Around town and around the web, there’s been plenty of fuss about the effect of the new best-picture voting rules. Some examples:
At In Contention, Kris Tapley says it’ll level the playing field and stifle block voting.
Entertainment Weekly’s Dave Karger thinks Oscar campaigners will have to “canvass more broadly” to secure those number two and number three rankings.
On the Gold Derby Forums at the Envelope, one poster speculated that it’ll mean animated pictures will start winning best picture. Another says it’ll cause some voters to get political and rank the strongest competitors at the bottom of their ballots.
Craig Kennedy from Living in Cinema thinks it’ll lead to more spending on Oscar campaigns.
Movie City News’ David Poland applauds the change, but thinks it’d be better if the threshold for winning was lowered from 50 percent to 33.3 percent.
Sasha Stone at Awards Daily says it makes her head spin.
Nikki Finke naturally thinks it’ll distort the will of the voters, and is just another awful way in which the horrible AMPAS prez Tom Sherak is ruining the Oscars.
The political group FairVote, which champions preferential (or “instant runoff”) voting as the fairest way to conduct elections, issued a press release touting the Academy’s decision as a way in which “reform backed by Obama and McCain can improve real world elections.”
The L.A. Times says it knew this was going to happen.
FilmSchoolRejects suspect that some ballots will have to be discarded because voters won’t fill them out correctly.
Awards Campaign’s Greg Elwood gets a little turned around, and somehow concludes that preferential voting is being extended from the final voting into the nominations process, instead of the other way around. This leads him to a completely impossible explanation for how Crash might have beaten Brokeback Mountain.
Other commentators, including The Envelope’s Tom O’Neil, predict more splits between the best-picture and best-director winners, since the two awards will now be tallied using different methods.
A commentator on Poland’s Hot Blog advances a modest proposal: structure the Oscar broadcast like a countdown show, revealing the order of finish from number 10 to number one..
And among the people I’ve talked to, I get the sense that a) it’s all fine and good to talk about spending more money on campaigns, but if the money’s not there it won’t be spent, because only Harvey Weinstein spends money he doesn’t have on Oscar pushes; and b) the rules are still confusing to many people in the business.
As one veteran of the Oscar wars sums it up: “Right now there’s nothing but confusion, frankly.”