The Oscars, aka the Illuminati Winter Formal, is once again upon us this Sunday. By now, thousands of voters of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have pooled their expertise and reviewed the greatest cinematic achievements of 2019 -- and The Lion King. But for being the biggest award ceremony in the world (suck it, Nobel), who picks and winners and how is still very much shrouded in mystery, and the reason for that might be because these judges treat their sacred duty with as much integrity as the average reality show elimination round.
Being an Oscars voter has a lot of professional parameters (though having watched any of the nominated movies is somehow not on that list). But once you're in, you're in for life, meaning that out of the 6,000+ voting Academy members some are qualified experts in modern cinema, but most of them are just white old coots who only got in because they were drinking buddies with Francis Ford Coppola. Nowhere does this become more apparent than when reading The Hollywood Reporter's yearly "Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot" interviews, where the magazine talks to some voters in anonymity so they can proudly proclaim their prejudices.
For the 2019 Oscars, THR's nominees for best voter shitposting were an aging actor who votes like she's your racist grandma (Parasite doesn't deserve Best Picture because "I don't think foreign films should be nominated" and Tarantino should get Best Director because she wants "an American director to win") and a clammy producer with a degree from the Harvey Weinstein night school of gender studies who voted Margot Robbie for Best Supporting Actress because he "has a crush" on her.
Reading their thought process immediately takes any illusion of science out of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' process. Self-importance seems a much bigger factor in their judging capabilities. Actor Lady bitterly bumps Marriage Story for being "not truthful," an opinion that seems to stem from the fact that the New York theatre people protagonists can afford a house as nice as hers. Similarly, the Producer Bro refused to vote for any Marvel movies because he clearly missed the chance to work on them. Unsurprisingly, both also voted for Once Upon A Time ... in Hollywood for Best Picture and Best Costuming because, surprise, they were both in Hollywood in the sixties and boy was that a nice trip down memory lane.
But the real biases are revealed through the plain petty and irrelevant reasons for completely sidelining certain movies. Like Little Women, the only female-fronted feature, which didn't deserve a win in any of its six categories because a) none of the main cast were Americans were foreign and b) the two timelines were confusing. Also, The Lighthouse doesn't deserve Best Cinematography (a completely visual category) because the story was "too boring." And Ford vs. Ferrari gets completely discarded because Producer Bro, obviously a dude with a lot of vintage sports cars in his driveway, knows "you don't have someone putting on their goggles once they're already driving" which is the kind of nitpickiness you'd expect from a CinemaSins video and not from a member of an academic society.
Of course, these two dumbly opinionated blowhards shouldn't be mistaken for representing the entirety of Academy voters, (the Los Angeles Times has interviews with others who approach their duty with a lot less of a Reddit vibe), but it sure goes a long way to explaining why Oscar bait are always movies that are either industry propaganda like La La Land and The Artist or movies like Forrest Gump and Green Book, where the whitest awards ever pat themselves on the back for healing America. So if you want to sweep the Oscar office pool this weekend, just put yourself in the mind of a self-important Hollywood has-been who only likes movies that make their country, their industry, but most importantly, their town look good, and those 43 bucks are as good as yours.
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