Mark Lisanti is helping out AMPAS voters who may be a bit confused as to how to do the preferential ballot:
Hello, Academy Voter! Thank you for taking the time to fill out your ballot for Best Picture! Simply follow these easy, step-by-step instructions and sooner than you can say, ‚ÄúI‚Äôm up in the air for Up in the Air!‚Äù your votes will be in the mail, the vomiting from the panic-induced migraine will subside, and you can go back to making the Hollywood magic we‚Äôre all going to celebrate on March 7th! Here we go!
1. Read the list of the ten Best Picture nominees.
2. Ask yourself, ‚ÄúWhich of these ten films was my favorite?‚Äù
3. Place the number ‚Äú1‚Äù in the space following the title of your favorite film. (The Academy recommends that you do not write out the number as ‚Äúone‚Äù on the ballot; even though the accountants will still tabulate your vote, they find that an inelegant voting method.)
4. Congratulations! You have cast your vote for Best Picture!
5. Put aside the nagging thought, ‚ÄúWait, am I supposed to vote for my ‚Äòfavorite‚Äô film, or the ‚Äòbest‚Äô film? These might be two different things.‚Äù For the purposes of Best Picture voting, ‚Äúfavorite‚Äù and ‚Äúbest‚Äù will be considered the same thing.
6. But they‚Äôre not really the same, you say? We‚Äôre telling you: to us, they are! Don‚Äôt sweat it!
6b. Fine. If you insist on obsessing over semantics, you can erase (or cross out) the ‚Äú1‚Äù next to the name of your ‚Äúfavorite‚Äù film and place a new ‚Äú1‚Äù next to the name of what you think is the ‚Äúbest‚Äù film. It‚Äôs probably to the greater good that you now are recognizing the cinematic artistry of The Hurt Locker or Avatar instead of the feel-good simplicity of The Blind Side.
He finishes it this way:
16a. If you‚Äôre still confused and feel unable to properly execute your voting duties, you may use this pre-approved voting order in lieu of your own rankings:
1. The Hurt Locker
3. Inglorious Basterds
6. Up in the Air
7. An Education
8. A Serious Man
9. District 9
10. The Blind Side
17. You‚Äôre done! Place your completed ballot (or mostly completed, if you decided not to bother ranking Best Picture Two Through Best Picture Ten, or opted for the pre-approved list) in the provided envelope.
18. At 5 p.m. on March 2nd (‚ÄúDeadline Day‚Äù), a special PriceWaterhouseCoopers courier will arrive at your home to collect your Best Picture ballot. But please remember to separately submit the ballot containing your selections for all the other Oscar categories by U.S. mail, as the couriers will not be accepting those for hand-delivery!
19. Please do not re-open the envelope containing your ballot to 1) explain your actual Best Picture vote to the courier (they won‚Äôt be the actual accountants who are tabulating your vote!) or 2) change your vote back to your ‚Äúfavorite‚Äù film from your chosen ‚Äúbest‚Äù film. Let it go. You‚Äôre overthinking it now, and the couriers are very busy on Deadline Day!
20. Give the ballot to the courier. It‚Äôs out of your hands now! See you on March 7th!
So, of course we wanted to post this because they place The Hurt Locker at number one. We figure the film could use a boost after it was pounced on by three media outlets in a couple of days (curiously in the last week ballots are to be turned in. Notice how no other movie is taking a similar hit….gee….surprising?)
The Carpetbagger reports at length about a Newsweek article which gives the typical military reaction. This is the second Hurt Locker kill piece printed in Newsweek. The first one was a “the film is just meh” article, and this one is more of a so-and-so commander says the Jeremy Renner character was unreal. Well, yeah, had he been real he couldn’t have been seen as a metaphor for the “war is a drug” theme of not only his character, but the administration’s unstoppable obsession with the Middle East. This is why it’s important to remember that The Hurt Locker isn’t a film that is supposed to depict exactly what goes on a day in the life of a bomb tech in Iraq; it wouldn’t be an artful masterpiece if that were the case. It would be a straight up documentary or portrait. It would still be interesting and valuable (see the latest PBS Frontline episode on the war in Afghanistan) but it wouldn’t be art.
What I find funny, though, is how these negative smears start seeping up through the cracks in the floor – remember last year’s Slumdog is poverty exploitation and the children aren’t being paid and all of that? It’s the combination of a rival studio, pissed off publicists who hate to see another publicist/strategist steal their thunder, and a weary audience who just wants to see the frontrunner fail. All combine in hopes of creating the perfect storm for an upset.
It had no effect whatsoever on Slumdog Millionaire. That train was fired up and rode the rails all the way to the finish line, losing only one of its nominations.
Meanwhile, the Carpetbagger was snapped at a Hurt Locker party standing next to Kathryn Bigelow. But her reporting of the Newsweek piece proves she isn’t taking sides.
I don’t know for sure but I can’t think of a single other contender right now who is the victim of a smear campaign and/or a negative push at the moment. Can you?