirls
    Children of Men
    Pan’s Labyrinth
    United 93

    2007
    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
    Into the Wild
    Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street

    2008
    The Dark Knight
    The Wrestler

  21. Very good article once again Sash, though only noticed the one absent film that would most certainly had made it in 2006, UNITED 93.

    Other than that, great choices for what could have been nominated over the years

  22. Very good article once again Sash, though only noticed the one absent film that would most certainly had made it in 2006, UNITED 93.

    Other than that, great choices for what could have been nominated over the years

  23. James Francis McAnderson

    I think that any film nominated for best director would have been nominated for best picture. United 93, Talk to Her, etc.

    Plus 2008 would have had The Dark Knight, WALL-E, Doubt, and either The Wrestler or Revolutionary Road.

  24. James Francis McAnderson

    I think that any film nominated for best director would have been nominated for best picture. United 93, Talk to Her, etc.

    Plus 2008 would have had The Dark Knight, WALL-E, Doubt, and either The Wrestler or Revolutionary Road.

  25. Ryan, Spirited Away wasn’t eligible for the Oscar until 2002, when it was released in the US. That’s when it won the Animated Feature Oscar. Though I approve of your inclusion – it’s such a wonderful film.

    But Sasha, I do question some of your decisions. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see whether or not a film can be nominated for Best Director and not for Best Picture even when there are more than five nominees, but I’d expect not. As a result, I don’t see how Mulholland Dr, Talk to Her and United 93 can be left off your list. I’d definitely have United 93 on my list, and in the arena of foreign language films, Talk to Her makes a lot more sense than Amelie for a Best Picture nomination. Also, I don’t think Ratatouille would have made it in in a scenario that didn’t include Into the Wild and maybe even Sweeney Todd as well.

  26. Ryan, Spirited Away wasn’t eligible for the Oscar until 2002, when it was released in the US. That’s when it won the Animated Feature Oscar. Though I approve of your inclusion – it’s such a wonderful film.

    But Sasha, I do question some of your decisions. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see whether or not a film can be nominated for Best Director and not for Best Picture even when there are more than five nominees, but I’d expect not. As a result, I don’t see how Mulholland Dr, Talk to Her and United 93 can be left off your list. I’d definitely have United 93 on my list, and in the arena of foreign language films, Talk to Her makes a lot more sense than Amelie for a Best Picture nomination. Also, I don’t think Ratatouille would have made it in in a scenario that didn’t include Into the Wild and maybe even Sweeney Todd as well.

  27. Mike Kelly

    You left Gosford Park off your list of 2001’s actual nominees.

  28. Mike Kelly

    You left Gosford Park off your list of 2001’s actual nominees.

  29. I think that Talk to Her would have gotten in in 2002.

    Ratatouille would definitely have gotten in.

    The Wrestler MIGHT have gotten in. It didn’t get directing or screenplay nods but the acting nods might have boosted its chances.

    I predict that Pan’s Labyrinth AND The Lives of Others would have gotten in. That would have been great.

    As for the movies that deserve it, both of the above foreign films did, Finding Nemo has held up over multiple viewings, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Eternal Sunshine were wonderful, and Before Sunset deserved more attention than it got.

    Ryan, what’s with the Little Miss Sunshine hate? I thought that was a funny, well-acted comedy, easily one of the best of its genre in a long time. It absolutely warranted its screenplay win. Not better than The Lives of Others, no, but still a great movie.

  30. I think that Talk to Her would have gotten in in 2002.

    Ratatouille would definitely have gotten in.

    The Wrestler MIGHT have gotten in. It didn’t get directing or screenplay nods but the acting nods might have boosted its chances.

    I predict that Pan’s Labyrinth AND The Lives of Others would have gotten in. That would have been great.

    As for the movies that deserve it, both of the above foreign films did, Finding Nemo has held up over multiple viewings, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Eternal Sunshine were wonderful, and Before Sunset deserved more attention than it got.

    Ryan, what’s with the Little Miss Sunshine hate? I thought that was a funny, well-acted comedy, easily one of the best of its genre in a long time. It absolutely warranted its screenplay win. Not better than The Lives of Others, no, but still a great movie.

  31. ‘In America’ would have got in in 03. It was possibly even 6th seeing as ‘City of God’ was such a niche pick and ‘Cold Mountain’ lacked passionate supporters. It scored big at BFCA, SAG and WGA and picked up multiple surprise acting nominations, plus Sheridan is very popular within the Academy. Here’s my guess for the extraneous nominees from each of those years:

    01:
    Black Hawk Down
    Amelie
    maybe Mulholland Drive or Memento (the kind to get #1 votes, or not at all)

    02:
    Road to Perdition
    Adaptation
    maybe About Shmidt, Talk to Her and My Big Fat Greek Wedding

    03:
    In America
    City of God
    Cold Mountain

    04:
    Hotel Rwanda
    Vera Draka

    05:
    Walk the Line
    The Constant Gardener

    06:
    Dreamgirls
    maybe United 93 and Pan’s Labyrinth

    07:
    The Diving bell and the Butterfly
    Into the Wild

    08:
    The Dark Knight
    Wall-E
    maybe Doubt

  32. ‘In America’ would have got in in 03. It was possibly even 6th seeing as ‘City of God’ was such a niche pick and ‘Cold Mountain’ lacked passionate supporters. It scored big at BFCA, SAG and WGA and picked up multiple surprise acting nominations, plus Sheridan is very popular within the Academy. Here’s my guess for the extraneous nominees from each of those years:

    01:
    Black Hawk Down
    Amelie
    maybe Mulholland Drive or Memento (the kind to get #1 votes, or not at all)

    02:
    Road to Perdition
    Adaptation
    maybe About Shmidt, Talk to Her and My Big Fat Greek Wedding

    03:
    In America
    City of God
    Cold Mountain

    04:
    Hotel Rwanda
    Vera Draka

    05:
    Walk the Line
    The Constant Gardener

    06:
    Dreamgirls
    maybe United 93 and Pan’s Labyrinth

    07:
    The Diving bell and the Butterfly
    Into the Wild

    08:
    The Dark Knight
    Wall-E
    maybe Doubt

  33. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Ryan, what’s with the Little Miss Sunshine hate? I thought that was a funny, well-acted comedy, easily one of the best of its genre in a long time.

    Don’t hate it. Just think it’s one of the weakest and least significant BP nominees of the past decade.

    “a funny, well-acted comedy” — yes, I can agree. So was Wedding Crashers, The Royal Tenenbaums, (500) Days of Summer, Adventureland, In the Loop, Thank you for Smoking. All funnier, all better-acted, better-scripted comedies — I think. Never understood the gushing for Little Miss Sunshine. I don’t hate it. But It’s not even among my 10 or 15 favorite comedies of the past 10 years.

  34. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Ryan, what’s with the Little Miss Sunshine hate? I thought that was a funny, well-acted comedy, easily one of the best of its genre in a long time.

    Don’t hate it. Just think it’s one of the weakest and least significant BP nominees of the past decade.

    “a funny, well-acted comedy” — yes, I can agree. So was Wedding Crashers, The Royal Tenenbaums, (500) Days of Summer, Adventureland, In the Loop, Thank you for Smoking. All funnier, all better-acted, better-scripted comedies — I think. Never understood the gushing for Little Miss Sunshine. I don’t hate it. But It’s not even among my 10 or 15 favorite comedies of the past 10 years.

  35. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Mike Kelly! Thanks! Fixed.

  36. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Mike Kelly! Thanks! Fixed.

  37. King Kong?

    Here’s what should have won Best Picture the past ten years:

    2001: Mulholland Drive
    2002: The Pianist
    2003: Master and Commander
    2004: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    2005: Munich
    2006: United 93
    2007: The Assassination of Jesse James/Zodiac/There Will Be Blood (what a year!)
    2008: Let The Right One In
    2009: Avatar (The Hurt Locker was good but Best Film? Do people really think The Hurt Locker is better than Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket and The Thin Red Line?)
    2010: The Social Network

    Mediocrity will always rule at The Oscars. They’re fun to watch but ultimately meaningless.

  38. King Kong?

    Here’s what should have won Best Picture the past ten years:

    2001: Mulholland Drive
    2002: The Pianist
    2003: Master and Commander
    2004: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    2005: Munich
    2006: United 93
    2007: The Assassination of Jesse James/Zodiac/There Will Be Blood (what a year!)
    2008: Let The Right One In
    2009: Avatar (The Hurt Locker was good but Best Film? Do people really think The Hurt Locker is better than Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket and The Thin Red Line?)
    2010: The Social Network

    Mediocrity will always rule at The Oscars. They’re fun to watch but ultimately meaningless.

  39. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    ha, I knew including King King on my list would raise some eyebrows. Can’t help it. I like that movie and will watch it again in years to come. I don’t care if I ever see another 5 minutes of Crash for the rest of my life. King Kong has more integrity, beauty and love of filmmaking than 20 other Best Picture nominees I could name.

    You look askance at King Kong, but then you want to give Best Picture to Avatar!? …

  40. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    ha, I knew including King King on my list would raise some eyebrows. Can’t help it. I like that movie and will watch it again in years to come. I don’t care if I ever see another 5 minutes of Crash for the rest of my life. King Kong has more integrity, beauty and love of filmmaking than 20 other Best Picture nominees I could name.

    You look askance at King Kong, but then you want to give Best Picture to Avatar!? …

  41. “That movie (my #1)doesn’t earn enough, the 5% minimum, to make it to the second round. They pick your second movie, most likely Moneyball (just kidding) and your ballot gets put in Moneyball’s pile.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, as I may be. But isn’t your ballot only redistributed if your #1 has less than 1% of the vote? I think if your #1 has anywhere between 1%-4.99% of the vote than that ballot “dies” there. No moving on to the #2. Is that wrong?

  42. “That movie (my #1)doesn’t earn enough, the 5% minimum, to make it to the second round. They pick your second movie, most likely Moneyball (just kidding) and your ballot gets put in Moneyball’s pile.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, as I may be. But isn’t your ballot only redistributed if your #1 has less than 1% of the vote? I think if your #1 has anywhere between 1%-4.99% of the vote than that ballot “dies” there. No moving on to the #2. Is that wrong?

  43. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    I never heard that Mark. Never heard of any voter’s ballot being so “out there” that it has to be destroyed.

    (Fun to think about though — some AMPAS member turns in a ballot that’s so screwed up, he’s kicked out of the Academy. I like that idea.)

  44. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    I never heard that Mark. Never heard of any voter’s ballot being so “out there” that it has to be destroyed.

    (Fun to think about though — some AMPAS member turns in a ballot that’s so screwed up, he’s kicked out of the Academy. I like that idea.)

  45. Ryan, I think both King Kong and Avatar are the only truly great and truly epic films made since the genre sort of had it’s big bang in 2003. Since the genre has a special place in my heart I love both of those films. Also god bless Mel Gibson and Ridley Scott for trying to make more regardless of mixed success. ( Apacolypto is the shit but only sorta epic)

  46. Ryan, I think both King Kong and Avatar are the only truly great and truly epic films made since the genre sort of had it’s big bang in 2003. Since the genre has a special place in my heart I love both of those films. Also god bless Mel Gibson and Ridley Scott for trying to make more regardless of mixed success. ( Apacolypto is the shit but only sorta epic)

  47. Mark, what do The Thin Red Line, Apocalyps Now and Full Metal Jacket have to do with The Hurt Locker winning. Last time I checked those movies were not in competition with The Hurt Locker in 2010 so what does it matter if THL won BP and they didn’t?

  48. Mark, what do The Thin Red Line, Apocalyps Now and Full Metal Jacket have to do with The Hurt Locker winning. Last time I checked those movies were not in competition with The Hurt Locker in 2010 so what does it matter if THL won BP and they didn’t?

  49. Sasha,
    you write: 5 percent of the total vote is the minimum a film needs to make it to the second round. After that, it is going to need lots of number twos.

    But the Academy rules you quote state:

    however, no picture shall be nominated that receives less than five percent of the total votes cast.

    So you need 5% of the total vote to be nominee, but that total vote may include #2 or even #3 rankings for the movie in question on the ballot.

    That takes me back to my previous correction on an earlier post: You need 1% of #1 votes in Round One to make it to round two. Then you need lots of number 2 votes. After that you have to have 5% of the total votes to be nominated for Best Picture.

    If a movie falls under 1%, its #2s (or #3s if the #2s are also out of the running) are distributed to movies that are over 1% but under 5%. If a movie already has 10% or more (or some such high percentage) of #1 votes after Round One, a fraction of its #2 (or #3 etc.) votes go to boost the smaller ballot piles.

    Who is the expert who explained this early on when the rules changes were announced? It is his analysis that I keep repeating from memory. I thought you had posted that article or was it Kris Tapley?

  50. Sasha,
    you write: 5 percent of the total vote is the minimum a film needs to make it to the second round. After that, it is going to need lots of number twos.

    But the Academy rules you quote state:

    however, no picture shall be nominated that receives less than five percent of the total votes cast.

    So you need 5% of the total vote to be nominee, but that total vote may include #2 or even #3 rankings for the movie in question on the ballot.

    That takes me back to my previous correction on an earlier post: You need 1% of #1 votes in Round One to make it to round two. Then you need lots of number 2 votes. After that you have to have 5% of the total votes to be nominated for Best Picture.

    If a movie falls under 1%, its #2s (or #3s if the #2s are also out of the running) are distributed to movies that are over 1% but under 5%. If a movie already has 10% or more (or some such high percentage) of #1 votes after Round One, a fraction of its #2 (or #3 etc.) votes go to boost the smaller ballot piles.

    Who is the expert who explained this early on when the rules changes were announced? It is his analysis that I keep repeating from memory. I thought you had posted that article or was it Kris Tapley?

  51. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    “Interesting. Does your analysis indicate which films would have missed the cut from the years of 10 nominees?”

    No because the Academy themselves did a study of those years between 2001 and 2008 to see how many they would have actually had. And they were right: it was only close to 10 once.

    Obviously it’s not an exact science, just a pondering on what movies might have gotten through and how the numbers might play out this year.

    In other words, you can’t look at a movie like American Splendour and say it would have been a BP nominee because the critics liked it. The Academy had to like it to too – and the guilds. So if it had many nominations and lots of guild support behind it, chances are it could have pushed through under the current system.

  52. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    “Interesting. Does your analysis indicate which films would have missed the cut from the years of 10 nominees?”

    No because the Academy themselves did a study of those years between 2001 and 2008 to see how many they would have actually had. And they were right: it was only close to 10 once.

    Obviously it’s not an exact science, just a pondering on what movies might have gotten through and how the numbers might play out this year.

    In other words, you can’t look at a movie like American Splendour and say it would have been a BP nominee because the critics liked it. The Academy had to like it to too – and the guilds. So if it had many nominations and lots of guild support behind it, chances are it could have pushed through under the current system.

  53. Ok, I’m more assured now that Harry Potter will make it in. The Visuals Effects branch alone would be enough.

  54. Ok, I’m more assured now that Harry Potter will make it in. The Visuals Effects branch alone would be enough.

  55. Wow – comprehensive analysis. I sort of got used to seeing my favourite NOT nominated, so when it does happen, I get downright obsessed about it winning. Here’s what I would list for the decade as being the best (few nominees and fewer winners)

    2001 No Man’s Land (BFLF winner)
    2002 The Pianist/Far From Heaven
    2003 Barbarian Invasions
    2004 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    2005 Brokeback Mountain (DUH)
    2006 United 93
    2007 Diving Bell & the Butterfly
    2008 Wendy & Lucy/Tell No One (great female perfomances)
    2009 A Prophet
    2010 The Social Network (double DUH)

  56. Wow – comprehensive analysis. I sort of got used to seeing my favourite NOT nominated, so when it does happen, I get downright obsessed about it winning. Here’s what I would list for the decade as being the best (few nominees and fewer winners)

    2001 No Man’s Land (BFLF winner)
    2002 The Pianist/Far From Heaven
    2003 Barbarian Invasions
    2004 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    2005 Brokeback Mountain (DUH)
    2006 United 93
    2007 Diving Bell & the Butterfly
    2008 Wendy & Lucy/Tell No One (great female perfomances)
    2009 A Prophet
    2010 The Social Network (double DUH)

  57. And do we have any numbers on how many Brits get to vote?

  58. And do we have any numbers on how many Brits get to vote?

  59. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    you write: 5 percent of the total vote is the minimum a film needs to make it to the second round. After that, it is going to need lots of number twos.
    But the Academy rules you quote state:
    however, no picture shall be nominated that receives less than five percent of the total votes cast.
    So you need 5% of the total vote to be nominee, but that total vote may include #2 or even #3 rankings for the movie in question on the ballot.

    dfa, I think the important point to remember is that a movie needs 5% just to keep itself in an active stack of ballots. Getting 5% in round one is no guarantee that it will be an BP nominee. [sorry sorry! that's apparently all wrong.] And any movie that barely scrapes in by the skin of it’s teeth with a mere 5% in round one will need a lot of those #2 and #3 ballots placements to keep its stack building, right?

  60. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    you write: 5 percent of the total vote is the minimum a film needs to make it to the second round. After that, it is going to need lots of number twos.
    But the Academy rules you quote state:
    however, no picture shall be nominated that receives less than five percent of the total votes cast.
    So you need 5% of the total vote to be nominee, but that total vote may include #2 or even #3 rankings for the movie in question on the ballot.

    dfa, I think the important point to remember is that a movie needs 5% just to keep itself in an active stack of ballots. Getting 5% in round one is no guarantee that it will be an BP nominee. [sorry sorry! that's apparently all wrong.] And any movie that barely scrapes in by the skin of it’s teeth with a mere 5% in round one will need a lot of those #2 and #3 ballots placements to keep its stack building, right?

  61. Maybe you’re right, but personally I don’t think The Dark Knight was #6 or even #7, frankly I think Doubt was probably next in line.

  62. Maybe you’re right, but personally I don’t think The Dark Knight was #6 or even #7, frankly I think Doubt was probably next in line.

  63. Not that this has anything to do with anything, but I’m still trying to figure out why Cold Mountain was considered disappointing. I guess I’m just biased – I loved it.

  64. Not that this has anything to do with anything, but I’m still trying to figure out why Cold Mountain was considered disappointing. I guess I’m just biased – I loved it.

  65. I’m sure I remember reading somewhere that only about 60% of members vote. Not that it makes a difference to the way they’re counted but does that sound right?

  66. I’m sure I remember reading somewhere that only about 60% of members vote. Not that it makes a difference to the way they’re counted but does that sound right?

  67. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    I’m sure I remember reading somewhere that only about 60% of members vote.

    “in the United States 2008 presidential election, turnout was 63%”

    there’s a phenomenon called “disenchantment” — not that any of us would know what that feels like.

    (*sob*)

  68. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    I’m sure I remember reading somewhere that only about 60% of members vote.

    “in the United States 2008 presidential election, turnout was 63%”

    there’s a phenomenon called “disenchantment” — not that any of us would know what that feels like.

    (*sob*)

  69. Ryan,

    I sent you an email to look over when you have a chance.
    Thanks!

  70. Ryan,

    I sent you an email to look over when you have a chance.
    Thanks!

  71. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    “Correct me if I’m wrong, as I may be. But isn’t your ballot only redistributed if your #1 has less than 1% of the vote? I think if your #1 has anywhere between 1%-4.99% of the vote than that ballot “dies” there. No moving on to the #2. Is that wrong?”

    Mark, it state on their rules that a minimum of 5% will take you through to the following round. After that, I’m not sure how they do it to tell you the truth.

  72. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    “Correct me if I’m wrong, as I may be. But isn’t your ballot only redistributed if your #1 has less than 1% of the vote? I think if your #1 has anywhere between 1%-4.99% of the vote than that ballot “dies” there. No moving on to the #2. Is that wrong?”

    Mark, it state on their rules that a minimum of 5% will take you through to the following round. After that, I’m not sure how they do it to tell you the truth.

  73. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    The other thing to think about is that this was all done in retrospect. If a publicist knows that’s going to be a close call they might push their contender harder. They might try to strategically place it at number one to ensure its nomination, as in “vote for 50/50 because it’s close to having enough number 1 votes.” In other words, looking back can only give you a rough idea of how it might go. It is fluid and therefore subject to corruption, like any other type of voting process.

  74. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    The other thing to think about is that this was all done in retrospect. If a publicist knows that’s going to be a close call they might push their contender harder. They might try to strategically place it at number one to ensure its nomination, as in “vote for 50/50 because it’s close to having enough number 1 votes.” In other words, looking back can only give you a rough idea of how it might go. It is fluid and therefore subject to corruption, like any other type of voting process.

  75. Sasha,

    This is really cool. I like how you officially break down the potential nominees year-by-year. Feels like DIVING BELL, DARK KNIGHT and CITY OF GOD, especially, were on the cusp of earning nods.

    Assuming the rules would be the same, what films do you think were on the brink for 2000? I’m thinking ALMOST FAMOUS, BILLY ELLIOT, QUILLS and WONDER BOYS were next in line. I also think AMORES PERROS should have been a contender, but I know it wasn’t going to happen.

  76. Sasha,

    This is really cool. I like how you officially break down the potential nominees year-by-year. Feels like DIVING BELL, DARK KNIGHT and CITY OF GOD, especially, were on the cusp of earning nods.

    Assuming the rules would be the same, what films do you think were on the brink for 2000? I’m thinking ALMOST FAMOUS, BILLY ELLIOT, QUILLS and WONDER BOYS were next in line. I also think AMORES PERROS should have been a contender, but I know it wasn’t going to happen.

  77. Here’s my concern/thought on the 5% thing:

    Maybe it’s my skepticism, but I have a hard time finding more than a few films to make up those required numbers.

    Who’s to say that Tree of Life is going to get more than 30 1st places?
    Ditto Midnight in Paris, Dragon tattoo, The Help, etc. Just because AMPAS members really love these passion films doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily put them at #1.

    I mean, unless various AMPAS members like/respect certain filmmakers so much so as to say “don’t worry, I’ll put your film at #1 even if I don’t think it deserves it” … I have a hard time seeing more than 5 make that BP requirement. Obviously, I’m wrong since 7-8 seems to be the average. But it’s so strange to predict when we have no clue what they’ll CHOOSE to put at #1, 2, or 3 … and why.

  78. Here’s my concern/thought on the 5% thing:

    Maybe it’s my skepticism, but I have a hard time finding more than a few films to make up those required numbers.

    Who’s to say that Tree of Life is going to get more than 30 1st places?
    Ditto Midnight in Paris, Dragon tattoo, The Help, etc. Just because AMPAS members really love these passion films doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily put them at #1.

    I mean, unless various AMPAS members like/respect certain filmmakers so much so as to say “don’t worry, I’ll put your film at #1 even if I don’t think it deserves it” … I have a hard time seeing more than 5 make that BP requirement. Obviously, I’m wrong since 7-8 seems to be the average. But it’s so strange to predict when we have no clue what they’ll CHOOSE to put at #1, 2, or 3 … and why.

  79. In other words, here’s an example …

    do you see Tinker, Tailor (a favorite to be in, say, 10) getting #1 votes from people? Unless they have some sort of direct tie to the film or incentive (which I guess is enough) … do you see AMPAS saying “oh yes, absolute best film of the year, #1 on my ballot”?

  80. In other words, here’s an example …

    do you see Tinker, Tailor (a favorite to be in, say, 10) getting #1 votes from people? Unless they have some sort of direct tie to the film or incentive (which I guess is enough) … do you see AMPAS saying “oh yes, absolute best film of the year, #1 on my ballot”?

  81. dfa is correct and his post, Sasha your 50/50 example is NOT what woul happen. And Ryan whatever you’re saying in your reply to dfa is totally not what happens. If a movie gets 5% of #1s in round 1, it is automatically a nominee. If, like in Sasha’s example, it gets under 5% but over 1%, then it remains in contention and needs other votes. These others can only come from 2 places: movies with under 1% get redistributed to #2 and so on, and movies with over 20% that kick in the surplus rule of giving some credit to their #2 if it’s still in contention or #3 and so on. It really isnt that difficult but this site sure tries to make it so.

  82. dfa is correct and his post, Sasha your 50/50 example is NOT what woul happen. And Ryan whatever you’re saying in your reply to dfa is totally not what happens. If a movie gets 5% of #1s in round 1, it is automatically a nominee. If, like in Sasha’s example, it gets under 5% but over 1%, then it remains in contention and needs other votes. These others can only come from 2 places: movies with under 1% get redistributed to #2 and so on, and movies with over 20% that kick in the surplus rule of giving some credit to their #2 if it’s still in contention or #3 and so on. It really isnt that difficult but this site sure tries to make it so.

  83. David Fincher could easily get it this year for director as a consolation prize for last year’s snub.

    And looking at the breakdown, you’ll see why predominantly “Acting Heavy” films always win best picture. There are almost 1,200 actors voting. The exceptions were “Return of the King” and “Slumdog Millionaire”

    And for that reason, animated films, such as WALL-E or Up will never win best picture. The second actors acknowledge an Animate Film for best picture, they acknowledge that acting isn’t need, just a voice. A pity, though.

  84. David Fincher could easily get it this year for director as a consolation prize for last year’s snub.

    And looking at the breakdown, you’ll see why predominantly “Acting Heavy” films always win best picture. There are almost 1,200 actors voting. The exceptions were “Return of the King” and “Slumdog Millionaire”

    And for that reason, animated films, such as WALL-E or Up will never win best picture. The second actors acknowledge an Animate Film for best picture, they acknowledge that acting isn’t need, just a voice. A pity, though.

  85. I like your selections, Ryan. Nicely chosen.

    And don’t be too apologetic about King Kong. It is a great movie, even if it’s too long.

  86. I like your selections, Ryan. Nicely chosen.

    And don’t be too apologetic about King Kong. It is a great movie, even if it’s too long.

  87. Ryan said: dfa, I think the important point to remember is that a movie needs 5% just to keep itself in an active stack of ballots. Getting 5% in round one is no guarantee that it will be an BP nominee. And any movie that barely scrapes in by the skin of it’s teeth with a mere 5% in round one will need a lot of those #2 and #3 ballots placements to keep its stack building, right?

    My understanding is after Round Two you need 5% of total ballots to be a potential BP nominee. If no more than ten movies are left in the running, those movies are the nominees. if there are more than ten, my guess is the ten highest vote getters are in. But based on what the academy reveals about past analysis that would not have happened, as after Round Two there were never more than nine movies left.

    Which means Round One is the round that determines the movies over 5% or between 1-5%. The latter ones then depend on #2 and #3 etc. ballots to help push them over the edge into over 5% territory. If you survive Round One with over 1% you are still in the running.

    However it is true that you are much more likely to survive into Round Two if you have 3% or 4% of number 1 votes. A movie with only 1.5% of Number 1 votes will need to be the #2 choice of many many more people to make it through.

    But what I keep trying to make clear is 5% isn’t the hurdle for Round One. 1% is.
    5% is the hurdle for Round Two after just one round of redistribution of ballots.
    Redistributed ballots come from the under 1%, as well as (in fractions) from the big vote getters (somewhere over 10%, maybe 12%, can’t remember which).
    According to the accountant’s analysis, that is all it would have ever taken to get 5-10 nominees with no leftovers.

  88. Ryan said: dfa, I think the important point to remember is that a movie needs 5% just to keep itself in an active stack of ballots. Getting 5% in round one is no guarantee that it will be an BP nominee. And any movie that barely scrapes in by the skin of it’s teeth with a mere 5% in round one will need a lot of those #2 and #3 ballots placements to keep its stack building, right?

    My understanding is after Round Two you need 5% of total ballots to be a potential BP nominee. If no more than ten movies are left in the running, those movies are the nominees. if there are more than ten, my guess is the ten highest vote getters are in. But based on what the academy reveals about past analysis that would not have happened, as after Round Two there were never more than nine movies left.

    Which means Round One is the round that determines the movies over 5% or between 1-5%. The latter ones then depend on #2 and #3 etc. ballots to help push them over the edge into over 5% territory. If you survive Round One with over 1% you are still in the running.

    However it is true that you are much more likely to survive into Round Two if you have 3% or 4% of number 1 votes. A movie with only 1.5% of Number 1 votes will need to be the #2 choice of many many more people to make it through.

    But what I keep trying to make clear is 5% isn’t the hurdle for Round One. 1% is.
    5% is the hurdle for Round Two after just one round of redistribution of ballots.
    Redistributed ballots come from the under 1%, as well as (in fractions) from the big vote getters (somewhere over 10%, maybe 12%, can’t remember which).
    According to the accountant’s analysis, that is all it would have ever taken to get 5-10 nominees with no leftovers.

  89. Dfa is correct. I don’t get all the online chatter about how this voting process is that different than in previous years. Sure, the cutoff is different– if your pile doesn’t end up with 5% of votes, you won’t be nominated. However, the way we go about apportioning ballots into the piles is essentially the same.

    Last year, they listed ballots by #1 votes. Those films getting an extremely large portion of the vote had a percentage of each ballot in their pile reapportioned to the ballot’s second choice. Then, one by one starting with those films that got the least #1 votes, ballots in those piles were moved to the ballots’ second choice film. Once all but ten films were eliminated, you had your nominees.

    This year, just like last year, movies garnering a large percentage of #1 have a percentage of each of their ballots reapportioned. Slightly different than last year’s process, all films with less than 1% of votes have their ballots reapportioned in a single step (rather than one-by-one like last year). Once these two reassortments are done, then you must have 5% of the ballots in your pile to become a nominee.

    Of course there are minor differences in these processes. Theoretically, it doesn’t do you much good to vote for a film that’s going to get 1.1% of the original votes and stands little chance of getting to the 5% mark. However, the core points remain the same: 1) you don’t have to immediately have 5% of the votes to become an eventual nominee and 2) being a second or third choice is still to your benefit.

    As an aside, the other claim I disagree with is that more nominees will reflect a better year for film. Eh. In a system based upon films securing a golden percentage of votes, more nominees is more a reflection of a lack of consensus than of actual film quality.

  90. Dfa is correct. I don’t get all the online chatter about how this voting process is that different than in previous years. Sure, the cutoff is different– if your pile doesn’t end up with 5% of votes, you won’t be nominated. However, the way we go about apportioning ballots into the piles is essentially the same.

    Last year, they listed ballots by #1 votes. Those films getting an extremely large portion of the vote had a percentage of each ballot in their pile reapportioned to the ballot’s second choice. Then, one by one starting with those films that got the least #1 votes, ballots in those piles were moved to the ballots’ second choice film. Once all but ten films were eliminated, you had your nominees.

    This year, just like last year, movies garnering a large percentage of #1 have a percentage of each of their ballots reapportioned. Slightly different than last year’s process, all films with less than 1% of votes have their ballots reapportioned in a single step (rather than one-by-one like last year). Once these two reassortments are done, then you must have 5% of the ballots in your pile to become a nominee.

    Of course there are minor differences in these processes. Theoretically, it doesn’t do you much good to vote for a film that’s going to get 1.1% of the original votes and stands little chance of getting to the 5% mark. However, the core points remain the same: 1) you don’t have to immediately have 5% of the votes to become an eventual nominee and 2) being a second or third choice is still to your benefit.

    As an aside, the other claim I disagree with is that more nominees will reflect a better year for film. Eh. In a system based upon films securing a golden percentage of votes, more nominees is more a reflection of a lack of consensus than of actual film quality.

  91. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Dean, Mark, dfa — you guys all understand how it works.
    Thanks for schooling me. I get it now.

  92. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Dean, Mark, dfa — you guys all understand how it works.
    Thanks for schooling me. I get it now.

  93. Dean, thank you, just read your note, and you make it clearer than I have managed so far.

    Are you certain that 20% is the number where the surplus rule kicks in? Seems high to me, but as I say, I’m not sure what the surplus cut-off mark is.

  94. Dean, thank you, just read your note, and you make it clearer than I have managed so far.

    Are you certain that 20% is the number where the surplus rule kicks in? Seems high to me, but as I say, I’m not sure what the surplus cut-off mark is.

  95. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Thanks, Mark. I was mixed up. You’ve found the authoritative source to explain the process, so I’ll stop adding to the confusion and let your email clarify the way it really works:

    Refresher: My question – Correct me if I’m wrong, as I may be. But isn’t your ballot only redistributed if your #1 has less than 1% of the vote? I think if your #1 has anywhere between 1%-4.99% of the vote than that ballot “dies” there. No moving on to the #2. Is that wrong?

    I wanted to point you in the direction I thought I had remembered. It was based on something Steve Pond wrote that I remembered reading via Brad Brevet.

    The part in particular was this:

    Under the new rules a voter’s #1 pick is all that counts, for the most part. The ballots will be piled separately based on voters’ #1 picks, after which any films receiving less than 1% of the #1 votes will have their votes redistributed. So imagine 5,000 ballots are submitted, this means any film receiving less than 50 first place votes will be set aside and redistributed based on the second pick on those ballots. Should the second pick also be a film that didn’t receive higher than 1% of the initial vote, it will go down the line from three, to four, to five, etc. until one of the films that did receive higher than 1% is listed.

    Where this causes a bit of an issue is when it comes to the films that received higher than 1% of the vote, but still don’t receive nominations since 5% first place votes are what is needed to be nominated. In Pond’s example from last year this meant films such as True Grit and The Kids Are All Right, both of which were nominated for Best Picture did not receive a Best Picture nomination based on the critics’ top tens, but both received higher than 1% of the vote, which meant the second and third picks on those ballots were not taken into consideration while first place votes for films such as Biutiful and Shutter Island saw their ballots redistributed since those films didn’t meet the 1% threshold.

  96. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Thanks, Mark. I was mixed up. You’ve found the authoritative source to explain the process, so I’ll stop adding to the confusion and let your email clarify the way it really works:

    Refresher: My question – Correct me if I’m wrong, as I may be. But isn’t your ballot only redistributed if your #1 has less than 1% of the vote? I think if your #1 has anywhere between 1%-4.99% of the vote than that ballot “dies” there. No moving on to the #2. Is that wrong?

    I wanted to point you in the direction I thought I had remembered. It was based on something Steve Pond wrote that I remembered reading via Brad Brevet.

    The part in particular was this:

    Under the new rules a voter’s #1 pick is all that counts, for the most part. The ballots will be piled separately based on voters’ #1 picks, after which any films receiving less than 1% of the #1 votes will have their votes redistributed. So imagine 5,000 ballots are submitted, this means any film receiving less than 50 first place votes will be set aside and redistributed based on the second pick on those ballots. Should the second pick also be a film that didn’t receive higher than 1% of the initial vote, it will go down the line from three, to four, to five, etc. until one of the films that did receive higher than 1% is listed.

    Where this causes a bit of an issue is when it comes to the films that received higher than 1% of the vote, but still don’t receive nominations since 5% first place votes are what is needed to be nominated. In Pond’s example from last year this meant films such as True Grit and The Kids Are All Right, both of which were nominated for Best Picture did not receive a Best Picture nomination based on the critics’ top tens, but both received higher than 1% of the vote, which meant the second and third picks on those ballots were not taken into consideration while first place votes for films such as Biutiful and Shutter Island saw their ballots redistributed since those films didn’t meet the 1% threshold.

  97. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    mea culpa

    Regarding how the new rules will kill any ballot that chooses a movie for #1 that nobody else liked — my gut feeling was that it seems too cruel that any AMPAS voter who has unique or eccentric taste would lose his or her chance to play a part in Best Picture selection simply because his #1 favorite was a rare gem (or crazy oddball choice.)

    But apparently that’s exactly what happens. If you’re an AMPAS voter who sincerely feels Jane Eyre or Meek’s Cutoff is the best movie of the year — kiss your ballot goodbye, loser. It’s going in the incinerator for being too intellectual.

    I was trying to think how the system should work, based on my own sense of justice. I forgot that the Academy isn’t about justice.

    :?

  98. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    mea culpa

    Regarding how the new rules will kill any ballot that chooses a movie for #1 that nobody else liked — my gut feeling was that it seems too cruel that any AMPAS voter who has unique or eccentric taste would lose his or her chance to play a part in Best Picture selection simply because his #1 favorite was a rare gem (or crazy oddball choice.)

    But apparently that’s exactly what happens. If you’re an AMPAS voter who sincerely feels Jane Eyre or Meek’s Cutoff is the best movie of the year — kiss your ballot goodbye, loser. It’s going in the incinerator for being too intellectual.

    I was trying to think how the system should work, based on my own sense of justice. I forgot that the Academy isn’t about justice.

    :?

  99. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Ryan, right. So the minimum percent a film can have to get a nomination is 5% of the total vote. Ugh, so confusing.

  100. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Ryan, right. So the minimum percent a film can have to get a nomination is 5% of the total vote. Ugh, so confusing.

  101. The Great Dane

    Sad not to see The Wrestler among the contenders alongside WALL-E and Dark Knight. That trio should really have replaced Frost/Nixon, Benjamin Button and The Reader in the most tame Best Picture Lineup ever!

  102. The Great Dane

    Sad not to see The Wrestler among the contenders alongside WALL-E and Dark Knight. That trio should really have replaced Frost/Nixon, Benjamin Button and The Reader in the most tame Best Picture Lineup ever!

  103. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    The surplus is where I start to zone out.

  104. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    The surplus is where I start to zone out.

  105. Again Ryan that’s wrong. A movie like Meek’s Cutoff is unlikely to get 1% of total #1 votes, so that person’s #2 or so on would count instead.

  106. Again Ryan that’s wrong. A movie like Meek’s Cutoff is unlikely to get 1% of total #1 votes, so that person’s #2 or so on would count instead.

  107. The Great Dane

    Sasha, Perdition was nominated for Supporting Actor, not Actor. :)

  108. The Great Dane

    Sasha, Perdition was nominated for Supporting Actor, not Actor. :)

  109. For once I was right. ;) Now it’s about figuring what will be #1’s (The Artist) over what will be #2’s-#5’s (Moneyball) to determine what 6-8 get in. Thanks Ryan and Sasha!

  110. For once I was right. ;) Now it’s about figuring what will be #1’s (The Artist) over what will be #2’s-#5’s (Moneyball) to determine what 6-8 get in. Thanks Ryan and Sasha!

  111. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    dfa is correct and his post, Sasha your 50/50 example is NOT what woul happen.

    Thanks – I have changed the post to reflect this. I can’t say I fully understand it though.

  112. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    dfa is correct and his post, Sasha your 50/50 example is NOT what woul happen.

    Thanks – I have changed the post to reflect this. I can’t say I fully understand it though.

  113. Tero Heikkinen

    The thing is that when the one with some 2% of #1 votes is not loved by many, it probably doesn’t get those #2 or #3 votes either, but are only on the very few ballots (on those that really loved it). So, in a way you should get closer to 5% on the first round anyway.

    I have a feeling that The Tree of Life is a good example.

    Let’s speculate that it gets 4% of #1’s. It is unlikely that it’s on #2 or #3 nearly anywhere else. Maybe same with Harry Potter, the tech guys might see it in similar numbers, but the rest are not even thinking about it, or if they are, it’s on #8 or #9 or something like that.

    So, you NEED to get close to 5% on first round. If you get 2%, there’s no way you’re getting in when ballots are redistributed.

  114. Tero Heikkinen

    The thing is that when the one with some 2% of #1 votes is not loved by many, it probably doesn’t get those #2 or #3 votes either, but are only on the very few ballots (on those that really loved it). So, in a way you should get closer to 5% on the first round anyway.

    I have a feeling that The Tree of Life is a good example.

    Let’s speculate that it gets 4% of #1’s. It is unlikely that it’s on #2 or #3 nearly anywhere else. Maybe same with Harry Potter, the tech guys might see it in similar numbers, but the rest are not even thinking about it, or if they are, it’s on #8 or #9 or something like that.

    So, you NEED to get close to 5% on first round. If you get 2%, there’s no way you’re getting in when ballots are redistributed.

  115. No, Ryan, you got it wrong.

    If your #1 is an oddball, your #2 or #3 gets distributed to a film that has at least 1% of number 1 votes.

    The “incinerator” comes to those ballots with only oddball choices, where all options are for films that don’t make the initial #1 cutoff.
    Or for ballots that make it to a 1%-4.9% film after Round One, but then don’t push those films into the over 5% realm in Round Two.

  116. No, Ryan, you got it wrong.

    If your #1 is an oddball, your #2 or #3 gets distributed to a film that has at least 1% of number 1 votes.

    The “incinerator” comes to those ballots with only oddball choices, where all options are for films that don’t make the initial #1 cutoff.
    Or for ballots that make it to a 1%-4.9% film after Round One, but then don’t push those films into the over 5% realm in Round Two.

  117. The Great Dane

    @Bill W:

    Cold Mountain was a failure to many people from the very beginning of the movie till the very end, because the big love story is based on one or two meatings between two people, who then spend going through hell for 4 years just to be united. Most people that I talked to about it didn’t buy the movie for one second because they didn’t believe the chemistry and they didn’t believe the love story because it just wasn’t plausible that there love would be that strong after a few sentences to each other.

    I heard about the first 5 hour cut, before they trimmed half the movie. Had the film just been 3 hours, I think it would have worked so much better. A lot of the film (the beginning, the love story, Jude Law’s four-year-long journey home that seemed to last only a month or two) felt squeezed together. Had the beginning been stronger and had the journey home and Kidman’s/Zellweger’s life been more detailed and fleshed out, it would have worked magic. As the film stands, it’s just very episodic with no real flow to it, in my opinion. The cast is great though. Kidman has never been prettier, Zellweger is hilarious and touching, and Portman and Law are heartbreaking.

    Could have been our generation’s Gone with the Wind, if only they would have had the balls to make it 3-4 hours long (which would never happen in Hollywood again, especially not with the Weinsteins at the helm. Remember, they tried to chop up Hero, until Tarantino stepped in and stopped them by letting them use his name in the marketing of the film).

  118. The Great Dane

    @Bill W:

    Cold Mountain was a failure to many people from the very beginning of the movie till the very end, because the big love story is based on one or two meatings between two people, who then spend going through hell for 4 years just to be united. Most people that I talked to about it didn’t buy the movie for one second because they didn’t believe the chemistry and they didn’t believe the love story because it just wasn’t plausible that there love would be that strong after a few sentences to each other.

    I heard about the first 5 hour cut, before they trimmed half the movie. Had the film just been 3 hours, I think it would have worked so much better. A lot of the film (the beginning, the love story, Jude Law’s four-year-long journey home that seemed to last only a month or two) felt squeezed together. Had the beginning been stronger and had the journey home and Kidman’s/Zellweger’s life been more detailed and fleshed out, it would have worked magic. As the film stands, it’s just very episodic with no real flow to it, in my opinion. The cast is great though. Kidman has never been prettier, Zellweger is hilarious and touching, and Portman and Law are heartbreaking.

    Could have been our generation’s Gone with the Wind, if only they would have had the balls to make it 3-4 hours long (which would never happen in Hollywood again, especially not with the Weinsteins at the helm. Remember, they tried to chop up Hero, until Tarantino stepped in and stopped them by letting them use his name in the marketing of the film).

  119. Ha! I know this is confusing, but Dean is right.

    If a film is ranked #1 on 5% of the ballots, it is in. Period.

    If a film gets less than 1% of the votes at #1, then that ballot would go to whatever is #2 on the list. So Meek’s Cutoff 1, War Horse 2, War Horse gets the vote.

    If a film gets anywhere between 1 and less than 5% of #1 votes, then that ballot if finished, not redistributed. Think of it as if you voted for Walk the Line in 2005. It is not that your vote didn’t count. Just that it didn’t make the cut.

    The less than 1% votes being redistributed protects the person who goes way out on a limb. Or in other words, says “yeah right, so what do you have #2?”

  120. Ha! I know this is confusing, but Dean is right.

    If a film is ranked #1 on 5% of the ballots, it is in. Period.

    If a film gets less than 1% of the votes at #1, then that ballot would go to whatever is #2 on the list. So Meek’s Cutoff 1, War Horse 2, War Horse gets the vote.

    If a film gets anywhere between 1 and less than 5% of #1 votes, then that ballot if finished, not redistributed. Think of it as if you voted for Walk the Line in 2005. It is not that your vote didn’t count. Just that it didn’t make the cut.

    The less than 1% votes being redistributed protects the person who goes way out on a limb. Or in other words, says “yeah right, so what do you have #2?”

  121. Tero Heikkinen

    I agree with Cold Mountain. It should’ve worked better had it been longer. The deleted scenes are some of the best I’ve seen, but still episodic. But maybe it could have been better as 3+ hour episodic drama.

    War films are always episodic, but that’s due to nature of the event. War IS episodic (it’s mostly waiting). Some saw this as a flaw for The Hurt Locker. Laughable. Apocalypse Now is as episodic as a movie can be – not a bad thing.

  122. Tero Heikkinen

    I agree with Cold Mountain. It should’ve worked better had it been longer. The deleted scenes are some of the best I’ve seen, but still episodic. But maybe it could have been better as 3+ hour episodic drama.

    War films are always episodic, but that’s due to nature of the event. War IS episodic (it’s mostly waiting). Some saw this as a flaw for The Hurt Locker. Laughable. Apocalypse Now is as episodic as a movie can be – not a bad thing.

  123. May I humbly suggest either learning it ( it really is just 3 easy steps: 5% nominated, between 1% and 5% still in running, below 1% or above 20% then redistributed to the inbetweeners to try to get them over 5% and thus nominees) or just not write posts about the calculation at all.

  124. May I humbly suggest either learning it ( it really is just 3 easy steps: 5% nominated, between 1% and 5% still in running, below 1% or above 20% then redistributed to the inbetweeners to try to get them over 5% and thus nominees) or just not write posts about the calculation at all.

  125. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Or in other words, says “yeah right, so what do you have #2?”

    Man: Well, what’ve you got?
    Waitress: Well, there’s egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam…
    Man: Have you got anything without spam?
    Waitress: Well, there’s spam egg sausage and spam, that’s not got much spam in it.
    Man: I don’t want ANY spam!

    Unless your movie has a trace of spam in the recipe, you’re not getting a Best Picture nomination.

  126. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Or in other words, says “yeah right, so what do you have #2?”

    Man: Well, what’ve you got?
    Waitress: Well, there’s egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam…
    Man: Have you got anything without spam?
    Waitress: Well, there’s spam egg sausage and spam, that’s not got much spam in it.
    Man: I don’t want ANY spam!

    Unless your movie has a trace of spam in the recipe, you’re not getting a Best Picture nomination.

  127. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    May I humbly suggest either learning it ( it really is just 3 easy steps: 5% nominated, between 1% and 5% still in running, below 1% or above 20% then redistributed to the inbetweeners to try to get them over 5% and thus nominees) or just not write posts about the calculation at all.

    Okay I think I get it. I’m not going to not write posts about it, though. The discussion is all part of what we do here. Or not have a website at all. :-) So you’re saying, if a film gets over 20%, anything beyond 5% gets set aside and redistributed? So War Horse gets 25% of number 1s. They keep only the minimum, 5% and then 20% more goes to that ballot’s number 2 choice. If War Horse is their number 1, maybe something similar will be number 2 – mainstream, sentimental — like Extremely Loud or The Artist.

    This is how The Artist does really well, because if it isn’t a number 1 pick, it will likely be a number 2 or 3.

  128. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    May I humbly suggest either learning it ( it really is just 3 easy steps: 5% nominated, between 1% and 5% still in running, below 1% or above 20% then redistributed to the inbetweeners to try to get them over 5% and thus nominees) or just not write posts about the calculation at all.

    Okay I think I get it. I’m not going to not write posts about it, though. The discussion is all part of what we do here. Or not have a website at all. :-) So you’re saying, if a film gets over 20%, anything beyond 5% gets set aside and redistributed? So War Horse gets 25% of number 1s. They keep only the minimum, 5% and then 20% more goes to that ballot’s number 2 choice. If War Horse is their number 1, maybe something similar will be number 2 – mainstream, sentimental — like Extremely Loud or The Artist.

    This is how The Artist does really well, because if it isn’t a number 1 pick, it will likely be a number 2 or 3.

  129. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    The “incinerator” comes to those ballots with only oddball choices, where all options are for films that don’t make the initial #1 cutoff.

    I know. That’s what I meant. I stopped at Jane Eyre and Meek’s Cutoff. I didn’t want to list 8 movies with no chance, because I hate to jinx them all in an example.

  130. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    The “incinerator” comes to those ballots with only oddball choices, where all options are for films that don’t make the initial #1 cutoff.

    I know. That’s what I meant. I stopped at Jane Eyre and Meek’s Cutoff. I didn’t want to list 8 movies with no chance, because I hate to jinx them all in an example.

  131. “it really is just 3 easy steps: 5% nominated, between 1% and 5% still in running, below 1% or above 20% then redistributed to the inbetweeners to try to get them over 5% and thus nominees”

    I’m hearing crickets….

  132. “it really is just 3 easy steps: 5% nominated, between 1% and 5% still in running, below 1% or above 20% then redistributed to the inbetweeners to try to get them over 5% and thus nominees”

    I’m hearing crickets….

  133. @ Mark

    i probably would disagree with one or two years but i really love your list! great work

  134. @ Mark

    i probably would disagree with one or two years but i really love your list! great work

  135. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    May I humbly suggest either learning it …or just not write posts about the calculation at all.

    I’ll humbly suggest you work on how to make humble suggestion or just stop suggesting things.

    Even if everybody in America understands how this works except me, I’ll keep trying to sort it out by writing about it until it finally sinks in for me. Maybe I’m not the only one confused and maybe somebody else can benefit from the discussion.

    Fast learners, collect your diploma and go read another article.

  136. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    May I humbly suggest either learning it …or just not write posts about the calculation at all.

    I’ll humbly suggest you work on how to make humble suggestion or just stop suggesting things.

    Even if everybody in America understands how this works except me, I’ll keep trying to sort it out by writing about it until it finally sinks in for me. Maybe I’m not the only one confused and maybe somebody else can benefit from the discussion.

    Fast learners, collect your diploma and go read another article.

  137. Dean – don’t be a dick.

  138. Dean – don’t be a dick.

  139. julian the emperor

    It’s funny to hear people incessantly whining about the Brits’ influence inside the various branches of the Oscars (like they, unlike Americans, have some unified, common agenda and therefore it is ok to conceive of the Brits not as autonomous individuals, but single them out as a group). And then, at the same time, people seem preoccupied with a lack of foreign films in the field of bp nominees (so Americans do acknowledge the chauvinistic character of the Oscars after all?)
    Ryan mentions Letters From Iwo Jima. Well, that movie only ever stood a chance because it was directed by an all-American hero like Clint Eastwood. Surely, that’s clear to anyone with a sound mind.
    Movies like Talk To Her, The Lives Of Others, The City Of God, Pan’s Labyrinth, Let the Right One In, In The Mood For Love, Cache, The White Ribbon, A Prophet etc etc etc couldn’t even get through. There is a very marked exclusion of international cinema when it comes to the Oscars and I firmly believe that if the Oscars ever feels the need (but they obviously don’t) to right this wrong, they have two options: either make the bp category a strictly American (or alternately, an english-language) category and restrict International (or foreign-language) movies to the Foreign Language Category alone. That would be a fair thing to do, actually. Clear, tolerable boundaries with no room for misconceptions of any kind. As it is, you have a category that allows for a largely chauvinistic approval of American productions, confirming to anyone who follows the race that American films are per definition more worthy than even the best of what International cinema has to offer. That is, quite frankly, absurd. The other option is that a representative group of people select the nominees (acknowledging international releases as well) and then let the various branches decide on the winner on the basis hereof. I know that is an unrealistic prospect, to say the least, so why not make the whole charade into an all-American event, pronto? That is very fine as long as it is clearly pronounced. The Cesar is for French films, the BAFTA could be for British films etc. Nothing chauvinistic about wanting to celebrate a given country’s movie production. What is wrong is that somehow the Oscars pertain to be all-inclusive, like “a world championship of movies”, when clearly it is not.
    And only second-rate clowns like Roberto Benigni get a chance to break through to the Oscars because he seems exotically foreign (living up to certain stereotypes), the movie he starred in (to say the least) had a pronounced sentimental value and/or was about the Holocaust (which has become a big part of American civil religion since the 1970s, thanks to the prospering, post-war Jewish-American minority).
    For a film lover all this makes the Oscars seem almost provincial (and I’m sure the intention was to project the exact opposite, namely being a truly global enterprise).

  140. julian the emperor

    It’s funny to hear people incessantly whining about the Brits’ influence inside the various branches of the Oscars (like they, unlike Americans, have some unified, common agenda and therefore it is ok to conceive of the Brits not as autonomous individuals, but single them out as a group). And then, at the same time, people seem preoccupied with a lack of foreign films in the field of bp nominees (so Americans do acknowledge the chauvinistic character of the Oscars after all?)
    Ryan mentions Letters From Iwo Jima. Well, that movie only ever stood a chance because it was directed by an all-American hero like Clint Eastwood. Surely, that’s clear to anyone with a sound mind.
    Movies like Talk To Her, The Lives Of Others, The City Of God, Pan’s Labyrinth, Let the Right One In, In The Mood For Love, Cache, The White Ribbon, A Prophet etc etc etc couldn’t even get through. There is a very marked exclusion of international cinema when it comes to the Oscars and I firmly believe that if the Oscars ever feels the need (but they obviously don’t) to right this wrong, they have two options: either make the bp category a strictly American (or alternately, an english-language) category and restrict International (or foreign-language) movies to the Foreign Language Category alone. That would be a fair thing to do, actually. Clear, tolerable boundaries with no room for misconceptions of any kind. As it is, you have a category that allows for a largely chauvinistic approval of American productions, confirming to anyone who follows the race that American films are per definition more worthy than even the best of what International cinema has to offer. That is, quite frankly, absurd. The other option is that a representative group of people select the nominees (acknowledging international releases as well) and then let the various branches decide on the winner on the basis hereof. I know that is an unrealistic prospect, to say the least, so why not make the whole charade into an all-American event, pronto? That is very fine as long as it is clearly pronounced. The Cesar is for French films, the BAFTA could be for British films etc. Nothing chauvinistic about wanting to celebrate a given country’s movie production. What is wrong is that somehow the Oscars pertain to be all-inclusive, like “a world championship of movies”, when clearly it is not.
    And only second-rate clowns like Roberto Benigni get a chance to break through to the Oscars because he seems exotically foreign (living up to certain stereotypes), the movie he starred in (to say the least) had a pronounced sentimental value and/or was about the Holocaust (which has become a big part of American civil religion since the 1970s, thanks to the prospering, post-war Jewish-American minority).
    For a film lover all this makes the Oscars seem almost provincial (and I’m sure the intention was to project the exact opposite, namely being a truly global enterprise).

  141. julian the emperor

    Tero: Apocalypse Now is as episodic a movie as can be imagined (which clearly is not a bad thing per se)….good point!

  142. julian the emperor

    Tero: Apocalypse Now is as episodic a movie as can be imagined (which clearly is not a bad thing per se)….good point!

  143. No, when a film gets over 20% in round one, ALL of the ballots with that film as #1 get redistributed. The actual fraction depends on how much it went over the minimum amount it needed but let’s not get too deep into the math of that because that could actually be confusing. Just think of it like a 1/2 vote.

  144. No, when a film gets over 20% in round one, ALL of the ballots with that film as #1 get redistributed. The actual fraction depends on how much it went over the minimum amount it needed but let’s not get too deep into the math of that because that could actually be confusing. Just think of it like a 1/2 vote.

  145. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    It’s funny to hear people incessantly whining about the Brits’ influence inside the various branches of the Oscars …And then, at the same time, people seem preoccupied with a lack of foreign films in the field of bp nominees (so Americans do acknowledge the chauvinistic character of the Oscars after all?)

    I’ll take this question, since “people” is apparently me and nobody else.

    yes, it’s silly to me that every country in the world is considered a foreign territory except the UK.

    Forget “language” — every international film comes equipped with subtitles, so there’s no language barrier.

    I’d have been completely weirded out for weeks if Carlos had won Best Picture instead of the King’s Speech, but it would have been easier to swallow. The defeat would have felt more sophisticated and honorable — to me.

    If you check my remarks again, you’ll see that my primary gripe with the way the Oscars deal with Foreign Language films is the incredibly convoluted filtering process that takes place before an Academy member can even be permitted to vote for one. No other category has to jump through so many hoops.

    It’s great that AMPAS members have to prove they’ve seen all the FLF nominees before the VIP committee can cast a ballot. Pity that nobody had to prove they watched Brokeback Mountain before voting for Crash. How come nobody had to verify with a picture ID that they actually endured sitting through The Blind Side — instead of just handing over the Best Actress Oscar because she was so adorable on the FYC circuit.

  146. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    It’s funny to hear people incessantly whining about the Brits’ influence inside the various branches of the Oscars …And then, at the same time, people seem preoccupied with a lack of foreign films in the field of bp nominees (so Americans do acknowledge the chauvinistic character of the Oscars after all?)

    I’ll take this question, since “people” is apparently me and nobody else.

    yes, it’s silly to me that every country in the world is considered a foreign territory except the UK.

    Forget “language” — every international film comes equipped with subtitles, so there’s no language barrier.

    I’d have been completely weirded out for weeks if Carlos had won Best Picture instead of the King’s Speech, but it would have been easier to swallow. The defeat would have felt more sophisticated and honorable — to me.

    If you check my remarks again, you’ll see that my primary gripe with the way the Oscars deal with Foreign Language films is the incredibly convoluted filtering process that takes place before an Academy member can even be permitted to vote for one. No other category has to jump through so many hoops.

    It’s great that AMPAS members have to prove they’ve seen all the FLF nominees before the VIP committee can cast a ballot. Pity that nobody had to prove they watched Brokeback Mountain before voting for Crash. How come nobody had to verify with a picture ID that they actually endured sitting through The Blind Side — instead of just handing over the Best Actress Oscar because she was so adorable on the FYC circuit.

  147. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Again, Dean, you’ve confused me. Why do all 20% of those ballots get redistributed? Don’t they subtract the 5%?

  148. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Again, Dean, you’ve confused me. Why do all 20% of those ballots get redistributed? Don’t they subtract the 5%?

  149. Tero Heikkinen

    “What is wrong is that somehow the Oscars pertain to be all-inclusive, like “a world championship of movies”, when clearly it is not.”

    So true. In a way it would be better if it was American or English language films only when non-English films are not represented even when Oscars “claim” to be more global.

    But you know, most of the telecast viewers are from outside USA (even when it’s a terrible all-nighter to watch in European timezones), ABC wants to sell the rights. Having a Foreign Language category helps…

    They used to have Oscars even later in the 70’s. So late that on the East Coast it was a night when it ended, but that was a good morning in Europe (which could potentially have more viewers than in USA where the ratings get worse and worse). In Finland the show starts at 3:30am – not the best time. Can’t you get them stars up and ready at noon in Hollywood (it’s Sunday anyway)? That would serve everyone except Asia :D

  150. Tero Heikkinen

    “What is wrong is that somehow the Oscars pertain to be all-inclusive, like “a world championship of movies”, when clearly it is not.”

    So true. In a way it would be better if it was American or English language films only when non-English films are not represented even when Oscars “claim” to be more global.

    But you know, most of the telecast viewers are from outside USA (even when it’s a terrible all-nighter to watch in European timezones), ABC wants to sell the rights. Having a Foreign Language category helps…

    They used to have Oscars even later in the 70’s. So late that on the East Coast it was a night when it ended, but that was a good morning in Europe (which could potentially have more viewers than in USA where the ratings get worse and worse). In Finland the show starts at 3:30am – not the best time. Can’t you get them stars up and ready at noon in Hollywood (it’s Sunday anyway)? That would serve everyone except Asia :D

  151. No, there’s no need to subtract. It’s a nominee. That wouldn’t be fair to pick out a certain 5% and give credit to the other 15%’s #2 votes. That way different things could get nominated depending on which ballots you just happen to pick for redistribution.

  152. No, there’s no need to subtract. It’s a nominee. That wouldn’t be fair to pick out a certain 5% and give credit to the other 15%’s #2 votes. That way different things could get nominated depending on which ballots you just happen to pick for redistribution.

  153. Sasha – I think they take them all because how would you chose what 5% to keep aside? They all have a different list of 10. To take 20% and leave behind 5% would seem unfair when deciding what #2’s get counted.

  154. Sasha – I think they take them all because how would you chose what 5% to keep aside? They all have a different list of 10. To take 20% and leave behind 5% would seem unfair when deciding what #2’s get counted.

  155. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Well that’s sort of strange, though, Mark, isn’t it? Because it kind of breaks their own rule. If you take a wildly popular film with over 20% of the vote – let’s say, The Artist. Then the film that sits at number 2 on those ballots could override other films that got #1 votes. So in effect, it isn’t about number 1 votes at all. It’s also about a popular film’s number 2. So the bottom line is that being number 1 doesn’t really matter if the film is really really popular. It could even be that those ballots’ number 2 choice also got over 20% and then what? I could see it being a mess to count them them all. No wonder they have to go through all of those rounds.

    Meanwhile, I just read an Albert Einstein quote that said “if you can’t explain it simply you don’t understand it well enough.”

  156. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Well that’s sort of strange, though, Mark, isn’t it? Because it kind of breaks their own rule. If you take a wildly popular film with over 20% of the vote – let’s say, The Artist. Then the film that sits at number 2 on those ballots could override other films that got #1 votes. So in effect, it isn’t about number 1 votes at all. It’s also about a popular film’s number 2. So the bottom line is that being number 1 doesn’t really matter if the film is really really popular. It could even be that those ballots’ number 2 choice also got over 20% and then what? I could see it being a mess to count them them all. No wonder they have to go through all of those rounds.

    Meanwhile, I just read an Albert Einstein quote that said “if you can’t explain it simply you don’t understand it well enough.”

  157. Tero Heikkinen

    Yes, but HOW to fix FLF -category?

    1. It would be fair if big film production countries like France could have more entries than just one.

    – No committee is going to watch 300 films. They already have like 60 plus to see.

    2. Language aside, The Artist should be a French entry here.

    – Other industries go global. Movies can not.

    3. Country of origin aside, Letters from Iwo Jima should’ve been here.

    – Right, and USA is always the frontrunner when nominated. Or maybe not.

    4. BP can have 10 nominees even, why not FLF?

    – This could be fixed, I think. It would attract more viewers outside USA even. It could be tied with BP, every year FLF would have as many nominees as BP.

    5. October-September doesn’t make much sense. Some films are inevitably placed in the wrong year – thus hurting its chances the following year. Let the Right One In could’ve, but Sweden didn’t even remember a year-old movie at the time of submission.

    – Well, I guess many award shows suffer from this. European Film Awards still have The King’s Speech nominated later this year.

  158. Tero Heikkinen

    Yes, but HOW to fix FLF -category?

    1. It would be fair if big film production countries like France could have more entries than just one.

    – No committee is going to watch 300 films. They already have like 60 plus to see.

    2. Language aside, The Artist should be a French entry here.

    – Other industries go global. Movies can not.

    3. Country of origin aside, Letters from Iwo Jima should’ve been here.

    – Right, and USA is always the frontrunner when nominated. Or maybe not.

    4. BP can have 10 nominees even, why not FLF?

    – This could be fixed, I think. It would attract more viewers outside USA even. It could be tied with BP, every year FLF would have as many nominees as BP.

    5. October-September doesn’t make much sense. Some films are inevitably placed in the wrong year – thus hurting its chances the following year. Let the Right One In could’ve, but Sweden didn’t even remember a year-old movie at the time of submission.

    – Well, I guess many award shows suffer from this. European Film Awards still have The King’s Speech nominated later this year.

  159. Sasha, let’s talk about War Horse. If 20% of people list War Horse in the number one spot and the surplus rule is triggered, then .75 of each person’s vote will be reapportioned to their second choice since WH needs only 1/4 of its votes. The other .25 stays with War Horse, keeping it at the 5% mark so it’ll be nominated.

    To those who say “Voting for an oddball means my vote isn’t counted”:

    First, as others have said, if you vote for something that receives less than 1% of the vote, your vote will be reapportioned, so that’s incorrect. If you vote for something that receives between 1-5%, then yes, theoretically your vote could end up in a dead pile.

    Secondly, what’s the big deal with having your vote go to an eventual nominee? In politics, we don’t say that people who voted for John McCain in 2008 didn’t have their vote counted simply because they didn’t vote for the winner. In Oscars, we don’t say that people who voted for Gabourey Sidibe to win Best Actress in 2010 didn’t have their vote counted because Sandra Bullock won instead. So why do we focus so much on having everyone’s vote in the pile of an eventual nominee?

    It’s this kind of thinking–people wanting to be on the right side of history– that leads to the lack of surprises in so many categories on Oscar night.

    Besides, in voting for the Best Picture Oscar winner, the preferential voting will ensure that you have some say.

  160. Sasha, let’s talk about War Horse. If 20% of people list War Horse in the number one spot and the surplus rule is triggered, then .75 of each person’s vote will be reapportioned to their second choice since WH needs only 1/4 of its votes. The other .25 stays with War Horse, keeping it at the 5% mark so it’ll be nominated.

    To those who say “Voting for an oddball means my vote isn’t counted”:

    First, as others have said, if you vote for something that receives less than 1% of the vote, your vote will be reapportioned, so that’s incorrect. If you vote for something that receives between 1-5%, then yes, theoretically your vote could end up in a dead pile.

    Secondly, what’s the big deal with having your vote go to an eventual nominee? In politics, we don’t say that people who voted for John McCain in 2008 didn’t have their vote counted simply because they didn’t vote for the winner. In Oscars, we don’t say that people who voted for Gabourey Sidibe to win Best Actress in 2010 didn’t have their vote counted because Sandra Bullock won instead. So why do we focus so much on having everyone’s vote in the pile of an eventual nominee?

    It’s this kind of thinking–people wanting to be on the right side of history– that leads to the lack of surprises in so many categories on Oscar night.

    Besides, in voting for the Best Picture Oscar winner, the preferential voting will ensure that you have some say.

  161. “Well that’s sort of strange, though, Mark, isn’t it? Because it kind of breaks their own rule.”

    Their rules often suck. :) See: Documentary, Foreign, (and especially) Original Song rules of eligibility.

    I dislike the Over rule entirely. The rest I actually like a lot.

  162. “Well that’s sort of strange, though, Mark, isn’t it? Because it kind of breaks their own rule.”

    Their rules often suck. :) See: Documentary, Foreign, (and especially) Original Song rules of eligibility.

    I dislike the Over rule entirely. The rest I actually like a lot.

  163. Well said, Evan.

  164. Well said, Evan.

  165. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    I could see it being a mess to count them them all. No wonder they have to go through all of those rounds.

    A paranoid corner of my mind distrusts accountants. Don’t people hire accountants to make sketchy numbers add up to anything they want to claim?

    One way AMPAS could make it easy for everybody to understand: Just show us the paper trail. For any year. 1955, I don’t care. (1941!) The more arcane the calculations and formulas become, the more I wish there could be a little more transparency.

    They really don’t want anyone to understand how it works. Not even the voters themselves are meant to understand.

  166. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    I could see it being a mess to count them them all. No wonder they have to go through all of those rounds.

    A paranoid corner of my mind distrusts accountants. Don’t people hire accountants to make sketchy numbers add up to anything they want to claim?

    One way AMPAS could make it easy for everybody to understand: Just show us the paper trail. For any year. 1955, I don’t care. (1941!) The more arcane the calculations and formulas become, the more I wish there could be a little more transparency.

    They really don’t want anyone to understand how it works. Not even the voters themselves are meant to understand.

  167. Tero Heikkinen

    6. Hand out the award later during the evening, most nominated countries would have a better chance to see it live if you opened the envelope after the Lead Acting -categories (before Director). That could be around 6am CET. It would also give more prestige to the award if seen as a major category – not hidden somewhere in between Docs and Technicals.

    – Do this.

  168. Tero Heikkinen

    6. Hand out the award later during the evening, most nominated countries would have a better chance to see it live if you opened the envelope after the Lead Acting -categories (before Director). That could be around 6am CET. It would also give more prestige to the award if seen as a major category – not hidden somewhere in between Docs and Technicals.

    – Do this.

  169. Sasha, no. In the new system there are ONLY 2 rounds.
    For the surplus rule, the weighted vote (for example’s sake let’s call it a 1/2 vote) will only go to a film that needs it, that is a film that in round 1 got in between 1% and 5% and is trying to make it to 5%.

    Using last year as an example let’s say Kings Speech, Social Network, True Grit, Black Swan, and Fighter got 5% in the first round. . They are automatically first round nominees. Let’s say Kings Speech and Social Network got a surplus. Because the other three got over 5% but under 20% those ballots are done. For Kings Speech and Social Network lets say they got twice as many votes as needed so they get redistributed as 1/2 votes. If a ballot had Social Network as 1 and Black Swan as 2, then it would have to move on to 3 because Black Swan was already a nominee. Make sense?

  170. Sasha, no. In the new system there are ONLY 2 rounds.
    For the surplus rule, the weighted vote (for example’s sake let’s call it a 1/2 vote) will only go to a film that needs it, that is a film that in round 1 got in between 1% and 5% and is trying to make it to 5%.

    Using last year as an example let’s say Kings Speech, Social Network, True Grit, Black Swan, and Fighter got 5% in the first round. . They are automatically first round nominees. Let’s say Kings Speech and Social Network got a surplus. Because the other three got over 5% but under 20% those ballots are done. For Kings Speech and Social Network lets say they got twice as many votes as needed so they get redistributed as 1/2 votes. If a ballot had Social Network as 1 and Black Swan as 2, then it would have to move on to 3 because Black Swan was already a nominee. Make sense?

  171. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Yes, but HOW to fix FLF -category?

    I like your New Rules, Tero.

    Rule 1., especially.
    2008, I’d have been happy to see A Christmas Tale, Summer Hours, The Class, all from France, Il Divo and Gomorrah from Italy. Done.

    How would Paramount or Universal feel if they could only submit one movie for Best Picture every year?

  172. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Yes, but HOW to fix FLF -category?

    I like your New Rules, Tero.

    Rule 1., especially.
    2008, I’d have been happy to see A Christmas Tale, Summer Hours, The Class, all from France, Il Divo and Gomorrah from Italy. Done.

    How would Paramount or Universal feel if they could only submit one movie for Best Picture every year?

  173. And Evan, that is incorrect, the other .25 would NOT “stay” with War Horse

  174. And Evan, that is incorrect, the other .25 would NOT “stay” with War Horse

  175. Tero Heikkinen

    Original Song should be cut out completely. It has no business being part of FILM Awards.

    Andy Serkis is worthier for an Oscar than Elton John. At least Andy makes movies.

  176. Tero Heikkinen

    Original Song should be cut out completely. It has no business being part of FILM Awards.

    Andy Serkis is worthier for an Oscar than Elton John. At least Andy makes movies.

  177. Tero Heikkinen

    But I think FLF cannot be fixed properly. Ever. It will always be problematic for various reasons.

    Oh, and A Separation is not going to win. Iran is not the hot item today, even if US Government is lying. But Oscars have politics in every category… which leads us to Documentary Feature :)

    Nah.

  178. Tero Heikkinen

    But I think FLF cannot be fixed properly. Ever. It will always be problematic for various reasons.

    Oh, and A Separation is not going to win. Iran is not the hot item today, even if US Government is lying. But Oscars have politics in every category… which leads us to Documentary Feature :)

    Nah.

  179. ^Sorry: just to add. Otherwise, people voting for the favorites would get their vote counted once in full to nominated the frontrunner and second in full to nominate another film. Imagine how up-in-arms the blogosphere would be about *that*.

  180. ^Sorry: just to add. Otherwise, people voting for the favorites would get their vote counted once in full to nominated the frontrunner and second in full to nominate another film. Imagine how up-in-arms the blogosphere would be about *that*.

  181. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    They might try to strategically place it at number one to ensure its nomination… It is fluid and therefore subject to corruption, like any other type of voting process.

    RT “I love when scared luddite Academy members have to reach out to Pete Hammond to explain it all to them.”

    New AMPAS rules for 2012: Replace preferential ballot with butterfly ballot.

  182. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    They might try to strategically place it at number one to ensure its nomination… It is fluid and therefore subject to corruption, like any other type of voting process.

    RT “I love when scared luddite Academy members have to reach out to Pete Hammond to explain it all to them.”

    New AMPAS rules for 2012: Replace preferential ballot with butterfly ballot.

  183. “I’d have been completely weirded out for weeks if Carlos had won Best Picture instead of the King’s Speech, but it would have been easier to swallow. The defeat would have felt more sophisticated and honorable — to me.”

    Me, too, but ecstatic. I don’t believe in segregating FLF. The “Language” part is particularly disturbing – make it FF, only, if you must – separate category for non-USA product that can also compete for BP if they receive enough votes in this tourette-inducing system that being discussed. As well, there should not be a single entry per country rule.

  184. “I’d have been completely weirded out for weeks if Carlos had won Best Picture instead of the King’s Speech, but it would have been easier to swallow. The defeat would have felt more sophisticated and honorable — to me.”

    Me, too, but ecstatic. I don’t believe in segregating FLF. The “Language” part is particularly disturbing – make it FF, only, if you must – separate category for non-USA product that can also compete for BP if they receive enough votes in this tourette-inducing system that being discussed. As well, there should not be a single entry per country rule.

  185. First Evan his name is Steve Pond, and that article is what I read months ago to figure all this out. In it he clearly states:

    “Films that get significantly more votes than they need for the nomination trigger the co-called “surplus rule,” and the ballots for those films are redistributed to give a portion of the vote to the films listed second on EACH one of those ballots.”

  186. First Evan his name is Steve Pond, and that article is what I read months ago to figure all this out. In it he clearly states:

    “Films that get significantly more votes than they need for the nomination trigger the co-called “surplus rule,” and the ballots for those films are redistributed to give a portion of the vote to the films listed second on EACH one of those ballots.”

  187. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    make it FF, only, if you must – separate category for non-USA product

    That’s how the Independent Spirit Awards do it. I like that idea. plus, I like that the category would then be BFF. (aww!)

    And yes, expand the Best Foreign Film category to 10. Because maybe the entire world produces 10 movies as good as 10 from Hollywood.

  188. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    make it FF, only, if you must – separate category for non-USA product

    That’s how the Independent Spirit Awards do it. I like that idea. plus, I like that the category would then be BFF. (aww!)

    And yes, expand the Best Foreign Film category to 10. Because maybe the entire world produces 10 movies as good as 10 from Hollywood.

  189. Dean, which is what I said.

    “If 20% of people list War Horse in the number one spot and the surplus rule is triggered, then .75 of EACH PERSON’S vote will be reapportioned to their second choice…”

    I clearly say it’s a *portion* (like Steve does) of *each ballot* (like Steve does) that is reapportioned.

    And don’t be rude– I added an ‘s’ to Steve’s last name. So sue me.

  190. Dean, which is what I said.

    “If 20% of people list War Horse in the number one spot and the surplus rule is triggered, then .75 of EACH PERSON’S vote will be reapportioned to their second choice…”

    I clearly say it’s a *portion* (like Steve does) of *each ballot* (like Steve does) that is reapportioned.

    And don’t be rude– I added an ‘s’ to Steve’s last name. So sue me.

  191. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    trigger the co-called “surplus rule”

    I have lots of faith in any rule that’s a “so-called rule”

    “And the Oscar for So-Called ‘Best’ Picture goes to…!”

  192. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    trigger the co-called “surplus rule”

    I have lots of faith in any rule that’s a “so-called rule”

    “And the Oscar for So-Called ‘Best’ Picture goes to…!”

  193. “Because maybe the entire world produces 10 movies as good as 10 from Hollywood.”

    Every year, AMPAS loves to proclaim the universality of movies, but they don’t walk the talk. This would be the way to do it. And I would bet that it would be easier to fill the BFF (aww) category than it would be to fill BP with noms of equivalent quality.

  194. “Because maybe the entire world produces 10 movies as good as 10 from Hollywood.”

    Every year, AMPAS loves to proclaim the universality of movies, but they don’t walk the talk. This would be the way to do it. And I would bet that it would be easier to fill the BFF (aww) category than it would be to fill BP with noms of equivalent quality.

  195. So how many Brits in the AMPAS?

  196. So how many Brits in the AMPAS?

  197. scottferguson

    Mark/Sasha/Ryan

    My understanding is the same as Mark’s – only those films with under 1% of #1 choices have their #2 choice redistributed.

    Why do this?

    Because the Academy understands many voters will vote for the film they were in during the year or friendship with someone who was part of or just because they want to vote their favorite film #1. It allows people to still do that and not waste a vote.

    Why do they not explain this better?

    My understanding is that it has been long-term Academy belief that the whole thing is so complicated that it will confuse many of the voters, cause them to vote differently than their preferences, and skew the results.

    There is no question based on the rules as written that this is not mentioned, unless you accept that the rules are incomplete.

    They now are only going to ask members to list 5 choices for BP in order – but of course now, unless somehow more than 10 films end up with 5%, 3-5 are just a complete waste of effort. And a lot of members are going to vote without realizing that.

  198. scottferguson

    Mark/Sasha/Ryan

    My understanding is the same as Mark’s – only those films with under 1% of #1 choices have their #2 choice redistributed.

    Why do this?

    Because the Academy understands many voters will vote for the film they were in during the year or friendship with someone who was part of or just because they want to vote their favorite film #1. It allows people to still do that and not waste a vote.

    Why do they not explain this better?

    My understanding is that it has been long-term Academy belief that the whole thing is so complicated that it will confuse many of the voters, cause them to vote differently than their preferences, and skew the results.

    There is no question based on the rules as written that this is not mentioned, unless you accept that the rules are incomplete.

    They now are only going to ask members to list 5 choices for BP in order – but of course now, unless somehow more than 10 films end up with 5%, 3-5 are just a complete waste of effort. And a lot of members are going to vote without realizing that.

  199. Tero Heikkinen

    Who knows? A LOT, more than 10%, I imagine.

    But I know what you are after, Scott. Don’t you think their votes go for something like War Horse rather than Harry Potter? IF some of them vote in patriotic way – and this I doubt. I don’t see Brits voting en masse just for England’s (Scotland’s etc) sake. Maybe they had that effect on The King’s Speech and Shakespeare in Love, but that’s another case. Or maybe Harvey Weinstein has a secret mailing list sent to British people only?

    There’s no conspiracy. UK just has an enormous effect/contribution to Hollywood. Always has.

    For example in Best Actress (3/5 expected nominees):

    Meryl Streep – playing a Brit
    Glenn Close – Ireland
    Michelle Williams – American character, movie takes place in England

    All the above films are British productions (and UK/Ireland for Albert Nobbs), USA not involved except in the nominees’ birth place.

    THIS would be a problem for BFF (aww), UK = foreign.

  200. Tero Heikkinen

    Who knows? A LOT, more than 10%, I imagine.

    But I know what you are after, Scott. Don’t you think their votes go for something like War Horse rather than Harry Potter? IF some of them vote in patriotic way – and this I doubt. I don’t see Brits voting en masse just for England’s (Scotland’s etc) sake. Maybe they had that effect on The King’s Speech and Shakespeare in Love, but that’s another case. Or maybe Harvey Weinstein has a secret mailing list sent to British people only?

    There’s no conspiracy. UK just has an enormous effect/contribution to Hollywood. Always has.

    For example in Best Actress (3/5 expected nominees):

    Meryl Streep – playing a Brit
    Glenn Close – Ireland
    Michelle Williams – American character, movie takes place in England

    All the above films are British productions (and UK/Ireland for Albert Nobbs), USA not involved except in the nominees’ birth place.

    THIS would be a problem for BFF (aww), UK = foreign.

  201. scottferguson

    The Brit bloc voted likely will be diluted this year – only one film can be listed #1. And Shame might end up getting a lot of those votes. We Need to Talk About Kevin some as well.

    The Brit bloc works best when their is one go-to choice among the potential nominees. That doesn’t seem to be the case this year. And of course many members will vote for a non-British film #1.

  202. scottferguson

    The Brit bloc voted likely will be diluted this year – only one film can be listed #1. And Shame might end up getting a lot of those votes. We Need to Talk About Kevin some as well.

    The Brit bloc works best when their is one go-to choice among the potential nominees. That doesn’t seem to be the case this year. And of course many members will vote for a non-British film #1.

  203. Tero Heikkinen

    Let me put it this way. If we’re trying to find US-only productions where British talent is nowhere to be seen (actors, directors, writers…), well, good luck on your search. These movies are in a minority in Hollywood. You’ll find plenty in indie scene, though.

  204. Tero Heikkinen

    Let me put it this way. If we’re trying to find US-only productions where British talent is nowhere to be seen (actors, directors, writers…), well, good luck on your search. These movies are in a minority in Hollywood. You’ll find plenty in indie scene, though.

  205. Tero Heikkinen

    From my point of view, USA and UK are ONE country (what it comes to Hollywood/Oscars).

    So, BFF (aww) should be at least USA/UK -free, Australia/New Zealand and the likes, too.

  206. Tero Heikkinen

    From my point of view, USA and UK are ONE country (what it comes to Hollywood/Oscars).

    So, BFF (aww) should be at least USA/UK -free, Australia/New Zealand and the likes, too.

  207. scottferguson

    The category is Best Foreign Language Film, not Best Foreign Film. The determining factor is language, with one caveat – no US non-English language film can compete (mainly because there is no US official body to designate one).

    This year, after many years of allowing it, the Academy has ruled that Puerto Rico may no longer submit, apparently with the feeling that since its filmmakers are US citizens and have US passports they shouldn’t be treated differently than mainland Spanish-language films.

  208. scottferguson

    The category is Best Foreign Language Film, not Best Foreign Film. The determining factor is language, with one caveat – no US non-English language film can compete (mainly because there is no US official body to designate one).

    This year, after many years of allowing it, the Academy has ruled that Puerto Rico may no longer submit, apparently with the feeling that since its filmmakers are US citizens and have US passports they shouldn’t be treated differently than mainland Spanish-language films.

  209. scottferguson

    The point about Anglophone countries being close cousins to the US for filmmaking purposes is true – but it gets complicated for FL purposes. Canada is 70% English speaking, and a heavy participant in US movies, yet they have been regular contenders for the award. India has more English speakers than any country in the world (and uses the language in its courts and for other government purposes), yet it of course competes.

    Of course, one of the worst aspects of this awful category is that the initial list of potential nominees is nation-based, with Iceland with 300,000 citizens having the same number of entrants as France or Germany or Italy, and the choices often being political and/or aimed at the lowest common denominator factor in the FL committee. And thus a non-English language film from the UK or New Zealand competes, though the likely will never be heard of again, while The Skin I Live In or The Kid on a Bike don’t. It’s totally ridiculous.

  210. scottferguson

    The point about Anglophone countries being close cousins to the US for filmmaking purposes is true – but it gets complicated for FL purposes. Canada is 70% English speaking, and a heavy participant in US movies, yet they have been regular contenders for the award. India has more English speakers than any country in the world (and uses the language in its courts and for other government purposes), yet it of course competes.

    Of course, one of the worst aspects of this awful category is that the initial list of potential nominees is nation-based, with Iceland with 300,000 citizens having the same number of entrants as France or Germany or Italy, and the choices often being political and/or aimed at the lowest common denominator factor in the FL committee. And thus a non-English language film from the UK or New Zealand competes, though the likely will never be heard of again, while The Skin I Live In or The Kid on a Bike don’t. It’s totally ridiculous.

  211. Prakshid

    There is no need to discuss or argue more on new rule of #1 votes. Because academy not voted with their mind, they voted with their heart. They don’t think about how much like the film but thought how much they love it. So here is mine –
    1. War Horse
    2. EL and IC
    3. J. Edgar
    4. The Descendents
    5. The Ides of March
    6. The Artist
    7. Moneyball
    should be
    8. The Tree of Life

  212. Prakshid

    There is no need to discuss or argue more on new rule of #1 votes. Because academy not voted with their mind, they voted with their heart. They don’t think about how much like the film but thought how much they love it. So here is mine –
    1. War Horse
    2. EL and IC
    3. J. Edgar
    4. The Descendents
    5. The Ides of March
    6. The Artist
    7. Moneyball
    should be
    8. The Tree of Life

  213. Tero Heikkinen

    You do know that we were only joking about BFF (aww)?

    A possible solution:

    Country with maximum 10M population = 1 entry (All Nordic countries, Israel)
    Maximum 30M = 2 entries (Netherlands, Greece, Belgium)
    Maximum 50M = 3 entries (Poland, Canada, Spain)
    Maximum 100M = 4 entries (Germany, France, Italy)
    Maximum 2B = 5 entries (China, India, Russia, Japan, Mexico)

    This system would probably double the amount of entries, but most countries would still be able to send just one film.

  214. Tero Heikkinen

    You do know that we were only joking about BFF (aww)?

    A possible solution:

    Country with maximum 10M population = 1 entry (All Nordic countries, Israel)
    Maximum 30M = 2 entries (Netherlands, Greece, Belgium)
    Maximum 50M = 3 entries (Poland, Canada, Spain)
    Maximum 100M = 4 entries (Germany, France, Italy)
    Maximum 2B = 5 entries (China, India, Russia, Japan, Mexico)

    This system would probably double the amount of entries, but most countries would still be able to send just one film.

  215. How about everybody calm down and wait another 3 months to know what REALLY happens? Nobody here is a member of the Academy. That being said, Globe and SAG noms are only 2 months away!

  216. How about everybody calm down and wait another 3 months to know what REALLY happens? Nobody here is a member of the Academy. That being said, Globe and SAG noms are only 2 months away!

  217. Tero Heikkinen

    Or:

    A) One entry if the country produces a maximum of 50 theatrical releases a year.
    B) Two entries if 51-100 releases produced.
    C) Three entries if 101-150 releases produced.
    D) Four entries if more than 151 releases produced.

    But this would be a nightmare since many films in Europe are co-productions.

  218. Tero Heikkinen

    Or:

    A) One entry if the country produces a maximum of 50 theatrical releases a year.
    B) Two entries if 51-100 releases produced.
    C) Three entries if 101-150 releases produced.
    D) Four entries if more than 151 releases produced.

    But this would be a nightmare since many films in Europe are co-productions.

  219. scottferguson

    The FL nominated films should be among those released in the US during the calendar year, like all the other categories.

    It would make sense then for a supercommittee to reduce these to around 50-60 as they exist now, then screen them for the committee to select 6 films and the supercommittee to add 3 (the current system) so not all the good films are overlooked.

    Then the nominees would be familiar to the US audience and more reflect the mainstream moviegoing experience.

    That is the only logical system. They need to scrap the idiotic country submission one, and having films submitted that almost entirely have not been released yet in the US.

  220. scottferguson

    The FL nominated films should be among those released in the US during the calendar year, like all the other categories.

    It would make sense then for a supercommittee to reduce these to around 50-60 as they exist now, then screen them for the committee to select 6 films and the supercommittee to add 3 (the current system) so not all the good films are overlooked.

    Then the nominees would be familiar to the US audience and more reflect the mainstream moviegoing experience.

    That is the only logical system. They need to scrap the idiotic country submission one, and having films submitted that almost entirely have not been released yet in the US.

  221. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    @Dean, yes, that makes sense. Now I see what you mean when you say “a portion of the ballots.” Meaning, half a vote. So two ballots with, say, Tree of Life at number 3 make one vote for Tree of Life. So let’s say that the ballots for True Grit, Black Swan and the Fighter are eliminated. And they redistribute TSN and TKS. So we have already five nominees. What scenario would there then be NO MORE THAN FIVE? Like, how would the votes have to come in to make it impossible not to have more than five?

  222. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    @Dean, yes, that makes sense. Now I see what you mean when you say “a portion of the ballots.” Meaning, half a vote. So two ballots with, say, Tree of Life at number 3 make one vote for Tree of Life. So let’s say that the ballots for True Grit, Black Swan and the Fighter are eliminated. And they redistribute TSN and TKS. So we have already five nominees. What scenario would there then be NO MORE THAN FIVE? Like, how would the votes have to come in to make it impossible not to have more than five?

  223. I would love to think in another world Nolan’s The Prestige would have made it to the big dance as well.

  224. I would love to think in another world Nolan’s The Prestige would have made it to the big dance as well.

  225. In that scenario no film could get enough of the 2 or 3 votes to make it to 5%. But in all likelihood something like Inception might have been at 4% and would get enough partial votes from say people who had it at #2 behind TSN plus #2 votes behind things with less than 1% like Deathly Hallows Part 1 for instance.

    If it just had 3% in the first round maybe it wouldn’t make it. Maybe it Toy Story 3 and would both climb over 5 which would be my guess.

    When thinking about how many nominees there are going to be ALL you have to think about is what will get 5% right away plus what piles (after a round of distributing surplus and under 1% votes) will have over 5% of ballots in the end.

    According to the history they researched in all likelihood there will be between 5 and 9, maybe 10. My guess if it there are less than 5 they would just go to the old system of more rounds of redistribution until there are 5 but the press release made it seem like this never happened in their research.

  226. In that scenario no film could get enough of the 2 or 3 votes to make it to 5%. But in all likelihood something like Inception might have been at 4% and would get enough partial votes from say people who had it at #2 behind TSN plus #2 votes behind things with less than 1% like Deathly Hallows Part 1 for instance.

    If it just had 3% in the first round maybe it wouldn’t make it. Maybe it Toy Story 3 and would both climb over 5 which would be my guess.

    When thinking about how many nominees there are going to be ALL you have to think about is what will get 5% right away plus what piles (after a round of distributing surplus and under 1% votes) will have over 5% of ballots in the end.

    According to the history they researched in all likelihood there will be between 5 and 9, maybe 10. My guess if it there are less than 5 they would just go to the old system of more rounds of redistribution until there are 5 but the press release made it seem like this never happened in their research.

  227. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    The Kid on a Bike

    whoa, yes! what a fine film. It’s shot into my Top 10 for the year and likely to stay there. So that’s a perfect example — why isn’t it even Belgium’s official Oscar pony? And you already answer the question, scottferguson: Politics and back-room maneuvering.

    Is it only because the Dardenne Brothers have already been Belgium’s selection three times in the past? Maybe there’s a reason for that. Maybe they’re Belgian national treasures.

    Whatever the precise reason, the machinery of the system disregards what’s best and turns the Oscars into a global marketing tool. …oh.

  228. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    The Kid on a Bike

    whoa, yes! what a fine film. It’s shot into my Top 10 for the year and likely to stay there. So that’s a perfect example — why isn’t it even Belgium’s official Oscar pony? And you already answer the question, scottferguson: Politics and back-room maneuvering.

    Is it only because the Dardenne Brothers have already been Belgium’s selection three times in the past? Maybe there’s a reason for that. Maybe they’re Belgian national treasures.

    Whatever the precise reason, the machinery of the system disregards what’s best and turns the Oscars into a global marketing tool. …oh.

  229. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Dean, we’re still and always looking for that 5% number and then maybe also those films that might trigger the surplus rule, like The Artist. So 5% of 6,000 is around 300. Seems to be it wouldn’t be that hard for a popular movie to get that number, either with a healthy share in the first round or with partial votes. 300, and that’s a high estimate, doesn’t seem so unattainable. Right now I think those that should have no problem getting a BP nom would be:

    The Artist
    The Descendants
    Moneyball
    Midnight in Paris
    The Help

    But that’s five right there. Still have a good many to go yet.

    Tinker Tailor
    War Horse
    Extremely Loud
    Dragon Tattoo

    My debate with Anne that Dragon Tattoo couldn’t get director, star and screenplay and not make Picture seems sound. To get 300 votes for a film that hits in those branches seems like a no-brainer.

  230. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Dean, we’re still and always looking for that 5% number and then maybe also those films that might trigger the surplus rule, like The Artist. So 5% of 6,000 is around 300. Seems to be it wouldn’t be that hard for a popular movie to get that number, either with a healthy share in the first round or with partial votes. 300, and that’s a high estimate, doesn’t seem so unattainable. Right now I think those that should have no problem getting a BP nom would be:

    The Artist
    The Descendants
    Moneyball
    Midnight in Paris
    The Help

    But that’s five right there. Still have a good many to go yet.

    Tinker Tailor
    War Horse
    Extremely Loud
    Dragon Tattoo

    My debate with Anne that Dragon Tattoo couldn’t get director, star and screenplay and not make Picture seems sound. To get 300 votes for a film that hits in those branches seems like a no-brainer.

  231. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    My debate with Anne that Dragon Tattoo couldn’t get director, star and screenplay and not make Picture seems sound. To get 300 votes for a film that hits in those branches seems like a no-brainer.

    And then there’s the other factor you mention at the top of your post, Sasha. There’s bound to be a significant percentage of the AMPAS who feel as others do — (sotto voce: *that Fincher was robbed last year*). Voters who surely hope Dragon Tattoo is an undaunted audacious followup to that debacle.

    If Dragon Tattoo does deliver, I think we can rely on those voters to rally: Ever stalwart!

  232. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    My debate with Anne that Dragon Tattoo couldn’t get director, star and screenplay and not make Picture seems sound. To get 300 votes for a film that hits in those branches seems like a no-brainer.

    And then there’s the other factor you mention at the top of your post, Sasha. There’s bound to be a significant percentage of the AMPAS who feel as others do — (sotto voce: *that Fincher was robbed last year*). Voters who surely hope Dragon Tattoo is an undaunted audacious followup to that debacle.

    If Dragon Tattoo does deliver, I think we can rely on those voters to rally: Ever stalwart!

  233. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Can someone explain the surplus rule in simplest terms?

    My main problem grasping redistribution of surplus ballots is who decides which specific ballots are the extra ones? Sort of sucks for Moneyball if all the ballots with War Horse at #1 and Moneyball at #2 get locked down for War Horse in the first round. And then come a big batch of ‘surplus ballots dealt out from 200 traditionalists who have War Horse at #1 and The Help at #2.

    Doesn’t that make it too much of a game of chance? What am I not understanding about which ballots are deemed surplus?

  234. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Can someone explain the surplus rule in simplest terms?

    My main problem grasping redistribution of surplus ballots is who decides which specific ballots are the extra ones? Sort of sucks for Moneyball if all the ballots with War Horse at #1 and Moneyball at #2 get locked down for War Horse in the first round. And then come a big batch of ‘surplus ballots dealt out from 200 traditionalists who have War Horse at #1 and The Help at #2.

    Doesn’t that make it too much of a game of chance? What am I not understanding about which ballots are deemed surplus?

  235. The Great Dane

    Why doesn’t somebody just make a Youtube video about the voting/redistribution/counting, so people can SEE it in stead of reading the rules cause that seems to confuse people a lot. :)

  236. The Great Dane

    Why doesn’t somebody just make a Youtube video about the voting/redistribution/counting, so people can SEE it in stead of reading the rules cause that seems to confuse people a lot. :)

  237. Tero Heikkinen

    ^This.

    I have thought about the very same thing many times. I wanted to make one for Finnish TV as an insert for an Oscar show, but never got around to it.

  238. Tero Heikkinen

    ^This.

    I have thought about the very same thing many times. I wanted to make one for Finnish TV as an insert for an Oscar show, but never got around to it.

  239. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Why doesn’t somebody just make a Youtube video about the voting/redistribution/counting

    should be easy enough to adapt this video, retitle it AMPAS Rule 34

  240. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Why doesn’t somebody just make a Youtube video about the voting/redistribution/counting

    should be easy enough to adapt this video, retitle it AMPAS Rule 34

  241. julian the emperor

    Ryan, I wasn’t solely referring to your “Brit-bashing”, but to Sasha and her continuous campaign against non-American productions (read: British) this year as well as last year. A position I have persistently been trying to challenge because it’s a position that I firmly believe she ought to be too intelligent a person to uphold. The Oscars, as I stated earlier on, looks parochial to an outsider for having the nerve to boldly assert its global reach and aspirations, yet only be in the service of American film-making. That position is untenable and quite chauvinistic, if you ask me. Maybe a longstanding period of cultural hegemony has left America “untroubled” by this curious by-product (parochialism) of said hegemony?
    And of course, you can find ten worthwhile international films every year that are worthy of a bp nomination! If you can find ten American films, then why not? The problem is that the national committees that select movies for the Oscars seems more intent on choosing “Oscar bait” material (that’s how mediocre Danish productions like In A Better World or Babette’s Feast won the statuette!) instead of serious art. I think it is seldom that the best of the best is being chosen by the national committees. I mean, wouldn’t you agree that the Susanne Bier’s of this world (and I’m not blaming her, she is perfectly capable of making good movies inside the confines of sentimental genre pics) will get picked before the Lars Von Trier’s of this world (to continue with a Danish example)? Surely.

    Tero: your point, that when it comes to the Oscars the shared language and cultural interaction make it impossible to make a clear distinction between the UK and the US is a valid one. And I appreciate your input to this discussion. It would be interesting if one day the best foreign movies could be in contention either on their own terms (and not bother with “competing” in the bp category with American titles as well, which is ludicrous) or be wholly accepted by the Academy and invited into the fold on equal terms (which I know is impossible, since Americans are not any better than the rest of us, we all want our “own” movies to perform well, naturally).
    Therefore the best, most worthy thing the Academy could do, would be to let go of any aspirations of being a “World Cup for Movies” and instead focus on being a celebration for the art of American cinema. A worthy cause, indeed.

  242. julian the emperor

    Ryan, I wasn’t solely referring to your “Brit-bashing”, but to Sasha and her continuous campaign against non-American productions (read: British) this year as well as last year. A position I have persistently been trying to challenge because it’s a position that I firmly believe she ought to be too intelligent a person to uphold. The Oscars, as I stated earlier on, looks parochial to an outsider for having the nerve to boldly assert its global reach and aspirations, yet only be in the service of American film-making. That position is untenable and quite chauvinistic, if you ask me. Maybe a longstanding period of cultural hegemony has left America “untroubled” by this curious by-product (parochialism) of said hegemony?
    And of course, you can find ten worthwhile international films every year that are worthy of a bp nomination! If you can find ten American films, then why not? The problem is that the national committees that select movies for the Oscars seems more intent on choosing “Oscar bait” material (that’s how mediocre Danish productions like In A Better World or Babette’s Feast won the statuette!) instead of serious art. I think it is seldom that the best of the best is being chosen by the national committees. I mean, wouldn’t you agree that the Susanne Bier’s of this world (and I’m not blaming her, she is perfectly capable of making good movies inside the confines of sentimental genre pics) will get picked before the Lars Von Trier’s of this world (to continue with a Danish example)? Surely.

    Tero: your point, that when it comes to the Oscars the shared language and cultural interaction make it impossible to make a clear distinction between the UK and the US is a valid one. And I appreciate your input to this discussion. It would be interesting if one day the best foreign movies could be in contention either on their own terms (and not bother with “competing” in the bp category with American titles as well, which is ludicrous) or be wholly accepted by the Academy and invited into the fold on equal terms (which I know is impossible, since Americans are not any better than the rest of us, we all want our “own” movies to perform well, naturally).
    Therefore the best, most worthy thing the Academy could do, would be to let go of any aspirations of being a “World Cup for Movies” and instead focus on being a celebration for the art of American cinema. A worthy cause, indeed.

  243. Ryan, they take all the ballots and sort them by their #1. For those films that get 20% or more of the vote, they take all the ballots and devote a ***portion of each ballot*** to the second place film on that ballot.

    Example:
    War Horse gets 1500 ballots, about 25% of the total vote. It only needed 5%, 1/5 of what it actually got. Thus, the Academy will count each vote for War Horse as only 1/5 of a vote. The other 4/5 of EVERY ballot in the pile will go to the movie in second place on that ballot.

    So let’s say that of the 1500 War Horse ballots, 500 were for EL&IC, 300 for The Artist, 200 for the Help, and the rest were broken up between movies that don’t matter. Since each of the ballots in redistribution now only counts as 4/5 of a vote, EL&IC gets 400 votes (4/5 of the 500 second place votes it got), The Artist gets 240, and The Help gets 160 from the reshuffling.

    Put another way, if I vote for War Horse/EL&IC in that order and War Horse triggers the surplus rule with 25% of the vote, then 20% of my Academy vote will go to War Horse and 80% to EL&IC.

    *Note (Don’t read if you just figured this out… haha): The one thing we don’t know (at least I don’t believe we know it) is how much something that triggers the surplus rule is ‘bumped down to,’ so-to-speak. So will a surplus ballot pile get bumped down to 5% of the vote or just under the 20% mark or somewhere in between? Obviously, the answer will determine how much second place votes matter for people voting for popular films.

  244. Ryan, they take all the ballots and sort them by their #1. For those films that get 20% or more of the vote, they take all the ballots and devote a ***portion of each ballot*** to the second place film on that ballot.

    Example:
    War Horse gets 1500 ballots, about 25% of the total vote. It only needed 5%, 1/5 of what it actually got. Thus, the Academy will count each vote for War Horse as only 1/5 of a vote. The other 4/5 of EVERY ballot in the pile will go to the movie in second place on that ballot.

    So let’s say that of the 1500 War Horse ballots, 500 were for EL&IC, 300 for The Artist, 200 for the Help, and the rest were broken up between movies that don’t matter. Since each of the ballots in redistribution now only counts as 4/5 of a vote, EL&IC gets 400 votes (4/5 of the 500 second place votes it got), The Artist gets 240, and The Help gets 160 from the reshuffling.

    Put another way, if I vote for War Horse/EL&IC in that order and War Horse triggers the surplus rule with 25% of the vote, then 20% of my Academy vote will go to War Horse and 80% to EL&IC.

    *Note (Don’t read if you just figured this out… haha): The one thing we don’t know (at least I don’t believe we know it) is how much something that triggers the surplus rule is ‘bumped down to,’ so-to-speak. So will a surplus ballot pile get bumped down to 5% of the vote or just under the 20% mark or somewhere in between? Obviously, the answer will determine how much second place votes matter for people voting for popular films.

  245. Profile photo of Ryan Adams

    Evan! Thank you!
    That’s about as clear as complex mud can be.

    Seriously, you answered my 2 worst confusions
    A film has to reach 20% of #1 votes before surplus ballots are generated
    ALL the surplus ballots are then redistributed among the #2s (at reduced value)

    ====

    As for how far the surplus-initiating films are bumped down. My guess would be back down to 10% (…because the maximum number of nominees is 10?)

    Seems silly to knock a hugely popular movie all the way back to the minimum 5% threshold. And 20% feels hoggish.

    Because I would hope the goal would still be find as many as 10 films so long as 10 have strong support — instead of trying to pare the field down closer to 5 with stingy redistribution.

    Otherwise what’s the point of allotting 10 possible slots. You’d want to fill those slots, if possible. (or at least I would)

    I can’t help feeling it’s going to look embarrassing if the Academy can only find 6 or 7 movies they give a damn about. Pathetic reflection on the industry, if that’s the case.

  246. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Evan! Thank you!
    That’s about as clear as complex mud can be.

    Seriously, you answered my 2 worst confusions
    A film has to reach 20% of #1 votes before surplus ballots are generated
    ALL the surplus ballots are then redistributed among the #2s (at reduced value)

    ====

    As for how far the surplus-initiating films are bumped down. My guess would be back down to 10% (…because the maximum number of nominees is 10?)

    Seems silly to knock a hugely popular movie all the way back to the minimum 5% threshold. And 20% feels hoggish.

    Because I would hope the goal would still be find as many as 10 films so long as 10 have strong support — instead of trying to pare the field down closer to 5 with stingy redistribution.

    Otherwise what’s the point of allotting 10 possible slots. You’d want to fill those slots, if possible. (or at least I would)

    I can’t help feeling it’s going to look embarrassing if the Academy can only find 6 or 7 movies they give a damn about. Pathetic reflection on the industry, if that’s the case.

  247. Mike Meyers

    If The Dark Knight would have made it in, it would have won Best Picture!

  248. Mike Meyers

    If The Dark Knight would have made it in, it would have won Best Picture!

  249. The back and forth on counting procedure going on here has been fascinating. I don’t think i’m any the wiser about how it will all pan out, though.

  250. The back and forth on counting procedure going on here has been fascinating. I don’t think i’m any the wiser about how it will all pan out, though.

  251. Oh. I forgot to do guesses. Okay. In order.

    1. War Horse
    2. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
    3. J. Edgar
    4. Midnight in Paris
    5. Hugo
    6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2

    (Right now I’m guessing only six nominees. But just in case…)

    7. Moneyball
    8. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
    9. The Descendants
    10. The Help

    Now this is based on this system. If it were a 5 movie year, or a 10 movie year, I’d probably have different choices. My thought is that War Horse is going to have a bazillion first place votes. So I tried to guess-redistribute what it’s fans might put for #2. I left off The Artist because Midnight in Paris and Hugo should get first place from it’s fans.

  252. Oh. I forgot to do guesses. Okay. In order.

    1. War Horse
    2. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
    3. J. Edgar
    4. Midnight in Paris
    5. Hugo
    6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2

    (Right now I’m guessing only six nominees. But just in case…)

    7. Moneyball
    8. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
    9. The Descendants
    10. The Help

    Now this is based on this system. If it were a 5 movie year, or a 10 movie year, I’d probably have different choices. My thought is that War Horse is going to have a bazillion first place votes. So I tried to guess-redistribute what it’s fans might put for #2. I left off The Artist because Midnight in Paris and Hugo should get first place from it’s fans.

  253. Wait. So there are fractions now? lol Where is the original link to this year’s math that explains the balloting rules? I gotta read it for myself. XD

  254. Wait. So there are fractions now? lol Where is the original link to this year’s math that explains the balloting rules? I gotta read it for myself. XD

  255. Sasha, I agree with many people here: you would consider Talk to Her in 2002 as a potential contender (2 noms and a win in main categories: Director and Original Screenplay).

  256. Sasha, I agree with many people here: you would consider Talk to Her in 2002 as a potential contender (2 noms and a win in main categories: Director and Original Screenplay).

  257. a week late but still an interesting conversation here at AD.

    I believe the surplus rule has changed from how it was described last year. it’s not the percentage, but a percentage of the percentage. So if King’s Speech gets 35% of the vote, all the King’s Speech votes are redistributed from it, but each redistributed vote is only worth 35% of a vote. If Social Network gets 25% of the vote, all the Social Network votes are redistributed from it, but each redistributed vote is only worth 25% of a vote:

    http://moviecitynews.com/2011/10/1-week-to-20-weeks-to-oscar-counting-best-picture-ballots/

  258. a week late but still an interesting conversation here at AD.

    I believe the surplus rule has changed from how it was described last year. it’s not the percentage, but a percentage of the percentage. So if King’s Speech gets 35% of the vote, all the King’s Speech votes are redistributed from it, but each redistributed vote is only worth 35% of a vote. If Social Network gets 25% of the vote, all the Social Network votes are redistributed from it, but each redistributed vote is only worth 25% of a vote:

    http://moviecitynews.com/2011/10/1-week-to-20-weeks-to-oscar-counting-best-picture-ballots/

  259. Alexandra

    Not to be smartypants but LOTR:The Return of the King won SAG ensemble in 2003…

  260. Alexandra

    Not to be smartypants but LOTR:The Return of the King won SAG ensemble in 2003…

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