The Preferential Ballot

Sabin
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Re: The Preferential Ballot

Postby Sabin » Sun Aug 09, 2020 5:22 pm

Big Magilla wrote
It's all speculation. I'm more concerned about other things right now, anyway.

Very fair.
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Re: The Preferential Ballot

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Aug 09, 2020 4:53 pm

It's all speculation. I'm more concerned about other things right now, anyway.

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Re: The Preferential Ballot

Postby Sabin » Sun Aug 09, 2020 4:05 pm

Big Magilla wrote
Not apathy - antipathy (deep disgust, aversion) on the part of the old-timers in the director's bloc who have an aversion to actors (with rare exception) taking their jobs. There was no apathy toward the film. It was a crowd-pleaser in the best sense.


Big Magilla wrote
Yes, but only two of them (Redford, Costner) were first-time directors and it was the full Academy, not just the directors, who gave them their wins.

Magilla, I'm going to be honest. I don't think any of this happened.
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Re: The Preferential Ballot

Postby danfrank » Sun Aug 09, 2020 2:57 pm

Big Magilla wrote:
danfrank wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:Not apathy - antipathy (deep disgust, aversion) on the part of the old-timers in the director's bloc who have an aversion to actors (with rare exception) taking their jobs.


Rare? In a 25-year period (1980-2004) they gave the Best Director Oscar to actors-turned-directors 7 times (Redford, Beatty, Costner, Eastwood [twice], Howard, and Gibson).

Yes, but only two of them (Redford, Costner) were first-time directors and it was the full Academy, not just the directors, who gave them their wins.


How are we talking about first-time directors? Argo was Affleck’s fourth feature film as a director. The full academy gave these directors their wins, yes, and the directors branch nominated all of them, along with other actors-turned-directors like Tim Robbins, who was nominated for his second feature film. I’m just making the point that the directors branch is clearly not anti-actors who become directors. Perhaps they just didn’t like Argo that much, or didn’t think it was directed well enough to nominate it.

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Re: The Preferential Ballot

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Aug 09, 2020 1:31 pm

danfrank wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:Not apathy - antipathy (deep disgust, aversion) on the part of the old-timers in the director's bloc who have an aversion to actors (with rare exception) taking their jobs.


Rare? In a 25-year period (1980-2004) they gave the Best Director Oscar to actors-turned-directors 7 times (Redford, Beatty, Costner, Eastwood [twice], Howard, and Gibson).

Yes, but only two of them (Redford, Costner) were first-time directors and it was the full Academy, not just the directors, who gave them their wins.

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Re: The Preferential Ballot

Postby dws1982 » Sun Aug 09, 2020 12:15 pm

Big Magilla wrote:Rounding out my top ten were Zero Dark Thirty, The Master, The Kid with a Bike, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and (don't laugh) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

I think The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is better than most of the Best Picture nominees that year, and better than Madden's own Best Picture winner. The second one is pretty good too; maybe even a little better than the first.

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Re: The Preferential Ballot

Postby danfrank » Sun Aug 09, 2020 9:47 am

Big Magilla wrote:Not apathy - antipathy (deep disgust, aversion) on the part of the old-timers in the director's bloc who have an aversion to actors (with rare exception) taking their jobs.


Rare? In a 25-year period (1980-2004) they gave the Best Director Oscar to actors-turned-directors 7 times (Redford, Beatty, Costner, Eastwood [twice], Howard, and Gibson).

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Re: The Preferential Ballot

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Aug 09, 2020 1:37 am

Mister Tee wrote:You're still pushing Les Miz, all these years later?


I can be stubborn. It was nominated for nine Oscars, and won three. It won the Globe for Best Film - Musical or Comedy. It was better directed than Silver Lined Plaything and Beasts of the Southern Whatever. Its lack of a Best Directing nomination was , however, not surprising given all the talk at the time of too many closeups by a director who had already unfairly won in the minds of many, two years earlier.

Sabin wrote:Argo's lack of a directing nomination is either a fluke or symptomatic of a larger apathy towards the film in general.


Not apathy - antipathy (deep disgust, aversion) on the part of the old-timers in the director's bloc who have an aversion to actors (with rare exception) taking their jobs. There was no apathy toward the film. It was a crowd-pleaser in the best sense.

My top five films were Les Miz, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Argo, and Amour in that order, although I could be persuaded to move Argo up to no. 3. My Best Director choice was Michael Haneke for Amour over the directors of my other top five films.

Rounding out my top ten were Zero Dark Thirty, The Master, The Kid with a Bike, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and (don't laugh) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

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Re: The Preferential Ballot

Postby Sabin » Sat Aug 08, 2020 9:23 pm

Big Magilla wrote
True, but the Directors' branch, which skewered older than the DGA membership at the time and probably still does, failed to nominate Argo's director casting some doubt on the eventual outcome. Argo may still have won, so maybe clear was too strong an adjective to apply in this case, but I think an examination of the ballots if there ever is one, could well reveal that more people had Lincoln or Les Misérables at the top of their ballots than Argo, but Argo was on more ballot lists than any other film that year.

Tee beat me to the punch on most of this, but I'll say this:

I don't know what else to say about Les Miserables. The last time a movie won Best Picture without directing, writing, or editing nominations was Grand Hotel. In a five picture slate, I'm reasonably sure it doesn't get nominated...

But wouldn't Spielberg have beaten Ang Lee for Best Director if they felt that way about Lincoln? Let's take a step back for a second. I don't think there was any movie more favored to win Best Picture going into the 2012 Oscar race than Lincoln. In fact, Steven Spielberg directing a movie about Abraham Lincoln is probably the biggest no-brainer of all time.

So, how many awards total (from guilds or major orgs) did Lincoln win total before the Oscars?

BEST ACTOR: sag, bafta, drama globe,
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: sag

That's it. Additionally, I'm surprised to learn that Steven Spielberg wasn't nominated for a Best Director nomination at the BAFTAs. They nominated Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow, Michael Haneke, Ang Lee, and Quentin Tarantino. I just don't think voters loved it that much. In retrospect, I think it would've been less surprising if Steven Spielberg wasn't nominated but Ben Affleck was.


RE: Argo
Argo's lack of a directing nomination is either a fluke or symptomatic of a larger apathy towards the film in general. We can all agree that it's one of the two. If it's apathy, where do we find this? Based on its constant over-performance at every guild and organization on a regular basis, Argo is the most broadly liked film of the year. Is there anything we're missing? Was it too hip for the room, like The Social Network? Certainly not. Traditionally, the Academy has favored history lessons but in recent years they've shown a fondness for Hollywood satires and smart thrillers. Argo is all of these things. I honestly can't think of a film more for older -- probably liberal -- voters. It's a Boomer suspense film.

I just can't see the argument that it wasn't a fluke, which is why the outcry that followed was so strong. I think it's just more evidence that a directing nomination isn't essential, considering that we saw again this decade a Best Picture winner up for writing and editing but not directing.
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Re: The Preferential Ballot

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Aug 08, 2020 8:21 pm

Big Magilla wrote:True, but the Directors' branch, which skewered older than the DGA membership at the time and probably still does, failed to nominate Argo's director casting some doubt on the eventual outcome. Argo may still have won, so maybe clear was too strong an adjective to apply in this case, but I think an examination of the ballots if there ever is one, could well reveal that more people had Lincoln or Les Misérables at the top of their ballots than Argo, but Argo was on more ballot lists than any other film that year.

You're still pushing Les Miz, all these years later? Shouldn't you note that it, too, failed to secure a directing nomination -- so it has all of Argo's debits without all the Guild wins to offset it?

I'd say directing winner Life of Pi came closer. But I'm with Sabin: much as I found it bland, Argo was an overwhelming choice that year, except for the small-numbered group in the directing branch.

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Re: The Preferential Ballot

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Aug 08, 2020 3:51 am

True, but the Directors' branch, which skewered older than the DGA membership at the time and probably still does, failed to nominate Argo's director casting some doubt on the eventual outcome. Argo may still have won, so maybe clear was too strong an adjective to apply in this case, but I think an examination of the ballots if there ever is one, could well reveal that more people had Lincoln or Les Misérables at the top of their ballots than Argo, but Argo was on more ballot lists than any other film that year.

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Re: The Preferential Ballot

Postby Sabin » Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:16 am

Big Magilla wrote
2012 - To me, Argo was a clear beneficiary of the preferential ballot. I suspect that both Lincoln and Les Misérables were favored by more people but Argo was an innocuous crowd-pleaser that more people included on their lists than any other.

Yes, but it won the PGA, DGA, SAG, and BAFTA. It’d the only film since Slumdog Millionaire to win all of those plus the Golden Globe. Despite its Bear Director snub, Argo was probably somehow the strongest front-runner going into Oscar night since Slumdog. I think it wins on any kind of ballot.
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Re: The Preferential Ballot

Postby mlrg » Thu Aug 06, 2020 5:37 am

Argo, The Artist and specially Spotlight are pretty forgettable movies.

Spotlight is the ultimate example of a movie that benefited from preferential ballot.

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Re: The Preferential Ballot

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Aug 06, 2020 2:23 am

I think we discussed this quite a bit in the individual years, but to sum up all ten years without peeking at what I might have said at the time, I think:

2009 - The Hurt Locker had the quality that was needed to beat audience favorite Avatar with the added bonus of the ex-wife of the director of Avatar getting the last laugh, so to speak. I think it would have won in any case.

2010 - Hard to say. Younger voters and hipper oldsters would have preferred The Social Network but a lot of the older voters, many of whom recall having lived through the events of The King's Speech, may have put it over anyway.

2011 - The Artist was a mix of genuine film history and Harvey Weinstein huckstering at its worst. The competition was lousy. It probably would've won anyhow.

2012 - To me, Argo was a clear beneficiary of the preferential ballot. I suspect that both Lincoln and Les Misérables were favored by more people but Argo was an innocuous crowd-pleaser that more people included on their lists than any other.

2013 - I see 12 Years a Slave as being a clear choice winner in any event.

2014 - This was a race to the finish between Birdman and Boyhood with The Grand Budapest Hotel a long-shot possible spoiler. It probably would have won anyway.

2015 - With no clear favorite, Spotlight may have won anyway. I think it's difficult to know for sure.

2016 - Moonlight may have benefitted from the preferential ballot as more people than you may think hated La La Land including me. My choice was Manchester by the Sea but Moonlight was an acceptable second choice over what I saw as a lame we-can't-sing-but-we're gonna-do-it-anyway musical for people who hate musicals.

2017 - The Shape of Water was a definite beneficiary of the preferential ballot. Three Billboards was my clear choice for Best Picture with Guillermo del Toro taking Best Director in a split top win.

2018 - I liked Green Book better than most here, but I doubt it would have won without benefit of the preferential ballot. With my pick of First Man (from LaLa director Damien Chazelle) out of the race, I had no clear favorite, but slightly preferred and actually liked Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman more than Green Book. I was opposed to Roma because of Netflix. Taking it strictly on its merits, it still only makes fifth place on my list behind The Favourite at no. 4.

2019 - 1917 was my favorite film of the year, but I liked Parasite, Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood and The Irishman in about that order. It could have been a preferential winner, but there was so much late race momentum for Parasite and director Bong Joon Ho that it probably did win on its own.

To sum up:

Definite beneficiaries:
Argo
The Shape of Water

Possible beneficiaries:
Spotlight
Moonlight
Green Book

Would have won anyway:
The Hurt Locker
The King's Speech
The Artist
12 Years a Slave
Birdman
Parasite

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Re: The Preferential Ballot

Postby Sabin » Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:50 pm

One big factor you're leaving out is that the balloting process requires 50% + 1 vote. So, the big question is which film would've gotten the most no. 1 votes regardless of whether or not it hit 50% +1.

I think The Shape of Water benefited from the balloting process. It likely received a ton of #2 and #3 votes from craftsmen and technicians due to its high number of down-ballot nominations. I think it's possible that Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri received the most number of no. 1 votes outright (although it didn't win screenplay, so who knows) or maybe even Get Out. It's possible that it still would have won but I can see arguments for either way.

I think Parasite is a big question mark. It seems clear that it benefited from the fact that it was an actor's film (based on its SAG Ensemble win) but it's easy to forget right now that 1917 swept the PGA, DGA, and BAFTA. That's pretty formidable. It's possible that 1917 led on the first ballot in a three-way race with Once Upon a Time in America and Parasite, and steadily Parasite picked up wins until it was pushed over the top. I only say this because 1917 was such a big front-runner, it's possible different circumstances could've changed the outcome. I can see arguments for either.

I think 12 Years a Slave likely would have won outright because American Hustle came up with zero wins. But considering that Gravity won seven Oscars (the most of the decade), Gravity might have been the winner on the first ballot.

I have no idea about Green Book vs. Roma. I'm inclined to say that Green Book would have won either way because: 1) Roma was not nominated for a Film Editing nomination, which meant voters thought it was slow, 2) Roma's chances were over-estimated because of its two acting nominations, which omits the fact that those two categories (Best Actress & Supporting Actress) were pretty weak that year, and 3) Netflix hurt Roma both in terms of anti-Netflix bias and that Netflix is probably the worst way to see Roma.

Another big question to ask is which films likely zeroed out first and who did those films help, bu I don't feel like doing that math at this moment.
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