Plurality of “Others”

“After the wonderfully imaginative Mexican movie Pan’s Labyrinth chalked up three quick victories — for art direction, makeup and cinematography — it must have looked to most people like a major upset when it lost best foreign-language film to the German The Lives of Others,” writes Newsweek‘s David Ansen.

“But the entire Academy doesn’t vote in this category, only those members who have seen all five nominated films. Which means that closer to 500 people, rather than 5,800 (the membership of the Academy), choose the winner, and anyone with his ear to the ground could hear the enthusiasm that Florian Henckel von Donnersmark‘s tale of the East German Stasi generated in Hollywood screening rooms.

“Had The Lives of Others gotten a wider release in ’06 (it only played a one-week qualifying run in Los Angeles) it would probably have received nominations in other categories as well, such as original screenplay and perhaps even direction.”

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com dre

    I was very surprised. I picked Pan’s in almost every cat save screenplay and cinematography (Lubezki wuz robbed).

    I thought Lives Of Others had died since september when it looked like the clear favorite.

  • Mgmax, le Corbeau

    Jeff, you know somebody (not me) made this point a week ago in your very own comment sections…

  • corey3rd

    so Pan’s got a screw job because the other foreign films didn’t send out screeners?

  • Dan Revill

    I’m confused – to vote in the foreign you have to see the films at an Academy approved screening and not just on DVD?

  • Mgmax

    Jeff, you know somebody (not me) made this point a week ago in your very own comment sections…

  • lazespud

    Yup to Aladdin —

    Academy rules say that you must have seen all five movies at special academy screening runs where your presence is verified… it’s a terrific way to ensure that people are voting on movies they’ve actually seen… yet it does limit that pool of voters down quite a bit. You end up wondering how many of the voters actually saw King of Scotland and the Queen, and how many voted for Whittaker and Mirren just because they heard they were the “frontrunners”. At least with the foriegn nods you know that the people who voted actually saw every film…

  • Aladdin Sane

    I’m confused – to vote in the foreign you have to see the films at an Academy approved screening and not just on DVD?

  • erniesouchak

    I can add to lazespud’s explanation because I sat thru one of these screenings a few years ago. Academy voters do have to sign in to verify their presence, but what might be lesser known is that more than one of these movies are screened on a given night, and viewers can leave partway thru a screening and still vote, as long as they’ve seen at least 15 min. or so. When I attended, China’s submission was followed by Canada’s submission. Canada’s sucked, and I and the voters who took me as their guest left after the requisite 15 minutes. I didn’t ask them if they voted on it, but I assume they did. That said, I’m thrilled Lives of Others won.

  • Craig Kennedy

    Pan’s got as many Oscars as Dreamgirls and Babel combined so I’d hardly say it was a screw job.

  • jse33

    So in other words, only the old farts were voting in foreign language and thought Pan’s Labyrinth was too “hip” for them.

  • cjKennedy

    Pan’s got as many Oscars as Dreamgirls and Babel combined so I’d hardly say it was a screw job.

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