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Friday
Dec272013

Oscar Voting Begins! Three Suggestions for Academy Members

And so we've come to it! Oscar ballots go out today and voting begins. That's potentially great timing for The Wolf of Wall Street and (maybe) Saving Mr Banks neither of which have done well in the "precursors" -an awful reductive name, sure, but an accurate one since we're long past the days when awards groups weren't primarily existing to either influence or predict the Oscar race. Both of those late blooming films could still find Oscar favor if voters are taken with them over this holiday break. The timing is also probably good news for American Hustle which is doing strong box office and doesn't have that 'shrugged off' by precursors feeling to overcome. 

But, if early predictions from the vast array of pundits hold, this is going to be yet another year that reminds distributors that October is a really great time to release Oscar contenders (Captain Phillips, 12 Years a Slave, Gravity) and maybe not everything needs to wait until the last week of the year. 

THREE SUGGESTIONS FOR THOSE BLESSED WITH BALLOTS

01 Watch two more screeners before voting. You can do it. For those in the acting branch might I suggest Short Term 12 and Enough Said? For those in technical fields, why not try Spring Breakers or The Grand Master or something else off the beaten path? Sometimes the small, weird or foreign movies that can't afford huge campaigns have incredible performances and brilliant craftsmanship. Gravity doesn't need your votes anyway. It's safe.

Throw in a couple more screeners. You can find 3 and a ½ hours this week.

02 PLEASE STOP CATEGORY FRAUD IN ITS TRACKS. The only cure for this madness is for you, the most important movie awards voters on the planet, to reject it. You have the power. If you think Julia Roberts is brilliant in August: Osage County vote for her in Best Actress. Even the author of that film refers to her as "the protagonist" Remember that when you pretend that leading movie stars are supporting, you are in point of fact, penalizing the hardworking character actors for whom the supporting categories were created in 1936. And with so many great supporting ladies available to you this year (Sally Hawkins, Léa Seydoux, Sarah Paulson are all under-loved and why is that?) why waste one of the five spots on a leading performer. Leading ladies have their own category. Vote for Julia there! 

03 Ignore the precursors. If you want to vote for James Franco in Spring Breakers or Blue is the Warmest Color for anything or, if you're in the costuming or production design branches and really believe in the work that's happening in a contemporary or out of time film like Stoker or Her or The Bling Ring or whatever but you feel like you're wasting your vote, do it anyway! Longshots can win Oscar nominations but they only can when people like you go with your true favorites and not with whatever high profile accomplishments are happening within the presumed Best Picture nominees. 

What three things would you ask AMPAS to consider?

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Reader Comments (33)

Of the things on their radar? The Blue Is The Warmest Color ladies, Omar in Foreign Film, and Frances Ha in literally any category--I am not picky. Of my dream nominees? Clio Barnard for Best Director, Spring Breakers for Cinematography, and Fill The Void in Screenplay.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTB

Just one: Stop giving memberships to lousy actors...

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiego

Unfortunately, AMPAS did not receive screeners of Short Term 12. So there's no way for them to see it even if they wanted to.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMitch

Please academy, AMY ADAMS over Judi Dench. Just please.

I'm also wondering how August will fair now that its buzz is dead and reviews are mostly negative. Would love to see Sarah Paulson or Amy Adams get in over Julia.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

1. Before Midnight in picture
2. Before Midnight in picture
3. Before Midnight in picture

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commentereduardo

1) Watch Stoker, especially if you are considering nominees for score and costumes/design.
2) Watch the Bling Ring for lots of reasons, but especially to see Emma Watson (I don't get why it seems to have completely faded out of discussions).
3) Watch Her - because many of us are *dying* to see it, and you have the opportunity to.

All that said, probably the most important thing is what Nathaniel stresses in point 3 - vote for some personal favorites. 12 Years and Gravity, Ejiofor and Blanchett don't need your votes. Think of the math (and wasted votes) and try to make a difference. Promote what you believe to be underseen gems.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

@Jordan: Shocked to be saying this, but after seeing Philomena a few days ago I really want Dench in over the other "default" ladies (Bullock, Streep and Thompson). She is so good in this role and I was all set to be pooh-poohing the performance and the movie. My five would be Adams, Blanchett, Dench, Exarchopoulous and Johansson. But hey, I'm a crazy person.

Academy, please consider 1) Out of the Furnace; 2) ScarJo (in whatever category); and 3) A.O. Scott's review of August: Osage County. Stop the madness!

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Just one (in addition to what Nat suggests). Vote with your consciencious, not what you think you should vote for.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

All is Lost, All is Lost, All is Lost. Please watch it, on a big screen if possible.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Dear AMPAS voters,

Acting friendly people, please watch Frances Ha, Blue is the Warmest Color, and Short Term 12. You want to vote for the best of the year, right? There's your chance.

Designy/techy people, please watch Stoker, Only God Forgives, and The World's End. You've tried the blockbusters. Now watch the films that actually do something really cool and unique with their visuals and sound.

Music branch, please remember that Frozen is eligible for Original Song AND Original Score. There's a whole lot of solid instrumental scoring in that film that deserves to be recognized just as much as "Let It Go." Stoker is also eligible for Song and Score. Get on that.

Thanks so much and happy voting,

Robert

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

I love your suggestions -- Stoker, Bling Ring and Spring Breakers do need love!

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Streep for the 18th nomination! Get rid of Bullock.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

I love that literally everyone commenting has different favorites! What a rich year for movies!

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTB

Here's one: Every year the Best Picture nominees typically include 4 or all 5 of the films receiving best actor nominations, but the reverse is true for Best Actress: typically just 1 or 2. Whether that's due to some pattern of subject matter and/or more solo performances from women, that discrepancy needs some thoughtful attention.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermikey67

@Robert Frozen isn't eligible for Score, sadly.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

Jordan, really? That means Stoker is my lone score nominee eligible for Original Score.

American Mary and Resolution aren't eligible in any categories. Only God Forgives and Frozen aren't eligible in Score. The Academy has failed me worse than ever.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

gosh, If Spring Breakers is nominated for ANYTHING I have promised to take everyone I know out for drinks.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHannahlily

Seek justice for Sally Hawkins!

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

One thing I would definitely say to the Academy is that nobody and nothing is safe. Just ask Ben Affleck. So, if you want to see Gravity (for example) nominated, you must vote for it.

Other than that, I agree with all the above. And so, here are three suggestions from me:

1) Nominate Abdellatif Kechiche in the Directing category. I know the film has been controversial for the arguments between its director and its actresses, but there are so many positives that come out of that film, and Kechiche's achievement is so blissful in terms of what is up on screen, that he deserves a nomination. (The actresses do too - I just hear fewer people calling for Kechiche to be nominated.)

2) Before Midnight is as honest as movies come. Vote for it in various categories - it is deserving.

3) Whatever one thinks of The Great Beauty, Toni Servillo was, for me, one of this year's most memorable leading men. Please give him some number one votes!

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

1.) Non-active, non-winners who have not worked in 20 years shall have membership revoked. Yes, this is an ageist proposal to weed out the people who are making your body 'un-hip'.

2.) Hard proof that members watched at least 80% of their screeners.

3.) Nominate both Adele E. and Amy Adams. Frances Ha and Enough Said for Original Screenplay. Gandolfini for Best Supporting Actor. Ignore all of Hans Zimmer's output for Best Original Score.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

1) Nominate Julie Delpy.
2) Think about why you find 'Gravity' mesmerizing. It's just only because of its director and technics? Because maybe you could replace Bullock by Delpy... And do not nominate its empty screenplay!
3) I will be hated for this: nominate Julia Roberts and Daniel Brühl in supporting and leave the "category fraud" debate for the next year... Because there are a lot of things to talk about.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbonobo

1. Think "outside of the box": James Franco ("Spring Breakers"), Scarlett Johansson ("Her"), Léa Seydoux ("Blue Is The Warmest Color") or Greta Gerwig ("Frances Ha") may not deliver performance that are the Academy's cup of tea but they are brilliant and should be recognized for their work instead of others who are getting most award attention thanks to the success of the movie itself and manipulative campaigns. Different is good, specially when they bring something new and challenge audiences at the same time they amaze.

2. Costume Design doesn't mean you have to go for period pieces. "The Bling Ring", "American Hustle", "Blue Jasmine" or "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" feature amazing contemporany (and futuristic) costume design work. Don't you remember Effie in that butterflies dress? Don't you remember Emma Watson & friends and their stolen "brand new" clothes?

3. Do you really think Emma Thompson ("Saving Mr. Banks") and Sandra Bullock ("Gravity") are that Oscar nod worthy in a year like this? You have Adèle Exarchopoulos and Brie Larson as excellent alternatives, don't you think?

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEd

@Ed

No!

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrick

@Ed again

You tricked with your double question sentence... No! and Yes!

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrick

For those in the acting branch please consider three of the best female performances of the year: Paulina García, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. In the supporting category, Léa and Sally need all your support.

For those in the technical fields, I suggest Spring Breakers and La grande bellezza.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

LANA DEL REY. Yes, I'm a huge fan, but for me Young & Beautiful is the best movie song of the year. Everything about it captures what The Great Gatsby is all about and it deserves to be nominated.

I really have been having this feeling that Julia Roberts or someone in supporting actress will miss out in favor of either Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, Sarah Paulson, maybe even Jennifer Garner??? I haven't heard of Jennifer as deserving, but she should've been nominated for Juno so I can't help but want make-up for that, lol. But in all seriousness, I would love Sally, Octavia, or Sarah to be nominated. Probably mostly Sarah Paulson.

Dear Academy, PLEASE be more inspired in Best Actress. That's the one category that has already put me to sleep this season bc it's already on autopilot! The person I'd most like to see miss out and has the most chance to is probably Meryl.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

OH YES, forgot my suggestion for Best Actress ... Julia Louis-Dreyfus! PLZ.

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Regarding what happened last year with Director and what constantly happens in Screenplay meaning we get one or two cool choices among the 'obvious' picks...

I wish every group inside the Academy had the creativity/spontaneity to do that!

I know last year a lot of people got upset with the Bigelow snub (myself included) but come on a Director category without the frontrunner and with 2 awesome picks like Zeitlin and Haneke (plus: totally deserving, too, which is a bonus) lead to a good surprise in Oscar night.

Imagine if the acting branch did it... We could have Adele, Delpy, Paulina or Brie in Best Actress, Isaac and Phoenix in Actor, Léa, Melonie or Kaitlin in Sup Actress and Franco or Gylenhaal or Keith for Sup Actor...

December 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Really surprised "The Past" hasn't gotten more momentum. Are the performances eligible this year?

December 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoel V

Please AMPAS
Brie Larson will get nominated for Short Term 12 I hope james Franco gets a best supporting actor nod for "springbreakers" as well as Harrison Ford for "42" please!!!!! Nominate Keith Stanfield for either best supporting actor or best original song

December 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdavid

Joel V -- yes. The Past was released so it's eligible in all categories

December 28, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I would ask voters to always vote for what they think is the best, whether or not it won precursors, whether or not they think it's likely to get a nomination... Vote for the best and let the nominations fall where they may.

December 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Dear Academy Members,

So you just watched Scorsese's heavily-buzzed Wolf of Wall Street. That blonde chick, Margo Robbie - she's quite something, isn't she? What's that you say? You're thinking of putting her down for Best Supporting Actress? Well, before you do, do yourself a favor and watch Scarlett Johansson in Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Don Jon. The film may not be the film that Wolf is (for better or worse), but Johansson shines brighter her than just about anyone onscreen this year.

Thank you for your consideration.

December 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

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