Thursday, March 06, 2014

Oscar Voters Didn't Watch 12 Years A Slave But Still Voted For It

Not too long ago I wrote a little piece about songs for Academy Awards nominations. There were thousands of songs that had to be culled down to 100 or something like that which would then be culled to give you the songs you see nominated on Oscar night. Do you really think that voters are going to listen to a thousand songs to determine which is best? No. They look at the biggest names or biggest movies and go from that. Let me know when some great song from an indie film no one watched wins an Oscar. It isn't going to happen. Do you think voters watch all the films that are made each year to come up with the nominated ones? Nope. They watch the same number of movies you or I watch. Maybe a few more or a few less to even it all out. Why do you think there are so many ad dollars spent on trying to buy votes? Because the studios know that no one is watching the movies. How many people vote for a politician based on their record or their ads? Really? So you paid attention to that hotly contested school board race of sanitation district run-off or you saw an ad or heard a name. It is the same thing for Oscar voting. It shouldn't come as a surprise that voters didn't watch 12 Years A Slave even though they voted it for Best Picture. I think what is surprising is they are admitting it. They are using the excuse that the subject was too much for them to handle or too violent and they knew it was the kind of film that should win. How many people do you think watched Dallas Buyers Club? How many do you think knew that Matthew M got scary skinny for the role so he must have been good and voted based on that.

47 comments:

TalksTooMuch said...

Huh. Who is saying they didn't watch it? And excuse me, the Texas TRex totally deserved that Oscar, it wasn't just the physical transformation. I'm guessing Enty didn't actually watch either

CocoaBeachBunny said...

This Enty sounds a little aggressive.

Honey Badger said...

Falling Slowly from the indie Once, 2007.

Sugar said...

MM was exceptional in Dallas Buyer's Club. He definitely deserved that Oscar. I didn't see 12 Years A Slave for the same reasons the Academy Members didn't. Too much for my delicate constitution.

Seven of Eleven said...

What is a "hotly contested school board of sanitation race"? Is that like for a janitorial position at a school?

The Knockout Drop said...

The Academy (and the film industry in general)is full of limousine liberal white guilt types who wanted to reward a film that dealt realistically with slavery.

That said, their guilty conscience is best salved by movies about long-ago injustices instead of current ones. Not much traction for the Palestinian film, I noticed.

Ray Nicolet said...

YUP!

Robotica said...

I know I'm going through a tough time right now and there's only so much suffering I can take. That's the same reason I didn't see DBC.

hollywood dime said...

omgshuddup. stick to jacking days old gossip from the daily mail. blogging about movie politics is not your forte.

ethorne said...

The hell did I just read?

Anna Belle said...

Make a serious movie about ugly subjects: slavery, AIDS, prostitution, child abuse...make beautiful people get ugly & you will win...everyone has known that for years...

Eros said...

I still don't buy that story about MM getting deathly thin for that movie. It may be true. I just think its a cover story for some sickness. He still doesn't look completely heathy/fine to me.

So far as the movies not being watched. I can believe it enty. I haven't watched one of the movies that were nominated. Got better things to do, Ents! ;)

Topper Madison said...

NEWSFLASH: An obscure song from a indie film won in 2007: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Once_%28film%29

What the hell is the rest of this jabber about? I know several members of the Academy, and they DO watch all the movies before they vote.

The campaigning comes in when they try to hedge their bets on who will be giving them their next role. THAT is the politics at play--not disinterest in the films themselves.

I hate this naive Enty.

auntliddy said...

I couldnt bring myself to see the slave movie either. I know how awful it was. Im older and Ive seen and read many many documentaries dealing with slavery. Its probably good for people who are unaware of what happened. And you're right; I would see see Dallas Buyers club and I have no explanation for why. Interesting.

ItsCourtneyD said...

I won't lie. I never saw 12 years a slave. Not because I thought it would be bad, cause I'm sure it probably isn't. I just don't remember it really being advertised or promoted. When those actors for the movie were nominated and some won, I had no clue who they were. I knew Dallas buyers club had MM and Leto in it. Didn't see it either though.

Murphy said...

All I could think of when Matthew won that award was--thank god because you know that was his motivation every day when he was starving.

Frosty said...

MM and JL were both great in Dallas Buyers Club -- but I felt the movie itself was superficial and actually a bit of mess. Just my opinion.

Oopsy_Daisy said...

I watched all of the nominees and agreed with almost all of the winners (frankly, I thought Fassbender deserved S.A. way more than doll-eyes). You have 6k members voting for Best Picture. Just like any other faction of society, there are going to be those that don't bother and just go with what others are saying.

And honestly, as entertaining as Wolf of Wall Street was I was shocked that it was a contender for Best Picture. Just like in politics, they need to put a cap on advertising budgets so people aren't just picking what's popular, but the ones with actual substance.

Angela said...

The most interesting part about 12 Years A Slave is about the mentality of the slave owners, how they come to consider the system as a given and abuse religion to justify its foundation, corrupting their own spirit in the process.

It wouldn't be a great film if its point was to show that slaves had to endure horrible things and that slave owners were bad people. It shows how they have turned into bad people and why these people and their descendants have such a hard time accepting another point of view. The real tragic figure in the movie is Bass, the master played by Fassbender. He's a bigot trapped in a loveless marriage, who's attracted to the slave played by Lupita Nyong'o, but he can only express his feelings through cruelty and violence, because he knows no other way. Solomon Northup may end up being a slave for 12 years, but Bass is crippled for life, as he can't understand any other sort of relationship that doesn't rely on domination.

Anyway, the topics of the film are actually quite contemporary. Just watch it after reading the Duck Dynasty guy interview and you'll realize how much his beliefs are based on this pre-Civil War mentality.

Seven of Eleven said...

@Angela, very well said!

Sherry said...

@The Knockout Drop: Don't forget Fruitvale Station either. Current issue and wonderful movie but not nominated.

I think there is a bigger uproar over there being so few pictures being chosen for Best Picture. They can have more than 5 and certainly have in the past. This year there were more really good movies and they just got passed over. Shame.

Paint Chips said...

I think Matthew is at the age where if you loose fat out of your face, there's no way to get it back.

Hopefully he won't resort to those god awful cheek implants to counteract it.

I loved Dallas Buyers club, but I can't watch movies like 12 years a slave. Too sad for me.

Sunshine said...

MM shoulda got the Oscar for Killer Joe. Now that was a good movie.

newser said...

I doubt this is true, mainly because the bulk of academy voters are too egotistical to admit to being shallow or phoney. A few may have, which then got exaggerated to create this false, shock value news story.

Kara said...

I just want to throw this out there - didn't win an Oscar, but Miss Misery was an AWESOME Oscar nod on a semi-indie film for a definitely indie musician.

Nothing but love for the late great Mr. Smith! :)

Oopsy_Daisy said...

There is a scene in 12 YAS that Ejiofor completely owns. Going from a man who knows he is a free man just going through the motions until they figure our that he isn't a slave to the reality that this is it for him... He doesn't speak a line; it's all in his face and mannerisms and it is seriously one of the most poignant scenes filmed. His life as he knew it in upstate New York may as well have been a dream because picking cotton and being beaten and strung up is all that there is now. He is absolutely amazing in the film. Yes, it is rough to watch, but it is a serious part of US history.

Slavery did not end here with the Emancipation Proclamation, only legalized slavery. What's worse is it still goes on today.

Angela said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angela said...

@ Oopsy_Daisy

Very true. I was actually much impressed with the editing. The film starts with flash forwards about Solomon being a slave, while he's still in New York and the North, then when he's deported on the boat, it's 50/50 free life vs present, and ultimately it's his life as a state with a few distant memories. It mirrors his loss of identity and his growing resignation, more than a strictly chronological structure could have achieved.

Putting the blackberries as ink scene at the very beginning of the film also shows how much he invests into his plan, how it required weeks or months of planning just to get the paper sheet and search for some usable ink. Had this scene be shown in sequence, it would not have the same impact on the audience.

SPOILER ALERT
So, when the plan fails, you really get this crushing feeling of defeat and desperation, not just another temporary bump before the resolution of the story.

Eros said...

@ Angelar Your critique of the movie makes me want to watch it more now.

amanda_jf said...

Just don't go full retard.

Jason Blue Eyes said...

@Sunshine - Killer Joe was great, as was MM and Gina Gershon in that movie.

"Who wants some KC-Fry?"

Mindy Lopkin said...

I found it very interesting that the 'brutally honest Oscar voters" at the hollywood reporter mostly said they voted for Mcconaughey ... But not becuase of Dallas Buyers Club. Most of them said they're adoring his turn on HBO's True Detective and just want it to be 'his year'

Mango said...

A friend of mine who works in the industry told me that many directors, producers, actors, etc., give the ballots to their assistants and spouses to fill out because they are just too busy to do it. Sorta like Christmas treeing a high school multiple choice test (but for grossly overpaid grown ups).

Jason Blue Eyes said...

I've been hearing of this type of thing for years. People have said that Crash won in 2006 because it was a movie that dealt with race relations. Also being set within the L.A. entertainment industry didn't hurt either, but I've yet to meet a person who actually liked that movie.

To be fair to the voting members regarding 12 Years, that movie started generating best picture buzz way back in September when it premiered in Toronto.

nurysp said...

I saw them all
12 years was just beautiful from beginining to end (obviously not the subject but the way its shot, editing, acting)
yes its sad
its real
that really happened its okay to deal with that part of history for 2 hours
theres a holocaust every year, we dont say we wont watch it cause its sad
theres a scene with victims walking to a furnace EVERY MOVIE
man up!

and i did like fassy better than jared

Seven of Eleven said...

@nurysp, not to nitpick, but I fail to see how the fact that slavery and the Holocaust occurred translates into we have to "man up" and watch movies about them. I'm a reader and occasional movie watcher. I watched Saving Private Ryan for 10 minutes, then left the room. Ditto for Schindler's List. When I'm reading, the action takes place in my mind, and my mind controls how much I take in and to what extent my imagination takes the words. A book about the Holocaust brings me to tears, a movie about the Holocaust gives me nightmares.

My SO, on the other hand, watches those movies and more, but when I gave him 11/22/63 to read, he said a disturbing scene where a boy is murdered only a few chapters made him sick and he put the book. Nothing past that one scene mattered, even though I told him it was really the only awful scene in the book.

tl;dr - not everyone must watch a movie about the horrors of slavery to understand the horrors of slavery.

Bubbles said...

Ok. As someone who worked on award marketing campaigns, I will tell you how it works.

We start in July doing screenings with guilds and the films are already chosen by the studios as their Golden Ticket to get special attention because of the buzz before the film ever comes out.

Once the studio execs screen the film, they have an idea of what is going to be an academy film or not, what's an academy worthy performance or not, and the push begins with their favored films getting the attention.

I remember when I did it,Screenings during the summer with special events coming around September, October to create greater industry buzz within each faction. The Academy members never have to watch every film as the films that start winning SAG and other accolades have already gotten the buzz for the season and don't lose it by the Oscars. Notice you always have the same films winning the Producers Guild, The Directors Guild etc.... You never hear about a film that didn't take any of the other industry awards earlier in the season being a major Oscar contender.

There is quite the science to award campaign marketing. All of the hard work has been done and the top films determined by the time Oscar time approaches. All members have to do is vote because the list of contenders that had buzz in July is less by October and even less by December.

So saying all that, I'm assuming this is Intern Enty griping because a seasoned LA attorney having anything to do with entertainment would know that.

umop 3pisdn said...

Texas T-Rex...hahaha. I thought Matty boy was a sloth

umop 3pisdn said...

Ask Sean Penn, 2001, "I Am Sam." Remember? Went full retard, went home empty handed...

AndyCane said...

I didn't read this post but I still commented on it

MadLyb said...

This film was too good to fall prey to panderers.

Jessica Wakefield said...

I believe McConnaughey won because of True Detective, not completely but it probably put him over the top. If I were an Academy voter I would have voted the same way though. You can't stop the McConnaissance.

FSP said...

lol@AndyCane

TalksTooMuch said...

Alright, alright, alright, umop!

Henriette said...

Fruitvale Station was robbed. It was one of the best films of last year. I saw 12 Years A Slave and wouldn't see it twice. It's such a tough movie and Fassbender was amazing in it.

I also think MM deserved his Oscar. It was such an amazing performance and Leto was great too. The Academy loves stuff like that. You got to play someone with a condition, see Dustin Hoffman's Rainman, a political figure, see Ben Kingsley's Ghandi and you are a shoe in.

Henriette said...

I Am Sam is one of my all time favorite movies, but I think most actors are jealous of Penn. He may be a dick, but he is exceptionally gifted as an actor.

Sprink said...

@Sherry--there were 9 nominees for Best Picture this year, not 5.