Archive for March 12th, 2023

I actually don’t like the Oscars and movie awards in general.  The idea of awards for art makes little sense to me, especially when that piece of art is made for mass consumption.  A piece of art exists on its own merit, and how it is consumed is the reward.  Then you have the question of how do you compare two very different things.  This year’s best picture Oscar nominees include the twelfth and third highest grossing movies of all time, one that has mainly been seen on home streaming, and a couple that haven’t been seen by that many people in total.  And, they span many genre.  It’s a little like if you were going to give an award for the best car of the year you have a shortlist including a championship winning race car, and the best new family car.  They both do what they do well but couldn’t do what the other does.  Taking it back to the best picture race, we have a voting system where the film that the majority thought was best will almost certainly not win.  It is decided by a system of preferential voting (or ranked voting, where the winner must achieve over 50% of the vote.  Each voter has a single transferable vote. They rank the films in order of preference, even though they probably haven’t seen half of them!  The votes are counted, with one vote awarded to each person’s number one choice.  If no film receives 50% of the vote (they probably won’t in the first few rounds) the film with the least number of votes is eliminated.  The votes are recounted.  If anyone ranked the eliminated film their number one, their number two choice gets the vote.  This is continued until one film breaks the 50% ceiling.  Eventually the film that people don’t mind or possibly quite liked (if they bothered to watch it) is awarded the best picture of the year.   Looking at it from this point of view I predicted wins for CODA, Nomadland, and Green Book.  I didn’t see the win for Parasite coming but was glad it did win!  This year’s film that fits the bill is The Fabelmans, which also has the added double bonus of being about filmmaking, and being made by Steven Spielberg who has a lot of love in the industry. 

This article was inspired by a tweet, that was unfortunately deleted before I thought to get a screenshot of it.  The general Idea of it was a reaction to Woman Talking getting a best picture nomination, the tweeter suggested that The Oscars where pointless if they were going to nominate films that no one had heard of or would go to see.  And this is the where I ramble to my point, Top Gun: Maverick, and Avatar: The Way of Water don’t need any more publicity, they have already taken all money in the world, Avatar has probably taken as much as all the other movies combined. But there are smaller movies like Women Talking and Triangle of Sadness who depend on awards buzz to get distribution deals, and get bums on seats. Going back to my point of how hard it is to vote/rank movies across multiple drama’s I thought I would give it a go.  Here goes my attempt to rank the best picture nominees as I would if I were voting for them. 

1.     All Quiet on the Western Front

2.     The Banshees of Inisherin

3.     Top Gun: Maverick

4.     Women Talking

5.     Tár

6.     The Fabelmans

7.     Elvis

8.     Everything Everywhere All at Once

9.     Avatar: The Way of Water

10.  Triangleof Sadness*

*Please note this isn’t my least favourite, sadly I am yet to see it.  If I were a voter I would still have to rank it.  How do voters decide on this?  Do they put the ones they haven’t seen at the bottom as I have done?   There are two issues with this.  It disadvantages the smaller less seen films, and if there are multiple films a voter hasn’t seen they one will still be ranked above the other!  Chances are they will slot them in the list based on if the they know/like/dislike the filmmaker, or based on past work, or word of mouth. 

And to finish who is going to win?  The Banshees of Inisherin was the favourite for a long time, but Everything Everywhere All at Once seem to have the momentum and is the favourite with bookmakers.  But there is far more to it than that.  As mentioned, the best picture is decided by a voting system that favours the middle of the road over the adventurous film.  I would like to see All Quiet on the Western Front or The Banshees of Inisherin win, but think it is actually between the favourite Everything Everywhere All at Once and The Fabelmans (fourth in the betting) with the Spielberg movie edging it. 


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