hanging_chad

Academy Will Likely Pick Nine Films for Best Picture Once Again

hanging_chad

Remember when The Dark Knight was shut out of the Best Picture race and the Academy decided to expand their list from five nominees to ten? Yeah, so then the following two years produced some of the best lineups for Best Picture the Academy has ever seen. Diverse, interesting, inclusive choices because they weren’t bound to this number one nonsense so much — they each had to fill out ten choices, which allowed members to be more free with what they might consider a Best Picture contender. But voters didn’t like filling out ten. They had been conditioned to only pick five. After two years of a solid ten, the Academy decided to go back to the way they used to do it — have members choose only five titles. They would then decide the winners the same way they had always done but would loosen the belt a bit to allow for more films to be nominated — somewhere between five and, they say, ten. But it’s almost impossible to reach the full ten. In fact, it’s never happened in any of the years the Academy used the same method to name more than five nominees.

To me, their best methods are when they go for a solid ten (more inclusive) or a solid five (less herding cats). The conclusions I’ve come to watching them change the number of Best Picture nominees has been interesting.

1) I always thought that the strongest films would have to have a corresponding Best Director nomination — not true. Argo disproved that theory.

2) I always assumed that a film with the strongest guild showing that didn’t make the Best Picture cut in the past (like Almost Famous, for instance) was a shoo-in to get in under the current system. Not true, Dragon Tattoo two years ago proved that you could be a very strong contender with the guilds but still not make it under their new method of having voters pick only five and have the math of the vote tabulations determine how many more than five movies will be nominated, depending on the voter support.

3) Emotional response rules. When voters base their selections on their five personal favorites, a system that counts the number one votes first gives precedence to emotional reaction. That is how Extremely Loud and War Horse ended up contenders, although it’s possible those two films might have gotten in with a solid ten, no way with a solid five.

4) The new system where voters pick five movies, and not ten, has all but obliterated diversity (although this year will put that theory to the test once again, organically). The mostly white, mostly male, mostly middle aged voters pick five mostly white, mostly male-centered films. Movies like District 9, The Kids Are All Right, maybe even Winter’s Bone might not have a chance now because how many voters are going to put District 9 in their top five? A few maybe, enough to put it in the pile, but nowhere near as much if voters had ten slots.

5) With more slots for Best Picture the movies suddenly look a lot better. We’ve had, so far, nine Best Picture nominees two years since they changed their rules for the last time. This year looks a lot like last year and the year before: many films to choose from, an embarrassment of riches, even. So expect nine once again. Just maybe don’t expect ten, and here’s Steve Pond to explain why:

A quick refresher course on the system: Voters rank their top five favorites in order of preference. Any movie that’s listed at No. 1 on more than 8.9 percent of 
the ballots is an automatic nominee.

A complicated wrinkle called “the surplus rule” then kicks in, apportioning partial votes from ballots whose first choices have received significantly more votes than they need.

Finally, first choices with less than 1 percent of the vote have their votes shifted to the second (or third, fourth or fifth) choice on each of those ballots.

At that point, any movie with more than 5 percent of the vote (300 votes, give or take) is a nominee. Any movie with less is not.

Under that system, with its single round of redistribution limiting the chances for films that don’t get 300 first-place votes right away, more good movies don’t lead to more nominations unless the votes are very evenly divided. An overabundance of quality could just as easily push borderline films out as get them in.

In fact, there’s simply no precedent for a full slate of 10 nominees. Sure, the 2009 and 2010 Oscar years each produced that many — but those were years when 10 nominees were automatic, before the variable system was instituted.

To help the Academy decide whether to adopt the system, PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants went back over eight previous years of Oscar voting, 2001-2008, and counted the ballots all over again using the new system. According to PwC and AMPAS, the recount would have resulted in years of five, six, seven, eight and nine nominees—but never a year of 10. And in the last two years, after the system was in place, there were nine nominees both years.

Inside Llewyn Davis Clip – Please Mr. Kennedy

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45 Comments

  1. tintin
    November 30, 2013

    I remember when WALL-E was shut out of the Best Picture race and the Academy decided to expand their list from five nominees to ten. The best picture of the year.

  2. KT
    November 30, 2013

    I’m betting it will be nine again too. I had a feeling about nine last year, and it happened. Definitely, when there are a lot of films to choose from of high quality there will be more nominees. That said, I would like to see a year with a low number, like five, occur in this new system.

    12 Years a Slave
    Gravity

    - What three other films would join them in a five-only year? Captain Phillips? Wolf of Wall Street? American Hustle? The Butler?

    - Will any Director nominees be different? Which directors will get in and which ones won’t? I’d kind of like to see someone be nominated without the BP nom (GASP). Very interesting who will be in this category. Oliver Stone said Blue Jasmine was the best film of the year…maybe people are underestimating Woody Allen? Does David O. Russell miss out this time around? What about Marty, the last unknown?

    - What passion films, like Amour and Tree of Life and Beasts of the Southern Wild in years past, can make it it this year? Are their equivalents Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, and Her this year?

    - What about on-the-fringe, popular movies like The Butler and very likely to be a success August: Osage County (the Weinstein movies, will he get both in)? What about Saving Mr. Banks, which may not score at the box office and may be of a quality being overestimated (does Deadline ever not say a contender is fantastic, what a joke)?

  3. Gage Creed
    November 30, 2013

    The Best Picture nominee race became completely boring after they expanded the field… Five spots isn’t much and many worthy films may end up being shut out but, in a way, that’s what made Best Picture interesting and exciting. It really should go back to being that way.

  4. Sammy
    November 30, 2013

    I have always supported idea of having only five best picture nominees. This should be an elite group of films.

  5. Jay
    November 30, 2013

    I’m with you, Sammy. Even though the Academy were utter fools for shutting out The Dark Knight, a system that allows only five films means only the elite films, the best of the best, will be chosen. The system since 2009 has pretty much been “let’s give everyone an Oscar nomination”. The nomination and award mean much less when the accolade is given to everyone.

  6. November 30, 2013

    1. Have only five best picture nominees.
    2. This should be an elite group of films.

    The way the Academy does it, those are two different things.

    If you want to hit the elite film target, then you have let the Academy throw the dart more times.

  7. SallyinChicago
    November 30, 2013

    Suggestion for this blog:
    Can you start a topic — what movie did you see this week?

    I’ll start with Black Nativity, which I was pleasantly surprised about. It’s not doing well at the BOXO and will depend on WOM, but it’s another quality black-themed movie with a stellar cast.

  8. Christophe
    November 30, 2013

    Sasha, sorry to contradict you, but the pwc accountants who count the ballots every year have repeatedly explained that the reason they went back to 5 slots was that slots #6 to 10 almost never got counted anyway and did not affect the results, thus they were not needed and an unnecessary hassle for voters. “the number one nonsense” as you call it was still the rule during those 2 yrs you’re mentioning, as it has been for ages, and btw it is this #1 nonsense that allowed Beasts and Amour to get Pic and Dir noms last year, since these two movies had passionate followings whereas Argo and Zd30 had broader but less passionate appeal.

    See ya!

  9. bd74
    November 30, 2013

    It should go back to just 5 nominees (will it ever?). The whole “between 5 and 10 nominees” rule only serves to cheapen the value of what it means to be a Best Picture nominee.

  10. Paddy Mulholland
    November 30, 2013

    Zd30 had broader but less passionate appeal

    Oh no it had plenty of passionate support, just a lot of passionate vitriol slung its way too. Ridiculous that even though a voter can’t technically vote against a film, negative campaigns can have such a devastating impact.

  11. KT
    November 30, 2013

    Negative campaigns really dilute the prestige of the Oscars. I mean, how can certain winners really believe they were the best and not feel guilty when they played dirty to get to the podium? And while Affleck himself may have done no harm besides speaking with Academy voters and his friends in Washington from Connecticut/Massachusetts/California, it’d be naive to believe that his PR team didn’t play some role in the fall of ZDT, the controversy for which magically ended right after Argo won the Oscar.

    The Dark Knight is decent and all, but the Academy has done far worse than not nominate this movie for Best Picture.

  12. Christophe
    November 30, 2013

    Fair point Paddy! The Oscar goes to the least controversial film, the red carpet-path of least resistance, though some Canucks were pissed off by Argo!

  13. November 30, 2013

    We used to run a lot of casual reader polls here at AD. Best Living Directors, Best Gay Themed Movies of all time, etc. We’d have to set up the polls with dozens and dozens of choices. But we usually asked the readers to only select their five top choices. Then we’d let the results emerge to show the support for each film or director. The outcome always looked fair and reasonable to most of us.

    There was no need to do any convoluted reapportioning of ‘weaker’ selections. That reeks of rigging and borderline gerrymandering to me. We’d just let the simple system suffice and let the chips fall where they may.

    Because we were never ashamed of our results. We were proud of our collective brainpower.

    Unlike the Academy’s top brass who were apparently horrified to see that 10% or more of Academy voters thought the Blind Side and Extremely Loud were two of the 10 best movies of the year. They were ashamed to let the world see that there are Academy members who have such pedestrian taste. Likewise, I have no doubt that some members of the Academy were disgusted that District 9 and The Kids Are All Right got in.

    So what do you do to hide the true range of varied taste of 6000 people? You rig the system. You go to your accountants and say, “Hey, we all for more variety — but not if it’s going to mean the public gets to see that some of us have shitty taste and some of us have an avant-garde attitude. So what can you do with these ballots to make sure the results are more homogenized?

    PriceWaterHouseCopper replies: “You mean you’re willing to sacrifice the fringe masterpieces in order to cover up the fact that many of the voters like fringe turds too?”

    And the Top Brass says, “You better believe it.”

    So PriceWaterhouseCooper shrugs and give the Academy Board exactly what it wants. More movies culled from the middle of the road, and all the surprises — gems and turds alike — pushed off in a ditch.

    (It would be a snap to run an experiment here at AD. Let readers choose from 50 movies. One poll allows tyou the make 5 choices. Another poll allows you to select 10. See how the results of the two systems compare).

    Forget the slippery tricks of “complicated wrinkle called ‘the surplus rule’ that kicks in, apportioning partial votes” — why do we need a complicated wrinkle? Here’s why: It’s there to smooth out and disguise too much variation.

    first choices with less than 1 percent of the vote have their votes shifted to the second (or third, fourth or fifth)”

    That’s some bullshit right there. In plain terms: No, you can’t have your #1 choice count because it’s too unique. So we’re going to take your ballot and screw with it. Don’t worry, as soon as we find a movie on your list that already fits in with what we find acceptable, then that’s the movie you’re voting for.

  14. Al Robinson
    November 30, 2013

    Okay, in my opinion, if it were only 5 for Best Picture, from the ones I’ve seen so far:

    12 Years a Slave
    All Is Lost
    Captain Phillips
    Gravity
    Rush

    If it’s 5 – 10:

    12 Years a Slave
    All Is Lost
    Captain Phillips
    Fruitvale Station
    Gravity
    Prisoners
    Rush

    When ALL movies are released

    If it was only 5: (It probably should be)

    12 Years a Slave
    American Hustle
    Gravity
    Inside Llewyn Davis
    The Wolf of Wall Street

    If it was 5 – 10: (It probably should be)

    12 Years a Slave
    All Is Lost
    American Hustle
    Fruitvale Station
    Gravity
    Inside Llewyn Davis
    Nebraska
    The Wolf of Wall Street

  15. Al Robinson
    November 30, 2013

    I can’t decide if I would throw Captain Phillips into my final (should be) list and make it 9 instead of 8. I mean, does it truly “deserve” to be nominated for Best Picture?

  16. Al Robinson
    November 30, 2013

    I left off my list because:

    Saving Mr. Banks – It looks like it might be too sappy, which doesn’t hold a movie up in my book.

    Labor Day – Just doesn’t look like it’ll be as good as the others I put on the list.

    August: Osage County – Same reason as Labor Day.

    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – This movie is probably the biggest ? mark of the whole Oscar season. It could be good, or could be too weird.

  17. Al Robinson
    November 30, 2013

    And:

    Her – Same reason as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, only more so.

  18. Vily
    November 30, 2013

    So, after tomorrow we should start to hear a bit more, huh! I know that everyone is keeping shush about Wolf but is anyone discussing DiCaprio’s performance? So far the only credible “official” response has come from Aronofsky who saw the movie in a private screening describing at “fearless, brave and brilliant”. Will see… Can’t wait to shut the naysayers up. But you never know. It’s so so competitive this year.

  19. Bryce Forestieri
    November 30, 2013

    I endorse the fixed 10 nominees, but only let the smart members vote. Like pass a test or something.

  20. Al Robinson
    November 30, 2013

    Bryce,

    +1

  21. November 30, 2013

    Like pass a test or something.

    You know what would be a great test. Ask the members how many of the nominees they bothered to watch.

    For example, in 2005, if you just couldn’t stomach Brokeback Mountain then you don’t get a ballot.

    In 2011, if you never got around to seeing We Need to Talk About Kevin then you do not get a ballot.

  22. menyc
    November 30, 2013

    I agree they should have to prove that they watched the film. Sadly not possible.

  23. Tony
    November 30, 2013

    First a test for AMPAS, then a test for political elections — hey, wait, I kinda like that. :-)

    The Picture/Director correlation is very strong, because most BP nominees are epic in scope, etc. It makes sense that, say, Beresford was snubbed for “Driving Miss Daisy.” It’s a filmed play; it’s strong points are the acting and writing. Sometimes a director gets swept in, even for those types of films, but not always.

    (Last year’s Affleck nomination snub was just weird.)

  24. Bryce Forestieri
    November 30, 2013

    if you never got around to seeing We Need to Talk About Kevin then you do not get a ballot.

    That one still hurts. Swinton, Shannon, and Fassbender snubs were the result of their respective films being underseen by AMPAS. Otherwise I can’t explain.

    My Choices, 2011

    Best Actress

    1. Tilda Swinton – WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN
    2. Kirsten Dunst – MELANCHOLIA
    3. Olivia Colman – TYRANNOSAUR
    4. Kiera Knightley – A DANGEROUS METHOD
    5. Yoon Jeong-hee – POETRY

    ————-left out for no reason————

    6. Anna Paquin – MARGARET
    7. Charlize Theron – YOUNG ADULT
    8. Leila Hatami – A SEPARATION
    9. Elena Anaya – THE SKIN I LIVE IN
    10. Elizabeth Olsen – MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE

    Best Actor

    1. Michael Fassbender – SHAME
    2. Michael Shannon – TAKE SHELTER
    3. Brad Pitt – MONEYBALL
    4. Ryan Gosling – DRIVE
    5. Gary Oldman – TINKER TAYLOR SOLDIER SPY

    ————-left out for no reason————

    6. Matthias Schoenaerts – BULLHEAD
    7. Koji Yakusho – HARA-KIRI: DEATH OF A SAMURAI
    8 Peter Mullan – TYRANNOSAUR
    9. Thomas Doret – THE KID WITH A BIKE
    10. Payman Moaadi – A SEPARATION

    Beresford was snubbed for “Driving Miss Daisy.”

    He did a great job though. I would have nominated him instead of Jim Sheridan. Nothing against Sheridan either –just happens that DAISY is a greater film than MY LEFT FOOT.

    Test should include only Basics.

    Example: Watch following clip then select what best describes what they used to shoot it.

    A) 35mm
    B) 16mm
    C) Alexa
    D) Red
    E) 65mm
    F) Lumix
    G) iPhone
    H) none of the above

    Example 2: How about explain Sound Mixing vs. Sound Editing? (LOL)

    Failure to answer correctly will result in you being banned from voting in the Academy Awards

  25. Free
    November 30, 2013

    Forget ten, or nine (what an odd number to settle on), or whatever. Just five. FIVE!

  26. rufussondheim
    November 30, 2013

    Yes, KT, my favorite nominee is the one that gets the The Tree of Life slot. Last year, two films got that slot (Amour and Beasts.) The thing is, this year that film is probably going to be 12 Years a Slave. Not sure how many extra votes there will be for other art house films.

  27. KT
    November 30, 2013

    I love how you totally dumped the entire 2011 Best Actress lineup. It was pretty terrible, and it showed that the voting actors didn’t watch the actresses. They saw Demian Bichir and Gary Oldman, but not Tilda Swinton or Kirsten Dunst or Olivia Colman. I don’t think Gosling was that competitive for Drive, but certainly Fassbender and Michael Shannon. I don’t know, I think this shows an interesting dynamic within the actor’s branch too, besides the fact some performances (and movies) scare them: that they are more likely to go for a more “interesting” choice in the Best Actor category rather than Best Actress. Maybe that explains why Meryl Streep has been a filler nomination quite a few times in her 17 nominations. I think if I ever saw her in person, I’d probably imitate her The Iron Lady voice, “I have done battle, every single day of my life” or “My father always told me…”

  28. KT
    November 30, 2013

    Also, stating the obvious here but it’s pretty clear that most performances outside of the movies nominated in other categories are generally ignored.

  29. November 30, 2013

    This year has been so great there should be 10 nominees. In fact you could easily have 20 great nominees. for best picture including Before Midnight, Mud, Rush, Dallas Buyers Club and Prisoners. I don’t expect these films to make the best picture cut though. An Elite list of five is fine in a weak year. But 2013 has been fantastic.

  30. December 1, 2013

    The mandatory 10 was really the best situation possible. Too bad they didn’t give that format more of a shot. I actually sent Sasha a piece I did about “The Missing 10th Nominee” that was specifically related to this, but it never got run. It was basically a piece about what movie would’ve been the 10th nominee the last two years when there were only 9. Here, I’ll just post it in the comments:

    THE MISSING 10TH NOMINEE

    Since the Academy changed its rules to “anything from 5 to 10 nominees” 2 years ago, they’ve had the same result. It appears that 9 nominees is the new status quo for the Oscars. But thinking about this got me wondering: If they had kept it at 10, what film would’ve pushed through to make it into the pack? For each of the last 2 years, I’d say there are 4 strong contenders. I looked to nominees in other major categories, as well as films which had success at the guilds, to try and determine the likeliest candidates. Let’s examine:

    2012

    MOONRISE KINGDOM

    With a year removed from the 2012 awards season, it seems clear to me that Moonrise Kingdom was the 10th nominee this past year, it was just not quite strong enough in the eyes of the Academy to realize it. Also, the next most likely candidates were either too “weird”, too “genre-y” or too “safe”. Moonrise Kingdom turned up as an Original Screenplay nominee at the Oscars, a nomination it also received at the WGA. It was a Best Picture nominee at the PGA (which is its strongest case for a Pic nod) and the Globes, and made the AFI list. It was all over the critics’ lists, including big love at the BFCA. It also did gangbusters at the box office in limited release. Perhaps it was viewed as too similar to Wes Anderson’s previous output, but its not like they were ever in the habit of rewarding him in the past. In any case, it seems most likely simply by process of elimination.

    THE MASTER

    The Oscars saw fit to nominate Joaquin Phoenix in Lead, Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Supporting Actor and Amy Adams in Supporting Actress. The only film with more love from the Acting branch this past year was The Silver Linings Playbook. Daniel Day Lewis constantly gave shout outs to Phoenix in his numerous acceptance speeches. It was easily one of the best reviewed films of the year, turning up at virtually every critics circle in some way (except New York, curiously). That same acting trio got nominated at the Globes, but only Hoffman turned up at SAG. It was a WGA nominee for Original Screenplay, although that nod failed to materialize on Oscar night. If it was perhaps slightly more palatable for mainstream audiences, this movie would’ve been a powerhouse on the awards circuit and could’ve even dominated Oscar night. Instead, Paul Thomas Anderson followed his muse down a path that was much more complicated, and delivered an elusive, breathtakingly beautiful film that many didn’t seem to get.

    SKYFALL

    Many of the pieces seemed perfectly in place for Skyfall to emerge as nominee number 10. It was the 50th anniversary of the James Bond character, and the Bond franchise hadn’t felt any love from the Academy in a long, long time. Adele was poised to pick up the first Oscar win for a Bond song ever (isn’t that insane?). Sam Mendes, once an Academy darling, was helming. The critics adored it. It was sure to be all over the tech categories. Most importantly, it was the first Bond film to reach a billion dollars globally, a feat that only 16 films EVER had accomplished at the time. But at the end of the day, its the same old song. Genre is genre, and those filmmakers will have to settle with the awful consolation prize of making gobs of cash and being adored by the public.

    FLIGHT

    The only other movie I could imagine breaking in is Flight, although it seems rather unlikely. The fact that it turned up in Lead Actor and Original Screenplay is a good start. Washington got a lot of love, picking up nods at the Globes and the SAG as well. But the film didn’t really make a splash beyond his performance, some strong box office numbers and a 4 star rave from Roger Ebert. Denzel was a lock for a nomination, but that’s about it.

    Other longshot possibilities:
    THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
    THE AVENGERS
    THE IMPOSSIBLE
    BRAVE
    THE SESSIONS
    ANNA KARENINA

    2011

    THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

    The movie I think would have shown up as the 10th nominee in 2011 is The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, for many reasons. Looking over the list of winners and nominees at the Oscars that year, you immediately see evidence of Academy support. It received nominations for Actress, Editing (which it won), Cinematography, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. Rooney Mara was recognized with a nomination for Best Actress – Drama at the Golden Globes. Critics weren’t too crazy about it, but it did make the AFI list. It also turned up as a Best Picture nominee at the Producers Guild, an Adapted Screenplay nominee at the Writers Guild, and amazingly, David Fincher was a Directors Guild nominee, yet the film still failed to secure a place at the top on Oscar night. Why you ask? There are several possible explanations.

    1) The Academy really doesn’t want to like David Fincher, even though secretly they really, really do. Perhaps they view him as too cold, too clinical. Perhaps his blase public attitude towards the Oscar circus makes him seem “ungrateful”. But his films are still showing up one way or another on Oscar night, so its clear that the work is registering. When will the Oscars give up the act and admit they have a crush?
    2) Rooney Mara didn’t show up in the SAG nominees and neither did the ensemble (could’ve been due to folks not having seen the film yet).
    3) The movie failed to connect with the writing branch at the Oscars, despite being a WGA nominee.
    4) The movie was a minor disappointment at the box office. No one would call a film that grosses 102 million domestically a flop, but that was against a 90 million dollar production budget. Foreign sales didn’t help matters much, with the film taking in 232 million worldwide. Again, not a flop, but not the worldwide smash many were expecting due to the popularity of those books.
    5) Critics didn’t rally behind it like Fincher’s previous work, The Social Network, possibly because they felt burned by that movie’s lack of success at the previous Oscar ceremony. Or maybe they just didn’t like it as much. Either way there was a drastic difference in how those two movies were received critically.

    BRIDESMAIDS

    The second most likely film to get the 10th nod is Bridesmaids, a comedy mega hit that fared surprisingly well during awards season. Showed up on many critics’ lists, culminating in its appearance on the AFI Top 10 list. At the Oscars it received nominations for Supporting Actress and Original Screenplay. The film was nominated for Best Picture – Musical/Comedy at the Globes, with Kristen Wiig also receiving a nod for Best Actress (curiously, McCarthy was snubbed). It was one of the 10 Producers Guild nominees, no doubt due to its massive box office success. The script also turned up as a nominee at the WGA. But the most compelling evidence of it’s support lies in the fact that it also got a nomination for Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards (Melissa McCarthy also turned up there as well in Supporting). The answer as to why it didn’t make it boils down to one simple thing: Its a comedy. No room for laughs at the Oscars, only seriousness and heaviosity.

    TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY

    Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of the beloved BBC miniseries proved to be almost as beloved upon its release. The film was showered with accolades across the board. At the BAFTAs it was nominated for Best Film, Director, British Film (won), Adapted Screenplay (won), Leading Actor, Score, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Costume Design and Sound. That BAFTA love turned in to a surprising amount of love at the Oscars, with the movie securing nominations for Best Actor, Adapted Screenplay and Score. Perhaps the reason why it failed to materialize as a Best Pic nominee is simply because the film didn’t have strong industry support outside of the BAFTA set. It was ineligible for the WGA and the AFI list, obviously, but it didn’t show up at SAG, PGA, DGA or even the Golden Globes.

    A SEPARATION

    Won Best Foreign Film, and was nominated for Original Screenplay. One of the best reviewed films of all time. An absolute knockout punch of a film. With Amour being nominated the very next year I wonder if this movie had an outside chance at breaking in. But it seems unlikely due to the ceremony’s knack for ghettoizing genre films, animated films, and foreign language films.

    Other longshot possibilities:
    HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2
    MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
    DRIVE
    THE IRON LADY
    WARRIOR
    THE IDES OF MARCH
    RANGO

    What movie do you think will inevitably be left out of the list this year?

  31. December 1, 2013

    For 2013, if I had to pick 5, right now I’d go with:

    12 Years A Slave
    Gravity
    Blue Jasmine
    Before Midnight
    Fruitvale Station

    But if they still let me vote for 10, I’d pick:

    12 Years A Slave
    Gravity
    Blue Jasmine
    Before Midnight
    Fruitvale Station
    Inside Llewyn Davis
    Mud
    Saving Mr. Banks
    Nebraska
    The Spectacular Now

    I still need to see Wolf Of Wall Street, American Hustle, Her, Labor Day, The Past and a few other things before I lock my list, though.

  32. Riley
    December 1, 2013

    My opinion,

    1. 12 Years a Slave
    2. Gravity
    3. Captain Phillips
    4. Saving Mr. Banks
    5. Nebraska

    If 6: The Wolf of Wall Street (could be a top 5 movie)
    If 7: American Hustle
    If 8: Inside Llewyn Davis
    If 9: The Butler
    If 10: Blue Jasmine

    With an outside chance are Fruitvale Station, August: Osage County and Her but those 10 listed above seem pretty solid.

    but ultimately it’s almost impossible to predict how many nominees there will be

  33. Bryce Forestieri
    December 1, 2013

    Chris,

    Swell idea and execution. If I had to choose between the films you cited, I wish THE MASTER or MOONRISE KINGDOM had made it last year. DRIVE for 2011.

    Boy did they really expose their stupidity by freaking out so fast at those two pretty great line-ups.

    I don’t think Gosling was that competitive for Drive

    Yeah, I don’t think so either, but he was deserving. I remember Russell Crowe confounded when he learned Gosling wasn’t nominated.

  34. KT
    December 1, 2013

    Part of the problem also is media conception. When stars get snubbed, that makes the news (duh). It’s seen as a huge public outrage when Leo DiCaprio isn’t nominated or Ben Affleck because everyone knows them. But when someone who actually did great work but isn’t a huge celebrity misses out the criticism is not nearly as strong. How vocal were people about Tilda Swinton and Michael Fassbender or Kathryn Bigelow last year? Somewhat noticeable, but nowhere near Affleck’s pity fest all over morning television and the awards season. How vocal was the media about Ryan Gosling in Drive or Blue Valentine and Michael Shannon and Olivia Colman and Ann Dowd? Non-existent. So yeah, media power plays a big role in this.

  35. December 1, 2013

    How vocal was the media about Ryan Gosling in Drive or Blue Valentine and Michael Shannon and Olivia Colman and Ann Dowd? Non-existent. So yeah, media power plays a big role in this.

    Good point, K.
    And I daresay there are members of the Academy who could not identify Olivia Coleman in a police lineup.

  36. December 1, 2013

    “And I daresay there are members of the Academy who could not identify Olivia Coleman in a police lineup”

    Hah, you give them too much credit. Me, I don’t think half of AMPAS could identify Olivia Coleman (much less Ann Dowd) even if she were plastered on every milk carton in America.

  37. Bryce Forestieri
    December 1, 2013

    I mean even if there was high-profile vocal public outrage for these unjust snubs, that would only speak as to the “importance” of an Academy Award nomination

    You’re damn right to be outraged! This is a huge deal, he he he, there’s only 5 spots available, and I’m the expert judge of who gets in, ho ho ho

    they would love it, they do love it

  38. Sammy
    December 1, 2013

    My picks for BP:

    12 Years a Slave
    Her
    Fruitvale Station
    Frances Ha
    Inside Llewyn Davis

  39. December 1, 2013

    Oh God. The F’in “surplus rule”. *hangs self*

    I hate this stupid math shit. lol I want ten nominees at all time and they should have to rank twenty just as punishment for the last couple of years. :P

    Honestly, this year is a weak year to me. But you can always find ten. And I’m going by an objective best, not my favorites. I know the difference. Suppose I had a ballot, even having not seen anything that hasn’t been released wide, I could fill out both a five and ten slot ballot. But they’d be different. Watch.

    1. Black Nativity
    2. The Desolation of Smaug
    3. Mud
    4. Blue Jasmine
    5. American Hustle
    6. Prisoners
    7. The Place Beyond the Pines
    8. The Butler
    9. The Wolf of Wall Street
    10. 12 Years a Slave

    Now if it was only five it changes to this:

    1. American Hustle
    2. Black Nativity
    3. Blue Jasmine
    4. Mud
    5. 12 Years a Slave

    See how that went. 12 Years a Slave is last both times because I don’t think it needs me but it’s still there, just in case. Having not seen American Hustle, I’m including it because I can’t really see a way that it won’t be one of my favorites of the year and I haven’t known Russell to make a bad picture. LOTR:FOTR is my all-time favorite movie. Enough said. If I had free screenings and a screener sent to my house there’s no way I would vote without having watched all of these. Black Nativity is my favorite of the year so far and not even an underdog but I have to vote for my favorite. You’re a doodie, if you don’t. But beyond that you have to put the quality whether it affected you personally or not. That’s why with only 5 slots my votes change to the more objective choices. Okay I think the Hobbit movies are great but what about everyone else? What will history think? Then after that the order is strategy based on my own crappy understanding of how the ballots are counted.

  40. Alex Baquero
    December 1, 2013

    Having 5-10 nominees for picture shouldn’t take away any prestige from the category considering the amount of films released every year.

  41. Filipe
    December 1, 2013

    If this year they don’t nominate 10, they never will.

    All these films have the 5% #1 potential:

    12 Years a Slave
    Gravity
    American Hustle
    Wolf of Wall Street
    Nebraska
    Saving Mr. Banks
    Her (horny old men will like the idea of having phone sex with Scarlett Johansson, or any kind of sex actually)
    Captain Phillips
    Inside Llewyn Davis
    August: Osage County (actors, man)
    ——— potential but I don’t think will make the cut ——
    Blue Jasmine
    Mud

    Films being predicted often that I don’t see having enough #1′s:
    The Butler (c’mon, Harvey and Oprah will have to do some serious blowjobs to get this one over these I mentioned above)
    yes, that’s it, I hated The Butler. :)

  42. Al Robinson
    December 1, 2013

    I don’t understand why there isn’t a better chance for Before Midnight getting nominated for BP? It has been loved by pretty much everyone who’s seen it. Metacritic has it at a score of 94, which is only below 12 Years a Slave and Gravity. Is it because it is the 3rd film of a series?

  43. rufussondheim
    December 1, 2013

    While Olivia Coleman will not be in the American remake of Broadchurch, Jackie Weaver will be. Since we already have a Coleman performance of that role caught on film for forever, I find this to be an acceptable substitute.

  44. December 1, 2013

    ^
    ok fine. But then the David Tennant role should go to Christoph Waltz. Or Alan Arkin. Or Joe Pesci.

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