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How Impactful Is The Preferential Ballot At The Oscars When It Comes Down To It?

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  • Joe Burns
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    I personally have always been critical of the idea that the preferential ballot really is such a game changer at the Oscars and to be honest I stand by that take. My take on why:

    2009: The Hurt Locker would have won BP with a winner take all ballot- Hollywood loved the film and Kathyrn Bigelow’s historic director win rode it to a Best Picture Oscar. Avatar was doomed to lose due to the Sci Fi bias and Inglorious Bastards wasn’t going to be picked nor were they going to go with Precious or Up In The Air.

    2010: The King’s Speech was simply too good of an Oscar bait film to lose and it was also the feel good pic- The Social Network was filled with unlikeable characters from top to bottom and had no love from the Academy just respect.

    2011: The Artist was the Slumdog Millionaire of that year in some ways and was another feel good film that Oscar voters fell in love with. The competition was also extremely weak with almost no clear alternative that comes to my mind(The Descendants maybe? Despite my feelings at the time I doubt Hugo would have been able to win)

    2012: Argo would definitely have won with the old system given the whole Ben Afleck thing and Lincoln not having enough love behind it. Silver Linings maybe could have pulled an upset though? I don’t think Life Of Pi’s wins mean that it was the runner up as it’s tech wins were merit based and Lee won largely due to Brokeback’s loss. But Argo was another traditional win in the way that Hollywood got to pat itself on the back for portraying themselves as heroes.

    2013: Twelve Years A Slave was the most respected out of the nominees and like The Hurt Locker 4 years earlier had the advantage of its main competition being a Sci Fi film which was going to get a clear consolation prize in the Best Director category.

    2014: Lack of passion for Boyhood and the fact that it was such a huge early frontrunner sunk it’s Oscar chances while love for Alejandro and Birdman’s story swung it for them.

    2015: Here is the first time where I am somewhat hesitant since I’m not sure Spotlight could have won in a winner take all system: Yeah it was the frontrunner for most of the season but it really felt like it wasn’t that beloved that year but on second thought it obviously was but it was so under the radar. It was certainly was the safest choice and was another politically motivated win. I think they felt that Alejandro had gotten his due last year and with him winning again for Directing in addition to Leo hogging all the buzz for the film may have tipped them to vote for Spotlight which was a really well made film with a highly admired cast. The Big Short winning PGA and losing is still odd to me though.

    2016: Moonlight would have defeated La La Land and the political environment at the time as well as La La Land’s backlash convince me of it.

    2017: Hmmm this one is trickier but I think The Shape Of Water would still have prevailed. We’ve seen them go for films off of the strength of their directors before(The Departed) and Del Toro is certainly beloved. It also helps that The Shape Of Water was such a charming and sentimental film in addition to it being such an odd one as well.

    2018: Yes for reasons that are becoming obvious right now- Roma had too many detractors and turned off too many people with it’s campaign, Black Panther had the sci fi bias, Bohemian Rhapsody was never going to win(it’s win in the tech categories didn’t mean that they liked it enough for it to win BP), The Favorite turned out not to be the Academy’s cup of tea for the most part, Black Klansman had no buzz and was honored in the Screenplay category, and A Star Is Born was dead in the water. Green Book was the same old feel good film that they like to honor and like Spotlight had a lot of under the radar passion behind it which must have been fueled even further by all the controversy.

    What do you guys think?

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    Eddy Q
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    I agree.

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    JGibson
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    The Revenant and La La Land would have won for sure.

    And considering how it overperformed last night, I’m inclined to believe Bohemian Rhapsody could take. But probably Roma would win anyway

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    jez89
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    The preferential ballot has had far too much impact and needs to go – it rewards safe consensus choices for the most part. Spotlight is the best example. I predicted Green Book to win and seeing some of the secret Oscar ballots confirmed that view – so many had Roma or another film as number one, but Green Book continually featured in the number two and three slots. I honestly don’t think it would have won under the old system, but not sure what would have. Moonlight was another one that wouldn’t have won under the old system.

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    Joe Burns
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    How did Bohemian Rhapsody over perform? It was a lock for sound mixing and Lead Actor and was one of the frontrunners for Film Editing and was a strong contender for Sound Editing. Just because it ended up with the most Oscars last night doesn’t mean it stood a chance of winning. The Academy may not listen to every backlash but the uproar that would have occurred if a Bryan Singer film won?

    Moonlight was the little film that could that year and the politics that were going on at the time? I’m still shocked everyone thinks La La Land would have won so easily with a winner take all system. And although I was skeptical at first I think Spotlight could have prevailed since The Revenant was being directed by a filmmaker who had just been honored big the year before and maybe the story just wasn’t compelling enough for Oscar voters? It was definitely no Titanic or The Sound Of Music who were able to win without writing nods.

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    Joe Burns
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    The preferential ballot has had far too much impact and needs to go – it rewards safe consensus choices for the most part. Spotlight is the best example. I predicted Green Book to win and seeing some of the secret Oscar ballots confirmed that view – so many had Roma or another film as number one, but Green Book continually featured in the number two and three slots. I honestly don’t think it would have won under the old system, but not sure what would have. Moonlight was another one that wouldn’t have won under the old system.

    But why? How would the old system benefit Roma or La La Land to override the reasons why they lost? I just feel like everyone overthinks the preferential ballot each year and thinks it’s going to change everything. Yeah voters do vote with it in mind but that still indicates that there is one film that the Academy is most passionate about. It makes no sense that in a winner take all system one film would have enough passion to win while in the PB system a film somehow doesn’t have enough passion behind it to have earned enough number one votes to win overall even if it does get helped by people’s number 2 and number 3 votes eventually becoming that film’s number one votes. I still think that passion/narrative/overall support beats the logic behind the preferential ballot system being a strong factor behind a film winning Best Picture.

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    JGibson
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    How did Bohemian Rhapsody over perform? It was a lock for sound mixing and Lead Actor and was one of the frontrunners for Film Editing and was a strong contender for Sound Editing. Just because it ended up with the most Oscars last night doesn’t mean it stood a chance of winning. The Academy may not listen to every backlash but the uproar that would have occurred if a Bryan Singer film won?

    Moonlight was the little film that could that year and the politics that were going on at the time? I’m still shocked everyone thinks La La Land would have won so easily with a winner take all system. And although I was skeptical at first I think Spotlight could have prevailed since The Revenant was being directed by a filmmaker who had just been honored big the year before and maybe the story just wasn’t compelling enough for Oscar voters? It was definitely no Titanic or The Sound Of Music who were able to win without writing nods.

    Its editing and sound editing wins showed its passion from some percentage of the voters, depending on the lack of love to other contenders it might have got it. Also bryan singer wasn’t nominated for best picture. But I find that unlikely as Roma had passion enough. if there was a ranking of the most #1 votes these 2 and green book would be top 3 but Green Book won because it was around the first 4 places through most ballots, but I highly doubt it had the most #1 votes.

    La La Land won against Moonlight in directing, score and cinematography which were both film’s biggest aspects. Its loss was because some percentage of the academy that might have put La La Land last place becuase thought it was overrated, but it wasn’t a majority in plurarity vote. In preferential vote it probably made it fall from #1 to #2. But that film was sure thing to win.

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    AviChristiaans
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    Why is this discussion even being addressed? Just because ROMA lost?

    Kris Tapley now wants to do away with the Preferential ballot. Because his favorite film lost the Oscar. Like when all Democrats wanted the electoral vote to go, because Hilary Clinton lost.

    That’s not how life works. There is nothing wrong with the Preferential ballot. It honors the most liked, the preferred choice. It has been for 8 years now.

    Let it go.

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    kellis
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    Why is this discussion even being addressed? Just because ROMA lost? Kris Tapley now wants to do away with the Preferential ballot. Because his favorite film lost the Oscar. Like when all Democrats wanted the electoral vote to go, because Hilary Clinton lost. That’s not how life works. There is nothing wrong with the Preferential ballot. It honors the most liked, the preferred choice. It has been for 8 years now. Let it go.

    Um, this was made because people wanted to discuss their own opinion on what could’ve been in the past few years or if anything would’ve been that much different since there might not have been an appropriate thread existing. If you actually read these posts, then you would know that and that the person who made this clearly thinks that it wouldn’t have changed much of anything, so not indicating that they think it needs to go. Man, you are probably one of the most negative Nancys on here.

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    AviChristiaans
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    Um, this was made because people wanted to discuss their own opinion on what could’ve been in the past few years or if anything would’ve been that much different since there might not have been an appropriate thread existing. If you actually read these posts, then you would know that and that the person who made this clearly thinks that it wouldn’t have changed much of anything, so not indicating that they think it needs to go. You are probably one of the most negative Nancys on here.

    What was negative about what I said? You don’t like it, that makes it negative?

    Read my post. If you don’t understand what I wrote, say so. I will explain it for you. I did not attack or call people names. Which is what you are doing. I asked a question, a relevant one.

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    kellis
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    What was negative about what I said? You don’t like it, that makes it negative? Read my post. If you don’t understand what I wrote, say so. I will explain it for you. I attack or call people names. Which you are doing. I asked a question, a relevant one.

    I clearly don’t need for you to explain it to me. Your question was answered with this title’s thread. The question in itself is negative and an attack towards this thread and the point of it. You clearly don’t like the fact that people think Roma or any of the other films were a possible alternative to Green Book. I may be very opinionated about who I like and who I think should/shouldn’t win, but I don’t treat myself as this holier than thou person and insult others’ predictions unlike you.

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    Joe Burns
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    I would prefer to see the winner take all system return but that clearly wasn’t the point of this thread as Kellis mentioned.

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    BenNunis
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    This is a terrible thread. Because your first post was so good, there is nothing much more to say.

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    Dao Truong Giang
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    The preferential ballot is impactful, especially in the era when there are >=8 nominees.
    Revenant and La La Land would definitely win under plurality vote (30% is probably enough to win), the fatigue makes lots of voters move those movies from #2 to below #5 so they eventually lost.
    This year is peculiar though, winner-take-all would mean, even a movie like Bohemian Rhapsody could win, because enough people love it and the race is very divided so you don’t need that many votes to be the most voted.
    So it all comes down to this: If you want a widely loved but also hated to win, get rid of the preferential ballot. If you don’t want a horrible wtf choice to win, keep it.
    Hope you understand it, I’m not confident in my English in academic context.

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    Joe Burns
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    This is a terrible thread. Because your first post was so good, there is nothing much more to say.

    Thanks lol- I really thought there would be more disagreement about this though but I guess I was wrong.

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