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5% Solution: Why the Oscars’ New First-Preference Rule is a Step in the Wrong Direction…

We’re officially out of the summer blockbuster season, which might lead you to believe that it was time for us film folk to have a bit of a rest. After all, we’ve been yammering on about “box office this” and “3D that” for quite some time now, and it makes sense we’d use the lull to compose ourselves. Of course, we can’t – it’s time to start Oscar-speculating. Because I’m situated in Ireland, there’s no point in me putting together a list of potential nominees, as it would just involve plagiarising countless individuals far more informed than myself. However, I have been thinking quite a bit about the latest amendment to the Academy’s infamous “ten nominees” amendment to their Best Picture nomination process: whereby every nominee will now be required to have at least 5% of the first preference votes. The more I think about it, the more I don’t like it.

Not quite the gold standard anymore?

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Top of the Pops: The IMDb Top 250 Movies All Time and Movie Lists in General…

Sometimes talking about talking about movies can be as fascinating as actually discussing movies. That’s why I’ve followed with interest the crisis of identity that has gripped film criticism of late. What’s interesting, however is to hear Donald Clarke of The Irish Times complaining about the Internet Movie Database Top 250 Films of All Time:

The performance of Inception highlights the most serious problem with this list. Like most such sites, IMDb receives contributions from a disproportionately high number of teenage boys. If you doubt this, look at the ratings for the Twilight films. I know that most critics are less keen on the teen vampire pictures than I am, but the appalling ratings  for the pictures on IMDb speak of a spotty allergy to “gurl’s fillums”. Such boys idolise Nolan and — crucially — know how to put together internet campaigns.

I’m kinda wondering though, what exactly is Mister Clarke arguing against? When did any film ranking become an objective exercise that needs to be treated like “serious business”?

Looks like Inception made quite the splash... (Inception, #3)

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Reaction to the Best Picture Oscar Nominations…

Well, it’s been a week since the nominations were announced. I think I’m as adjusted as I’ll ever be to this year’s crop of Oscar contenders. Am I happy? Relatively. Am I delighted? No. Am I as filled with disappointment and rage as I was last year? Not nearly. Does this mean we can judge the ten horse race a success? I’m not so sure. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the worse of this year’s nominations, snubs and just inexplicable nods. I’ll be taking a look at the acting nominations later in the week, because this post just ballooned. Rather fitting given the expansion of the category, no?

Let the speculating and analysis and moaning begin...

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More Thoughts on the Best Picture/Best Director Voting Divergence

I read an interesting article over at The LA Times which suggested that we may be able to spot how radically the new voting rules have changed the way that the Academy awards people and films.

Going for gold...

Going for gold...

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Pleasing All of the People Some of the Time – Oscar Voting for Dummies…

You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

John Lydgate

The above quote is frequently attributed to Abraham Lincoln (though Lincoln actually substituted ‘fool’ for ‘please’, in a bit of West Wing-style trivia for you, say what you will of “Honest Abe”), and applies to many things in life. Since this is a movie blog, and the Oscars changed the practice of counting votes for the Best Picture, today it applies to the practice of counting votes for the Best Picture. The Academy used to adopt both approaches – favouring all in the selection of nominees, but only some (as little as 18%) in its selection of winners – but now it looks like the academy is shifting towards adjusting the selection of winners to allow all (well, a lot more than before) members some say in the matter.

Anyway, we’ve put together a little maths guide to how the new system will work in practice.

If I have three Oscar statuettes, and Meryll Streep moves in with her thirteen Oscar statuettes, how inferior am I going to feel?

If I have one Oscar statuettes, and Jack Nicholson stands next to mewith his three Oscar statuettes, how inferior am I going to feel?

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