You'll notice that Birdman, the winner that year, is also the movie that the fewest voters failed to watch. Meanwhile, Selma, a movie about Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement, had by far the highest rate of "didn't see it" of all choices. There's a reason for this, and it's not necessarily blatant racism. Or at least, not the kind of racism you might expect, as Jane observes:
"Several other members I know went through similar things as Michael Keaton's character. A white man down on his luck in films and trying to get back and prove he can do better? That covers many members. Then there's Selma. It's a good movie too, but some may not have voted for it because they couldn't relate with some of it."
Academy members, like everyone else, prefer to watch the movies that seem to "speak" to them. In 2012, the Academy was 94 percent white, 2 percent black, 77 percent male and had an average age of 63. Today, thanks to lots of very vocal complaints, people of color are now around 10 percent of the Academy voters, and 25 percent are female. But that still makes white dudes by far the majority of the Academy. And that's why movies about the struggles of white dudes in the entertainment industry will continue doing better in the Oscars than, say, movies about the Civil Rights movement or movies about Charlize Theron stub-punching Tom Hardy.
This brings us to another point ...
The Academy Awards Don't Mean The Same Thing To Every Voter
Hey, quick question: What are the criteria for determining which animated film of the year was "best"? Should you vote on the overall quality of the film? Or just the quality of the animation? Or how ambitious and difficult the animation was to pull off? Nobody knows! Animation is one of the award categories voters consistently have no fucking idea how to handle. Here's Jane's tactic:
"For best animated film, I'm going to pick the movie I enjoyed with my grandchildren the most. A few years ago, there was a good Japanese movie that took place around WWII that I was going to vote for (this movie), but my grandkids loved Frozen so much that I voted for that instead."
How do you say "Let it go" in Japanese?