Preferential Voting: Does It Really Make a Difference?

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  • Jason Travis
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    #90862

    I am curious to what people think with the new way voters choose to vote for Best Picture. Does preferential voting really make much more of  a difference then just checking off  your favorite? I find it hard to tell a difference. The Hurt Locker, The King’s Speech, The Artist and now Argo all did well in sweeping the guilds and becoming the favorites to win and regardless of the preferential ballot, won Best Picture. I have a feeling they would have triumphed if it was just circling your favorite. How does this new method help underdogs like Lincon? I just don’t think it’s going to matter. Argo is the clear favorite, regardless of the way members vote.

    I just would like a deeper analysis on this whole process. Frankly I think the academy should go back to the oldschool way of voting- check off who you want to win, and have Best Picture be only 5 nominees again- the 9-10 candidates is useless and takes away the credibility of the award.

    The way it looks now a days, the Guilds have a huge influence on how Oscar voters pick (and Sasha wrote a great piece about this on AwardsDaily.com). Those seem to be the way everyone goes- just jump on the bandwagon like everybody else and not think for yourself. Ditto for moving the awards season up, and announcing the nominees earlier. It’s not really making any difference in terms of the outcomes. The favorites are still winning. The only time the guilds didn’t agree recently was when Crash won over Brokeback Mountain and even then it won the SAG ensemble.

    I understand that the academy did it right by thinking for themselves in terms of the best director race this year, but even now it seems the tides are turning and they’re all going to jump on the Ben Affleck pity wagon. It’s one thing for Argo to win Producers and Directors- it’s another thing for Argo to win the Scripter’s award (Kushner was robbed) and SAG ensemble. It shows that people just are becoming sheep. I do talk about in my prediction video that the “passion is there” for Argo, and before the Oscar nods it was a frontrunner- but does anyone think it’s getting a little out of hand?

    Anyways just wanted to hear everyone else’s idea about the guilds and preferential voting- I would love to see the Oscars totally pull a fast one on everyone and not award Argo the big one just to show they can think out the box.

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    Jason Travis
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    #90864

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    #90865

    An Open Letter to Oscar Voters on Best Picture Race

    Published: February 14, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

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    By Steve Pond

    A while back — when the choices in Oscar’s Best Director category seemingly narrowed the field and the guild awards began to single out a favorite — one professional Oscar-watcher bemoaned the fallout from the endless handicapping and pontificating.

    Voters, he warned, would feel that they’d be wasting their Best Picture ballot unless they voted for “Argo” or “Lincoln” or “Silver Linings Playbook,” or one of the small number of movies that was deemed to have a real shot at winning.

    A couple of weeks later, after Ben Affleck’s movie had continued winning everything in sight (PGA, DGA, SAG, BAFTA … ), another pundit suggested that the only way for anti-“Argo” voters to stop that film from being named Best Picture was to put “Silver Linings Playbook” at the top of their ballots.

     

    (last year’s ballot)

    To which I say: Hogwash, on both counts.

     

    I’ve often written about the intricacies of the Academy’s voting process and how the preferential ballot works. But I’m still convinced that most voters don’t understand it. And I’m not alone: AMPAS officials have told me in the past that they also suspect the system eludes most Academy members.

    So I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The Best Picture ballot allows members to vote without reservation for the movies they think are best, without concern for whether those films have a real chance to win. Please, voters, rank the nominees 1-through-9 in the order you think they deserve; don’t play games, and don’t try to second-guess the process.

    (And by the way, remember that the ballot deadline is next Tuesday at 5 p.m. — and that if you’re voting by paper ballot, Monday is President’s Day, a holiday with no mail delivery.)

    To explain why you shouldn’t worry about playing games or wasting your vote, I’ll tell you how I’d fill out the top of my ballot if I had a vote … which, of course, I don’t. I’d rank “Zero Dark Thirty” first, because I think it’s far and away the toughest, strongest, most uncompromising film on the ballot.

    My second-favorite film of the year, “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” would be No. 2, followed by “Silver Linings Playbook” and then “Amour.”

    Also read: Steve Pond: ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ and ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ Top My Imaginary Oscar Ballot

    Do I expect any of those choices to win? Sadly, no. But what if “ZDT” or “Beasts” really does have a chance, and I’d foolishly downgraded it because I’d been listening to pundits who convinced me that it was out of the running?

    The fact is, by placing “ZDT” at No. 1, where I think it belongs, I’m boosting its chances in the only way I can. And if it does fall out of the running, I’m NOT wasting my vote, which will shift down the ballot until it finds the next film that could use my support.

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