Thursday, January 22, 2015

Oscar voter dishes on the nominations

The Daily Beast has a fascinating interview with an anonymous voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences about her thoughts on this year's Oscar nominations. This member, a woman who appears (to me) to be a member of the Acting division, had some strong opinions. It's a fascinating read. Among her thoughts:

  • She's baffled by Selma's snubs in most categories, particular for Ava DuVernay's lack of a Best Director nomination. Since this voter, at least, received her screener copy with plenty of time to watch it, she downplays (but doesn't entirely discount) the studio's limited campaigning as a factor. The controversy over the portrayal of LBJ may have been a bigger factor.
If you took away the controversy, you’d be in a different position, but it was too late to recover from that. As for the timing, I got my screener with plenty of time. And it isn’t like there aren’t precedents for holiday releases. You’ve got a black woman and a black film and you’re pitching it to a liberal organization -- if anyone should be open to it, it’s that body. 12 Years a Slave was an extraordinary accomplishment and a shot out of the dark. If you were going to split hairs, that is a better movie, but the last thing I want to come off as is, “We’ve got two black movies, so let’s marginalize them and accommodate one.” Selma is really a strong film, especially in a weak year.
  • She doesn't get Boyhood as a movie and thinks Birdman will hold up and stand the test of time. As much as she thinks Birdman director Alejandro Gonz├ílez Inarritu is very unlikable, which could be a factor in a tight vote, she's still leaning towards voting for him for Best Director.
  • She hasn't seen Still Alice yet, but thinks Julianne Moore is utterly charming at the Academy lunches and is so likely win the Best Actress Oscar that she thinks that's when everyone will plan to go to the bathroom.
  • She thinks Kiera Knightley's Supporting Actress nomination for The Imitation Game was wasted, and Meryl Streep was great in Into the Woods but it was more of a stunt performance. She's leaning towards voting for Emma Stone for Best Supporting Actress for Birdman but thinks Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) has it sewn up.
  • She's seen enough one-note drill sargent performances, and so although J.K. Simmons is winning all of the Suppporting Actor awards for Whiplash, she's going to vote for Edward Norton's more nuanced performance in Birdman.

Read the full interview for more of this Academy voter's thoughts and insights.

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