Still Sorta Don’t Get It

Vanity Fair‘s John Lopez has attempted to explain how the Academy preferential voting system is much more of a good thing than a bad thing. “The Academy grabbed our attention this year by expanding the best-picture nominees to an all-inclusive field of 10,” he begins. “But amid all the [talk] about whether or not this devalues Oscar, no one seemed to notice that the Academy also switched to a preferential voting system for the Best Picture category.

“That is, until Steven Zeitchik at the L.A. Times exposed the system, painting a nightmare scenario in which the most popular film doesn’t win; The New Yorker‘s Hendrik Hertzberg wondered if the new system might favor Hurt Locker; and Awards Daily mused that broad Academy love for Quentin Tarantino‘s self-proclaimed masterpiece Inglourious Basterds could let it pull an upset.

“Primed by our own love for Tarantino’s revisionist spaghetti-Holocaust drama (and inspired by Mark Lisanti‘s creative vision of how the new voting works), we at Little Gold Men figured that running a thought experiment — How could Basterds take the whole souffle? — might help us and you decipher the dark magic behind the Academy’s system. Our conclusion: the Academy might just have saved democracy.”

  • Flash Gordon

    If they had this system a few years ago we might have been spared the nightmare scenario of CRASH winning Best Picture. Or maybe not. Still don’t know how this system works either.

  • stomp

    Do you really think a movie about Jews kicking Nazi butt has a chance at Oscar in Hollywood.

    Come on!

  • Colin

    What’s nice about this year is that the Oscar could go to any one of those films.

  • BurmaShave

    This article is excellent, finally beginning to understand the system.

  • http://www.obsessedwithfilm.com Matt Holmes

    I agree with Burma Shave. I actually now understand how this voting system works thanks to the Vanity Fair article. Every vote, and every ranking of the 1-10 counts… just as it should be.

  • CanCan

    Thanks for the article, but how can you guys still sorta don`t get it??? If you read the whole article it is as clear as daylight. Seriously, for the ones who read the whole article, what part do you still don`t get??? Also, what was your score on the math section of SAT??

  • BurmaShave

    “but how can you guys still sorta don`t get it???”

    I don’t know, what was the score on the verbal?

  • BurmaShave

    HA! your. Whoops, comical. Well anyway, you’re an ass.

  • CanCan

    Burma,

    Not a native speaker so I don`t think it is fair but low :))

    Ass comment is also uncalled for in my opinion as I just was pointing out that the article goes out of its way to explain it point by point. It actually goes through the process like it is telling it to a 4 year old.

    Jeff is very harsh with stupidty. I love him for that but “still not sorta getting” the process after reading this article is not much different than not understanding the health care reform would be good for most of the country.

  • Gordon27

    I’m with Can to the extent that, Jeff, can you explain what you don’t understand? It’s not necessarily that it seems *that* simple (though it kinda does, yeah), but that, since we understand it, we don’t understand what you don’t understand. So what don’t you understand about it? Then we can all explain it to you.

    My question is, is this actually a change? Wasn’t this always the way it was done, or was that only for the nominations (which, hmmm, come to think of it, Jeff never understood the counting there either…).

  • DeeZee

    The only good thing about QT or Basterds winning an Oscar is the guy’s ego is likely to go into hyper-drive, and he might crash and burn harder than he did with Grindhouse.

  • Gordon27

    I love how DZ predicts things that he wouldn’t like as being impossible, but then, when they become possible, he says, “Well, if that happens, it’s obviously going to lead to disaster and failure in the long run.” It’s exactly the same thing you said when ‘Avatar’ became the highest grossing movie of all time. I’d say it’s optimistic, but it’s so cynical because it’s rooted in bitterness, in your highly overactive desire to see successful people fail so you can feel better about how shitty your life is.

  • DarthCorleone

    Gordon27 >> Once past the nominations process, up until now each voter listed only one of the five nominees as the preferred winner, and that was the vote: a raw tally with the plurality winning. Thus, theoretically, a movie could have won with just over 20 percent of the vote.

    Keeping that the same would have left us with a process in which a movie could theoretically win with just over 10 percent of the vote. Statistical solutions such as instant runoff voting have their flaws, but they’re much better than that alternative.

    Additionally, I like that voters now have the ability to express admiration for more than one film and conversely rank the movies they vehemently don’t want to win Best Picture at the bottom of the list. It’s a much more nuanced process that gives the voters more power, and in a world rife with “top ten” lists, it makes a hell of a lot of sense.

  • Gordon27

    THe thing is, I knew they had already had in this in place somewhere, because I remember trying to explain it to Jeff *last* year.

  • DarthCorleone

    You might be remembering when they first announced the ten nominees and announced this process. Or maybe they have always used preferential voting to select list of the nominees; I don’t know about that. The actual Best Picture vote after the nominees are selected hasn’t used this system since back in the forties.

  • DeeZee

    Gordon: I don’t mind if they earned their success. But when they just leech off real talent, then they don’t deserve recognition.

  • Gordon27

    Darth – I believe you, I didn’t mean to sound as if I was questioning your facts.

  • DarthCorleone

    Gordon27 >> Sorry if I sounded defensive, disputatious or confrontational. That was not my typed intent. Silly internet. I’ll leave the squabbling to you and DeeZee.

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