Thursday, 8 September 2011
oscars and republicans
Over at Grantland, where I bet you don't spend much time, is a report on early films which might be Oscar contenders. A bit like yesterday's post, this is about sausage-making, a story of how something tasty really comes into being. It's fun:
This year, the number of Best Picture nominees — which could be anything from five to 10 — won't be revealed until the contenders are announced in January, and will be in large part determined by the number of first-place votes each movie gets on the nominating ballot. So if you're an Oscar follower, you'll be hearing one number again and again in the next few months: 5 percent. That's the minimum overall portion of first-place votes that a movie needs to get into this year's Best Picture race, which translates to about 250 voters saying, "Yeah, I think that's the best movie of 2011." That means that right now, Best Picture hopefuls are sort of like Republican primary contenders: It doesn't take much to stay in the game, but somebody, somewhere, needs to love you even if a majority of voters think you're stupid.
What's great about this new system is that it will encourage Oscarologists to think of the Academy not as a monolith with a uniform, hidebound aesthetic, but more accurately, as an accidental confederation of wildly disparate and conflicting factions and constituencies, any of which can become the target of niche campaigns.