Pete Hammond is floating an idea that Academy members can’t come up with ten movies to put on their ballots. In fact, usually voters send in their ballots early but not this year:
However, as the 5 p.m.¬†Saturday¬†deadline for turning in¬†ballots¬†listing those¬†10¬†choices¬†looms for¬†voters,¬†there are a remarkable number of¬†academy members who have¬†yet to make up their minds and actually¬†send them in to the PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants.
In countless conversations with academy voters over the past two weeks it’s apparent that not everyone is able to come up with¬†10 movies.¬†¬†In fact it’s an epidemic. According to the overwhelming majority of members to whom I have spoken, they get to five or six and give up on the other slots. One voter went so far as to actually send me an e-mail asking me to suggest seven other movies to augment their own three choices. Of course I obliged.
“I can barely find five movies to nominate. I have no idea what to do for 10,” one exasperated member told me this week. When prodded for more information it was apparent they had only¬†just a few of the¬†real contenders and many in their pile of DVD screeners had so far gone unopened.
Let’s help them out, shall we Awards Daily readers? Here some advice on how to approach these last few desperate days. In the end, it will still come down to a majority vote. Therefore, we will probably see convention playing out, with maybe one or two surprises here or there.¬† At any rate, here is Awards Daily’s foolproof guide to diving into the pile.
1. Embrace the grim. Sure, these are troubled times. The last thing anyone wants to do is sink into a world of hell. But what you need to remember is that dipping into the well of hell lifts you back up. The only way, in fact, to get to that level of appreciation of all living things and life as we know it is to dip into the world of hell. Hard movies to watch, like The Road or The Messenger or Precious will take you down, but you will be lifted back up again. It is NOT SO BAD.
2. Break free of AGS. ” Academy Genre Syndrome.” It does not have to be a “period drama” to be a great film. Mainstream comedies, sci-fi, romantic comedies, horror films, obtuse indie love triangle borderline porn films — you’re there. There are no genres, as a writing professor once told me, only good films and bad films. Foreign language films, animated films, documentaries — ten best films of the year can be anything you want them to be.
3. Only vote for movies Awards Daily says are good. Okay, just kidding. This is not true at all. We are very biased around here and tend to focus only on a handful of films. Just listen to our readers complain. There is only one way out for you Academy voters: trust yourselves. But base that trust on watching the movies. You can’t believe anything anyone tells you. One man’s masterpiece is another’s piece of trash.
4. When in doubt, watch it again. Most of the time voters aren’t looking for Ms. Right; they’re looking for Ms. Right Now.¬† A second, and even third viewing of film can reveal its best parts.¬† It is not unlike sex in this regard – the first time may be a dazzler but if that’s the best you got, honey, you’re in trouble. Most voters don’t have time to watch all of the movies, let alone the best ones twice, but if you keep hearing people say a movie was good and you came up short on it, check it out again.
5. Toss preconceived notions out the window. A lot can happen to a movie, good and bad, on the way to Oscar. If you “heard that one was bad,” don’t trust what people say. I have found that much of the time, not all of the time, people can be wrong about films. For instance, there were some dumb rumors floating around about A Single Man being “gay-o-vision” or whatever, or that somehow Tom Ford didn’t know what he was doing – completely wrong on all fronts.
6. Don’t Let the Hype Get you Down – too often a film is held to too high a standard because it has been hyped to death and therefore can’t live up to that hype. Try to see the movie as the filmmaker intended, not by how people have reacted to the film. It requires courage to have confidence in one’s choices because most of us want acceptance, and hate being laughed at. Human nature and all of that. But too often films are discarded because they couldn’t hold the heaps of over-praise bloggers and publicists laden them with. I have seen too many great films booted out of awards season because voters were disappointed, ultimately, that what they’re seeing didn’t match the image they had in their heads.¬† The movie is what it is. It should only be judged on what it is.
7. Women are good directors too. Just saying. Moving along. The Hurt Locker, Bright Star, An Education, It’s Complicated, Julie & Julia…what a year for the dames. I know, they’re not what we’ve come to expect our Best Director winners to be – straight white alpha males. Moreover, their films should not be chosen simply because they were directed by women. But hey, one can’t help but notice that women made blockbusters and critically acclaimed films this year.
8. Don’t worry, they won’t respect you in the morning. It is part of the game of watching Oscar to bemoan the Academy’s choices. This is an annual tradition. So just know that no matter what you do there are going to be lots of people who hate your choices. What’s an Oscar voter to do? Just go for it, man. Go for it.
9. No pressure or anything. Really, no big deal. Just whole careers on the line and potentially millions of dollars at stake – but hey, at least you’re not trying to pass Health Care legislation, right?
10. The heart is a lonely hunter. It is also fickle. And perhaps a tad overrated. Your brain might also have a hand in this decision. But anything below the belt? Die now, pay later.