When your favorite film loses the Best Picture Oscar on Sunday night, don't be surprised. While it's no secret Academy voters aren't exactly the most fair or progressive bunch, it's always disheartening to be reminded of the fact that many Oscar voters—like many American voters, really—are bordering on senility, a little bit sexist, a lot a bit racist, and really just looking out for their own sexist, racist, and limited interests.
This year, The Hollywood Reporter is interviewing five "brutally honest" voters about their ballots. The first report, published on Wednesday, highlights a "longtime member" of the Academy's directors branch. Amongst his many opinions, he believes 12 Years a Slave is not a "courageous" movie, that Jared Leto is only nominated because of the "person he's playing," that Woody Allen is facing a lot of "absurd bullshit," and that American Hustle is basically the best thing ever.
Honestly, there's a great chance this "brutally honest" voter is either David O. Russell or David O. Russell's greatest fan.
And while this voter is only one man with one of the 6,028 ballots, it's fair to say he's probably not the only member of the Academy who believes Slave is overrated, that Leto's performance is "pandering," and that poor Allen is being unfairly attacked. If that's the case, does it mean American Hustle, Russell, and Jennifer Lawrence will be taking home more awards? Is 12 Years a Slave just too much for old, white male voters?
Here are some of his votes (with explanations):
Best Picture: American Hustle
Why not 12 Years a Slave, the film many expect to win?
With 12 Years a Slave, you don't even crack a smile, but it was interesting, admirable and well done; I must say, though, that contrary to what some have asserted, it's not as if it required great courage to make that movie — maybe if you made it in Mississippi in 1930.
Best Director: David O. Russell
Why not Alfonso Cuaron, the director many expect to win?
Cuaron was part of a committee of technicians who made that movie, and I have seen things at the planetarium that were at least as impressive.
Best Actor: Christian Bale
Why not Matthew McConaughey, the actor many expect to win?
McConaughey was very good; he's really doing some great stuff now, and I would give it to him for True Detective.
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett
Why not Sandra Bullock, the dark horse in the best actress race?
Bullock is the weak link — she's just OK.
Best Supporting Actor: Bradley Cooper
Why not Jared Leto, the actor who is considered a lock?
Jared Leto was good and will win, but he's getting tremendous points because of the person he's playing more than the way he played it, which is as close to pandering as you can get.
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence
Why not Lupita Nyong'o, the odds-on favorite?
Lupita was very good, but a lot of the commotion over her is attributable to people's tremendous empathy with and sympathy for the role she's playing.
Best Original Screenplay: American Hustle
Why not Blue Jasmine, the film written by your friend Woody Allen?
I often choose personal friendship when I am torn between two almost equally good options, but in this case I'm friends with both David and Woody, so that doesn't help. … I'm going for American Hustle because Woody has already been overwhelmingly rewarded. I feel very badly about the absurd bullshit that's flying Woody's way, but that can't intrude one way or the other on voting.
Best Animated Feature: None
Why would you abstain from the most fun category?
I have seen none of them. I have no interest whatsoever. That ended when I was 6. My son dragged me to a few when he was 6; I would seat him and go outside and make phone calls.
Best Documentary Feature: None
Not even a single one?
Even with its new rules, the documentary category has about as much claim to legitimacy as the Bush-Gore presidential election. It's an incestuous little club.
Best Original Score: None
Why? Do you hate music?
I found all five scores inferior.
Best Original Song: None
There's not even one that's better than the others?
I didn't vote because I regard all four songs as utterly inferior and not worth voting for. To dignify any of them with a vote is to suggest that they're worthy of a nomination, and they're not; they're just bad songs.
Best Visual Effects: Gravity
Why not any of the others?
Four of them are completely without interest of any kind whatsoever on any level, and Gravity's effects, in 3D, anyway, are terrific. So this isn't even a contest.
Best Animated Short, Best Documentary Short, and Best Live-Action Short: None
You don't have any friends who need votes?
I don't watch the shorts. And, if I don't know anybody who made one of them — a friend or an enemy — I just don't vote, which was the case this year.
[Image via AP]