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If There Was a Preferential Ballot in the 1900s

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  • Anonymous
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    Jan 1st, 1970
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    #218296

    What Best Picture winner from a hotly contested race do you think would be different if the preferential ballot was used in the 1900s?

    Suggestions include:

    In 1951, the race was hotly contested between A Place in the Sun (which won six of its nine nominations) and A Streetcar Named Desire (which won four of its 12 nominations). Even MGM took out an ad in the trade papers the day after the Oscar ceremony with Leo the Lion looking embarrassedly at an Oscar with the tag line, “Honestly, I was just standing In the Sun waiting for A Streetcar” when An American in Paris won six of eight Oscars, including Best Picture.

    In 1966, A Man for All Seasons won six of eight Oscars including Best Picture. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? won five of 13 nominations.

    In 1972, Cabaret famously won eight of its ten nominations but lost Best Picture to The Godfather which won three of ten nominations.

    In 1981, Chariots of Fire with four wins of eight nominations won Best Picture over Reds which had three wins of 12 nominations.

    In 1998, Saving Private Ryan with five wins and 11 nominations lost Best Picture to Shakespeare in Love with seven wins from 13 nominations.

    Of course, please feel free to post your choice if mine is lacking.

     

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    J-No
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    #218298

    I understand the preferential ballot completely, but I don’t see the apparent disputes in the winners and losers in your examples. I mean, why these films and these years? Are you really just asking to name pre-preferential ballot years where a lesser film won? Can you clarify what you’re asking?

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    Anonymous
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    #218299

    I understand the preferential ballot completely, but I don’t see the apparent disputes in the winners and losers in your examples. I mean, why these films and these years? Are you really just asking to name pre-preferential ballot years where a lesser film won? Can you clarify what you’re asking?

    These were hotly contested years. The examples given are films that receievd a significant number of technical nominations and often won Director as well. From the discussion on GD, it seems to me that people are seeing the preferential ballot with the power of the number 2 vote as a shift in the process that allows a more widely admired film to win over a particular movie with a hard core support group.

    If that assessment is accurate, then years from the 1900s with tightly competitive races may well have seen a different winner with the preferential ballot. I am simply looking for dialogue that would provide a different discussion.

    For instance, Reds lost to Chariots of Fire. Reds had far more nominations (12) than the Best Picture (8). Best Director Warren Beatty publicly stated that the entire race would be decided when the award for Best Costumes was given. If the early century running shorts bested his period drama set in the US and Russia, then Reds lost Best Picture. I believe he was talking about voting blocks. Reds had a broader support across the Academy membership but the subject matter kept some from making Reds number one on the ballot while Chariots of Fire had a smaller but more intense support group.

    A preferential ballot, in my opinion, would have dramatically changed the outcome of the Best Picture race that year.

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    babypook
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    #218300

    ’66 was an interesting year. Both AMfAS and WAoVW have wide support.

    We see the great Haskell Wexler and Ted Moore both winning for Cinematography, where they split colour/black and white. Ditto for Costume Design.

    They give Taylor and Dennis Oscars, and they give Paul Scofield Lead Actor and besting Richard Burton.

    Interesting that there was no Editing nomination for The Man For All Seasons, but give one to Woolf which ultimately loses to Grand Prix.

    Zinneman and Nichols both receive Director nods, with the win for Zinneman.

    Both films receive Writing nods, with the win going to Robert Bolt over Ernest Lehman, with a marginal pattern starting to emerge,

    The BP lineup is also terrific.

    There’s the star-making turn by Michael Caine in Alfie; a left and tensely paranoid film in Sand Pebbles; another in the same vein only, a comedy by a Canadian Director in The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming!, and again, very left.

    Which leaves the two front-runners.

    Woolf features terrific perfs from the Ensemble, but it is rather dour, gloomy, and pessimistic, and divisive. Some passionate support yes, but how many second place votes?

    Seasons, seems like a safer bet. The transcripts from Moore’s trial are entirely intact, it happened a long long time ago, and nobody gets trampled but the protagonist. What he stood for was admirable.

    So my guess is, that even with the system as it is now, A Man For All Seasons would still likely win.

     

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    Anonymous
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    #218301

    ’66 was an interesting year. Both AMfAS and WAoVW have wide support.

    We see the great Haskell Wexler and Ted Moore both winning for Cinematography, where they split colour/black and white. Ditto for Costume Design.

    They give Taylor and Dennis Oscars, and they give Paul Scofield Lead Actor and besting Richard Burton.

    Interesting that there was no Editing nomination for The Man For All Seasons, but give one to Woolf which ultimately loses to Grand Prix.

    Zinneman and Nichols both receive Director nods, with the win for Zinneman.

    Both films receive Writing nods, with the win going to Robert Bolt over Ernest Lehman, with a marginal pattern starting to emerge,

    The BP lineup is also terrific.

    There’s the star-making turn by Michael Caine in Alfie; a left and tensely paranoid film in Sand Pebbles; another in the same vein only, a comedy by a Canadian Director in The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming!, and again, very left.

    Which leaves the two front-runners.

    Woolf features terrific perfs from the Ensemble, but it is rather dour, gloomy, and pessimistic, and divisive. Some passionate support yes, but how many second place votes?

    Seasons, seems like a safer bet. The transcripts from Moore’s trial are entirely intact, it happened a long long time ago, and nobody gets trampled but the protagonist. What he stood for was admirable.

    So my guess is, that even with the system as it is now, A Man For All Seasons would still likely win.

    I think your point that the division of nominations between color and B&W plays a role in determining levels of support is quite interesting. I expect that the battle with television during that time period led the Academy to annoint color movies as Best Picture. There is quite a gap in B&W films winning the top prize from The Apartment in 1960 to The Artist in 2012.

    I also felt your point about the “admirable” qualities of Thomas Moore is significant in the vote as well. Oscar voters do seem to prefer Best Pictures that feature heroics. A well played drama about drunken revelations in faculty housing in the middle of the night doesn’t seem to inspire enthusiasm.

    Hmmmm. Perhaps the preferential ballot may not be the game changer as touted. Jury is still out.

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    Eddy Q
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    #218302

    Preferential voting might have pushed Saving Private Ryan over Shakespeare in Love, but it’s hard to say. Each happened to have a weaker (in Oscar terms) competitor with abudant similarities – Elizabeth to Shakespeare, The Thin Red Line to SPR. It’s interesting to consider how this would have affected a preferential vote, though my hunch is that this was a more important factor in the popular vote that actually took place. Elizabeth lacked a directing nomination and the PGA nod which went to The Truman Show. The Thin Red Line had both of those so it might have taken slightly more votes away from Saving Private Ryan than Elizabeth did from Shakespeare, plus there was another more palatable WWII drama Life Is Beautiful to district people. With the preferential system all that would matter is which of the two frontrunners was ranked higher on more ballots.

    I’m pretty certain Brokeback Mountain would have beaten Crash with the current system, even with the Hollywood homophobia. 

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