THR sits down with a bitchy Academy voter as he fills out his ballot: smug or funny?

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The Hollywood Reporter has been doing this feature for at least two years now, and I have a love/hate for it. THR basically sits down with an unnamed Academy member as he fills out his ballot, and he explains why he’s voting the way he is. Since the voter is able to remain anonymous (all we know about this voter is that it’s a man and he’s a “longtime member” of the directors’ branch of the Academy), the comments can be really, really bitchy and brutally honest. You can read the full piece here, and here are some of his thoughts on the big races:

➻ BEST PICTURE
Captain Phillips struck me as a slightly hokey, overacted, not particularly gripping action movie. Gravity pales in comparison with Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s recent 13-part reboot of Carl Sagan’s famous TV series about the universe. Philomena, which I’ve wanted to call Philomania ever since the Golden Globes, was an effective tearjerker — I was moved by it — but that doesn’t make it a great film. Nebraska was skillfully done but limited by its limited ambitions and its overly measured pace. Her interested me because of my complete ignorance of everything in it — it was like sitting through a class that I wasn’t necessarily enjoying but that I knew was good for me. (And just because I fall asleep in a movie doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t admire and like it; I’ve actually occasionally fallen asleep in my own movies.) Dallas Buyers Club was very good, and I was engaged by it all the way through, but there were no real surprises in it. The Wolf of Wall Street has almost nothing to say, but I found it hysterically funny. Conversely, 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. As for American Hustle, its ambition is not overwhelming, but it takes an interesting subject and very interesting characters and delivers 100 percent on what could be done with it in a very engaging, entertaining, interesting and truthful way. I would not put it in the legendary masterpiece category, but it doesn’t fail on any level.
MY PICK: (1) American Hustle; (2) 12 Years a Slave; (3) The Wolf of Wall Street

➻ BEST DIRECTOR
David O. Russell, hands down. Steve McQueen made an admirable movie, but I don’t think it’s remotely as ambitious or good as his previous film, Shame. Wolf is like Casino and GoodFellas — fun, bubble-gum Scorsese. Payne — whatever. And 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.
MY PICK: David O. Russell (American Hustle)

➻ BEST ACTOR
Ejiofor was good. DiCaprio has been better; this is a popcorn performance. McConaughey was very good; he’s really doing some great stuff now, and I would give it to him for True Detective. Dern is a great guy and a friend and is excellent in the movie, and if I were not as taken by Bale’s performance as I am, I would have voted for him. But Bale had a much juicier role — Dern’s role is very contained, whereas Bale is all over the place — so I had to go with him. It’s the role of a lifetime.
MY PICK: Christian Bale (American Hustle)

➻ BEST ACTRESS
Blanchett has to win this. Bullock is the weak link — she’s just OK. For Streep, whom I love, this is a bottom-drawer performance. Dench is a terrific actress, and she’s very good in this film. Adams I love. But you have to vote for who’s truly the best, and to me, Blanchett — whom I’m normally not that wild about, with the exception of Bandits — is that. She was just a revelation; she was just spectacular.
MY PICK: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

➻ BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Everyone was at least very good, but Cooper was the best. I think this is the best he’s been in anything. If he wasn’t in the category, I’d probably end up voting for Jonah Hill, only because I found him so funny. 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.
MY PICK: Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)

➻ BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Lawrence and Hawkins are the two obvious best of the five. Hawkins had a difficult part — it’s not an attractive role, and she’s intentionally overshadowed constantly by Blanchett, but she registers strongly in each scene she’s in. Jennifer was even better — she has that extra level of excitement in every scene she’s in. She just dazzles; she’s always doing something original and bold and surprising and believable. June Squibb was fine. Julia Roberts was horrendous. And 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.
MY PICK: Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)

➻ BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
I actually liked several of the movies, especially 20 Feet From Stardom, but I refuse to dignify the category by voting in it. 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.
MY PICK: I abstain.

➻ BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
I immediately rule out Palestine for Omar because I saw it, and it’s a bunch of f—ing anti-Semitic swine. The Hunt was the best, by far — the performance, the writing, the boldness of the approach. The Great Beauty is unbelievably f—ing slow and dull; that’s another movie where you can sit there and pass out five times and miss nothing. I stopped Broken Circle Breakdown halfway and Cambodia’s after 20 minutes.
MY PICK: The Hunt

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

No surprise, old men in Hollywood adore Jennifer Lawrence and they think she’s so charming and unique. I would say that’s her main fan base: older men who find her adorable. Don’t get me wrong, I think she’s incredibly talented, but I saw American Hustle and she didn’t even make my top-five favorite performances in that film. And I’m sorry, but Bradley Cooper was the absolute weakest part of Hustle. I feel like I’m going crazy when everyone is falling all over themselves to praise him. He played the same kind of coked-up a—hole he usually plays. It’s like they just took his Hangover character and gave him a perm. But I’m actually fine with some love going to Christian Bale. I’ve said this before: Bale’s work in Hustle is the most I’ve ever liked him. It’s possibly the most sympathetic and enjoyable character he’s ever played.

And no surprise, everybody is going to vote for Cate Blanchett. Meryl Streep is probably going to vote for Cate too, although I don’t agree with this guy that Meryl was “bottom-drawer”. Meryl did the best she could with the material (which was, IMO, sub-standard). And I even have to defend Julia a little bit – she wasn’t bad at all in Osage County. I mean, she doesn’t deserve any awards or anything, but she gave a solid performance.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

 

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168 Responses to “THR sits down with a bitchy Academy voter as he fills out his ballot: smug or funny?”

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  1. Kiddo says:

    That Philomania reference almost made me think this was Leo, but then he didn’t appear to be voting for himself, so I guess not.

    I’m not excited about the Oscars this year. The program itself is torture and I think we probably already know the winners.

  2. insomniac says:

    So this mystery director was David O. Russell, right?

  3. Jaderu says:

    Yeah, no. As much as I liked American Hustle, it isn’t winning anything Sunday night. Bradley Cooper? pffffffflooooooooooool. No.

    Side note: Out of curiosity, I wonder if they ever let slip after the show who got how many votes? Like “this one won but so and so and this one got this many votes”?

    • Lily says:

      I don’t know about that it may win for best screen play

    • Bluebear says:

      I haven’t seen American Hustle, so with that said, I did see Dallas Buyer’s Club. If I had to give an oscar for Best Supporting Actor based SOLELY on past performances, it would be Jared Leto hands down. The guy is insanely talented. Having seen DBC, let me say that his portrayal of Rayon was far from a characature of a transgender female. He WAS a woman. He walked, talked, dressed, acted, moved, and completely embodied the femininity that many women today would kill for. He sashayed that movie to the Oscars. Realistically, it wasn’t much of a stretch for a Texan man who grew up in the 80′s to play a Texan man in the 80′s. Alright so he was a sick, emaciated and bigoted Texan, but still. McConoughey wasn’t stretching his acting wings too much. Instead of being excited to see high school girls, or excited to see buried treasure, or excited to sell diamonds, he was excited to sell medications. He starved himself for the role, but if that alone won Oscars, Hollywood women would be winning all of them.

      As for Christian Bale, (again, I haven’t seen AH) based solely on past performances, the guy deserves an oscar. He blows every role he does out of the water. You can tell he puts his heart and soul into every character because you forget that you are watching Christian Bale.

      This guy’s whole commentary on films is why I don’t watch the Oscars. How many times has Joaquin Phoenix been effed out of an Oscar because some other actor was “due” one for a half assed, crappy performance that was more than forgettable? Which is why you don’t give Oscar’s based on past performances. I rest my case.

  4. Tapioca says:

    “THR sits down with David O. Russell as he fills out his ballot.”

  5. SonjaMarmeladova says:

    Jennifer was so invredibly over the top it was hard to watch. Even Bradley outacted her. If Lupita doesn’t win I’m gonna be so pissed.
    Amy Adams is the only nomination AH deserved.

    • Zadie says:

      She reminded me of Penelope Cruz in VCB who got an Oscar for yelling in Spanish. She gets awards based on her personality. The only movie she was great in was Winter’s Bone.

    • Deedee says:

      I dont remember her performance. Only the low cut dresses which was getting on my nerves after a while, it was so distracting.

    • Zadie says:

      Oh, and if not Lupita, I could settle for Sally Hawkins. she was amazing too.

    • starrywonder says:

      Man this had to be freaking David O Russell for him to say people are picking Lupita because of empathy but it wasn’t a good role. STFU! Whatever David. No way in hell should Bradley Cooper win for a freaking thing. His role is the same role he played in Wedding Crashers and Hangover movies. I loved Christian Bale in this too but seriously this needs to go to MM since I think he was awesome in Dallas Buyer’s Club.

      • LeLe25 says:

        I can’t believe how many people agree with me about the Jennifer Lawrence performance! This gives me hope Lupita may win :)

        Jennifer was heart breakingly good in Winter’s Bone, but every role I’ve seen her in since then has been blah. In fact, I would say insincere or wooden. I think she has a fun personality, is professional, and probably very different from the usual young actresses directors work with (I think that was Emma Stone’s appeal at first too). A great actress though is up for debate.

        Also, it is interesting to note that this is the first time in a long time I can remember a young woman of color like Lupita taking the film world by a storm. If this does not result in a million jobs after like it has J. Lawrence ( I think her performance in 12 years was comparable to Lawrence in Winter’s Bone) then I am seriously boycotting movies and sticking to television.

  6. Lisa says:

    I didn’t see everything, but McConaughey and Leto should win, they really were fantastic. Bale was great, but I’d give it to McConaughey.

  7. Original Tessa says:

    I agree about Jennifer Lawrence. Whenever her character was onscreen, a good movie became great, and you couldn’t wait to see what her crazy ass was going to pull out next. You could feel the energy through the screen. She is truly awesome in AH.

  8. Lily says:

    I think the reason he gave regarding luptia’s performance is the exact reason why 12 years hasn’t won nearly as many awards it should have

    • Mia4S says:

      There are a lot of anecdotal stories of voters not even watching 12 Years! They “…just can’t!” Or “it’s too much!”. How pathetic is that? It was very powerful, but it’s still just a movie! Sometimes art is not easy. It’s also not like there haven’t been tough movies in the past that did well ( Schindlers List, Sophie’s Choice, The Killing Fields,…not exactly laugh a minute!) Give me a break!

      • Lily says:

        I agree it’s horrible and if you are going to vote in that category it’s your JOB to watch every film and decide what you feel is the best.

      • dizzylucy says:

        I agree – if you’re voting in a category, you should be required to watch every nominee.

      • LAK says:

        I’ve watched the film examples that you’ve given, but it took me a very long time to do so on the basis that it was too much.

        If I were a voter, i’d give my ballot to a different film or abstain completely.

        It’s not that those films shouldn’t be told, I simply can’t handle the inhumanity of humans. It’s easier to read about it, than to watch.

        On the same basis I am still traumatised by OLDBOY, the original version which I was forced to watch (long story why I didn’t walk out of the screening) and I had to watch Disney for 2wks afterwards to remove the images from my head.

        The only film that was a pleasant surprise and i’m pissed has never really had huge publicity is MOULAADE which is about FGM. One would think a film about FGM would be a tough watch, but it was really well done, and no FGM on screen though there was a lot of talk about it.

      • Mia4S says:

        i’d give my ballot to a different film or abstain complete

        I think abstaining is fair but voting without watching all the nominees? No, I wouldn’t be OK with that. If you personally don’t have the constitution to sit through a nominee, that’s fine, but the fact that a film is nominated implies a good number of fellow voters did sit through it and found it worthy. If someone can’t, they should abstain.

      • K.K says:

        Anyone in the Academy who did not watch 12 Years A Slave because it’s too difficult to watch is a coward. Plain and simple. This isn’t a movie that was written from a person’s imagination. This was a movie adapted from the biography of a human being. This was his letter to the world to remind all of us of a dark time in America. Just like Schindler’s List and a whole host of movies before it, it was a reminder of how ugly we can be to our fellow humans. If someone on the academy and have the right to vote, it is thier responsibility to watch every movie! Not pick what their delicate stomachs can handle. What a bunch of cowards. But they can stomach alleged rapists and molesters, but they cannot acknowledge a man’s pain.

      • pwal says:

        I really can’t stomach the feigning of sympathy regarding the violence depicted in 12YAS, specifically bloggers like Lainey and the people of Pajiba proclaiming that 12YAS can only be watched once. I saw it twice and when it’s out on DVD next week, I’m fcuking buying it. Not because there’s something wrong with me, as the the writers at Pajiba concluded regarding repeat views, or because I’m Black and female, or the many other ill-informed conclusions that ‘sensitive’, ‘open-minded’, self-declared thinkers attached to award season film critique has laid out throughout the awards season.

        12YAS is simply a brilliant film that deserves multiple viewings. And it deserves the awards it won and lost. And as far as I’m concerned, if it doesn’t win best picture, Oscar will reveal itself as the pantload institution that many have suspected long ago.

    • Kiddo says:

      If you have sympathy for a character, then that character is believable. Doesn’t that equate to good acting? His/her justification for ignoring 12 Years A Slave is that, paraphrasing, producing it in a post racial America (ahem, see Paula Deen) isn’t brave. But I guess making a movie about the 70′s-80′s is radically ballsy?

      • booboochile says:

        Someone on dlisted put it aptly. Based on his argument you could put a scarecrow in that role and because it is a slave movie it will automatically engender sympathy. Meaning Lupita didn’t have to do anything, people will be guilted into liking it because of the subject matter. gnnnngngngngngaaaaaaarghhh! I hate this muthah effer!

    • LAK says:

      I know several academy voters and they are all giving the same reason as this guy for not voting for 12YAS.

      The general consensus is that it’s a worthy subject matter that needed to be told, but they feel like Steve McQueen went for shock value. There is a lot of talk that ‘shock value’ is Steve’s stock in trade when you look at his output.

      Anybody who wins from this film, and by that I mean ALL categories, should feel very lucky in the sense that people tried to overlook the shock value to the technology and performances.

      • nico says:

        “There is a lot of talk that ‘shock value’ is Steve’s stock in trade when you look at his output.”

        Interesting.

        I wonder if they had the same opinion about Tarantino and Django Unchained.

      • Kiddo says:

        LAK, s/he said there was nothing brave about doing the movie since it’s not 1930 in Alabama. Shock value wasn’t mentioned. The decision was relayed as if the subject matter was passé.
        .

      • MollyMaxwell says:

        Yeah, I also think it’s really odd when someone calls 12YAS torture porn or talks about shock value because I didn’t find it to have either of those qualities. It was honest but in a non-exploitive way. The violence that was shown was akin to what was shown in Schindler’s List. I actually think that Steve McQueen’s naturally distant directorial style helped to make the film more palatable to sit through.

        I also know quite a few Academy members and aside from the ones who let family members do their voting for them, they mostly seem to be split between the ones who think 12YAS deserves to win and those who can’t bring themselves to watch it so come up with all sorts of excuses why it’s overrated.

      • Anna says:

        I’m always suspicious when people on these forums claim to know the people we’re talking about, or have a friend of a friend, or say they have connections. How do you know “several Academy members”, LAK?

      • LadySlippers says:

        @Molly: Those were my thoughts as well. McQueen was honest and didn’t pull any unnecessary punches to create shock. The story, in and of itself, is shocking. No need to add to it.

        What I hear about 12YaS is clear cognitive dissonance. It’s uncomfortable, might reflect poorly on the VIEWER (like how do you, the viewer, contribute to racism or discrimination) so let’s just tuck that movie and watch it ‘later’ (i.e. never). None if these excuses seem like real reasons NOT to vote for it — it just sounds like excuses.

      • LAK says:

        KIDDO: my comment about ‘shock value’ wasn’t talking about the voter in the post above, rather the voters that I know who aren’t voting for anybody in 12YAS. They’ve seen the film, and that is their comment which traverses HUNGER and SHAME. That is their opinion of Steve McQueen’s output.

        It’s not the subject matter they object to at all. Merely Steve McQueen’s signature. And by signature, I mean what to expect when you go see a film directed by Steve McQueen in the same way that you know what to expect from a Scorsese or Tarantino or Anderson or Spielberg film.

        ANNA: it’s my job.

      • MollyMaxwell says:

        @Anna – I can’t speak for LAK but for me, I work at a Production company that has an office in Toronto (where I am) and in Los Angeles (where our Executive Producer is based). The Academy is made up of a lot of technicians and below-the-line people so working on any show you generally come in contact with an Academy member or two on the crew. Knowing an Academy member doesn’t always have to mean an actor/director/producer.

        @LadySlippers Exactly. I get annoyed when people are dismissive of a movie because it makes them feel bad (or they anticipate that it’s going to make them feel bad).

      • MissMoody says:

        @Anna, if you live and work in LA, chances are good that you know at least one person who’s an Academy member. Not all members of the Academy are actors/names you would recognize btw. You make it sound as if Academy members all live in a gated community, hidden away from the rest of society. Most people who live in LA have some connection to Hollywood, even if it is just a friend of a friend type stuff. At least that’s my experience.

      • thinkaboutit says:

        I’m not in the business at all but I live in NYC and know a lot of Academy members. I frequent a movie theater that hosts loads of BAFTA screenings every year, and when you see the people in line (LONG lines, hundreds of attendees), no one looks like a movie star, director, producer, etc. Just a bunch of very regular people who work behind the scenes out of the limelight.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        @Anna – I’m not in the business but my best friend was in the business for years, the production end of both movies and television and she’s now a casting agent. Through her I’ve met several people in the business. *shrugs*

    • Deedee says:

      Lupitas performance was outstanding. I couldnt help by cry for Patsy. I thought She was the best out of the entire cast, although everyone was very good except Pitt. He just seemed to phone it in or something, but i did not find him convincing at all.

  9. blue marie says:

    Are you sure they didn’t just poll Bradley Cooper? No one would vote for him but him.
    (plus I’ve fallen asleep with a lot of his films)

  10. MickeyM says:

    Christian Bale. Bale was the best thing about American Hustle. Also, I think Amy Adams truly gets the short end for being subtle and, moreover, a professional. Jennifer is not that great. So she pulled off “loudmouth”- big f’in deal. And agreed on Bradley – he’s always slightly skeevy, but he’s good with skeevy. But I don’t think he has any kind of Christian Bale range.

    • leah says:

      I agree about Christian Bale. Amy doesn’t get the short stick imo. She is always nominated for academy awards so she is very much loved by the academy. I don’t get why people complain about her and Decaprio when they do get nominated a lot, a lot more so than some absolutely stunning actors who have been working for a lot longer. They are clearly on the academys radar as opposed to someone like Gary Oldman who has one ( yes thats 1) nomination. Thats is outrageous.

    • Jaderu says:

      I think Christian Bale is getting more votes than the pundits, odds makers, etc., will have you believe. CB was terrific. But then, when is he not?
      Matthew M. was mesmerizing and made me really see that he’s finally bringing his A game. I think MM deserves it.

      @Leah, I agree completely. I don’t get the “they’re due” malarkey either. Lots of great actors/actresses are due. Doesn’t mean they’re gonna get one.

      • Jen says:

        “Matthew M. was mesmerizing and made me really see that he’s finally bringing his A game. I think MM deserves it. ”

        As the Academy Voter mentions in the interview, too, he also has the momentum from his performance in “True Detective” going for him. Not sure when voting closed, but if people are also watching that, thinking “Wow, that MM sure is a hell of an actor” I can see that swaying the voting, too.

      • TheCountess says:

        @Jen, the voting period was February 14th to the 25th.

    • Megan says:

      I think Jennifer can pull off loud mouth big mouth because she is one. She isn’t bad but she has yet to live up to her hype.

      I don’t think Amy deserves the win this year, but I am not going to lie she should have at least one by now. She really is the best actor in that cast and one of those five nominations should have been a win.

  11. MollyMaxwell says:

    The Broken Circle Breakdown was my favourite movie of 2013. I’m sad it’s not going to win the Oscar, especially since The Great Beauty – which WAS incredibly slow and dull – seems to be the favourite. If The Hunt takes it, I won’t feel quite so indignant.

    And hey, at least this guy is actually filling out his own ballot. The number of Academy members I know who let their kids or spouses or friends fill out their ballot for them is astounding.

    • Lilacflowers says:

      The Broken Circle Breakdown was so heartbreaking. The Hunt so disturbing but well done. I would have no quarrel if either won the category.

    • nico says:

      The Hunt was a really great film. Mads Mikkelsen deserved a nomination for his performance.

    • LAK says:

      Molly Maxwell: it’s really shocking when they give their ballots to maids, friends, children etc. And in the case of children, they definitely won’t have watched some of these films.

      Someone I know flat out said he was simply going with the flow because he didn’t have time to watch all these films so whoever is getting his attention via insider gossip or even general PR is the person he is voting for.

      • MollyMaxwell says:

        I know. It’s crazy to me because if I had voting privileges I feel like I’d take them seriously. Hell, I go out of my way to watch all of the shorts, docs and foreign film nominees just so I can have an informed opinion when I talk about it with my colleagues!

        The people I know who hand off the voting are similar to the person you know – no time or inclination to watch everything. They distribute the screeners and then ask opinions. Or they vote for their friends.

      • LAK says:

        Molly Maxwell: i’ve watched so many films over the years, that I can sort of get his point though I disapprove of his not taking the time to watch them.

        And because i’ve watched so many films over the years, I find myself drawn to other language or indies rather than studio films. It’s a bias that’s reinforced every time I see what is nominated. As an example, I thought the danish film, KAPRINGEN, was so much better than CAPTAIN PHILIPS, but who can compete with Tom Hanks??!!

      • MollyMaxwell says:

        I totally get the lack of time argument (because that’s valid given some peoples’ schedules if they happen to be in production) but in my experience it only ever seems to come into play when it’s something they don’t want to see.

        I’m with you on the studio films thing. For the most part, the 2013 movies that I found to be most memorable weren’t heavily distributed even though many of them would have found a bigger audience if they’d been given the chance (including KAPRINGEN, which was white-knuckle city for me). I wish AMPAS would expand both the best feature doc and foreign film categories to 10 as well, if only to give more underdog films a chance at some name recognition. They need it more than the studio films do.

      • LAK says:

        I was going to say the same re: foreign film/doc categories.

        It seems foreign films only get consideration for the other category if they hire an American producer to push help them get notice.

        I hate that often the foreign film category is categorised by countries rather than individual effort.

        One of my BFFs won 2005 foreign film ( TSOTSI), but it was entered under country category South Africa as opposed to all the individual work that went into it. It felt like only afew individuals were being homoured though the team was jubilant at winning the oscar.

    • MollyMaxwell says:

      That’s a good point about the Foreign Film category. Each country has to choose one film to represent them even though there might be a handful that deserve a chance and the country gets the headline rather than the filmmaker. Definitely not fair especially when, as you said, having an American producer on board suddenly bumps it out of that “lesser” (not in my mind) category and up with the big dogs. It’s such a weird, skewed system. Don’t even get me started on the mess that is the doc voting system.

      And belated congrats to your friend. TSTOTSI is amazing! I saw it three times in the theatre because I kept going back with people who hadn’t seen it. I feel lucky that I live in a city that gave me the option to support a worthwhile film like that.

  12. Annabelle says:

    American Hustle was a SNL sketch pretending to be a cool film noire. The performances appear like parody.

  13. Mark says:

    Bradley Cooper was the best thing about American Hustle by a mile. It was a shoddy movie.

    Sally Hawkins should win best supporting actress and Short Term 12 should be nominated aswell especially Brie Larson and the two young characters in the movie.

  14. leah says:

    I actually agree with him that Lupita and Jared are getting points for the parts they are playing to an extent. Although i do think they both did a great job i think thats the edge they have over some of the others. Especially i Jareds case i don’t think his is a better performance than the others bar Cooper. I totally disagree with Cooper getting the best supporting actor, that would be a travesty. I would go with Fassbender. i hope this guy is not representative of the academy because in that case american hustle will win big. The only thing that stood out for me in american hustle was the screenplay and christian bales performance, the rest are good but i don’t think the film in itself should win. it would be like argo winning last year. He clearly doesn’t rate TYAS, and it would be a shame to see that movie loose out some of the big awards.

  15. Esti says:

    Calling a well-regarded Palestinian movie anti-Semitic swine and defending Woody Allen? Yeah, I really don’t give a shit what this guy thinks about the nominees.

  16. dizzylucy says:

    I actually really loved American Hustle, I found it so entertaining, but I don’t know if I would choose it for best picture. I thought Adams, Bale, and Lawrence were all excellent in it, but Cooper was better in SLP and Jeremy Renner should have been nominated over him. Bale is going to win another one someday, but I don’t think this is his year.
    It’s interesting to see how voters make their decisions though. Entertainment Weekly usually polls people from different fields in the industry, and there was a lot of variation in choices this year.

  17. pleaseicu says:

    This explains all the award love for David O Russell’s mediocre work — the voters are made up of his fanboys, like this guy who inexplicably loves whatever mediocrity DOR puts onscreen. Every DOR film I’ve ever seen is saved by the talent of his cast but even this cast was outshone this year by the performances of the other nominees in their categories IMO.

  18. Jazz says:

    Christian Bale’s giving me some Tom Cruise as Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder vibes up there. :)

  19. tifzlan says:

    I watched American Hustle. I mean, it was a good movie but not to the level of praise that this “secret voter” puts it at. Even more so, Jennifer Lawrence!

  20. Hawkeye says:

    The best thing about American Hustle was Jeremy Renner. He was the only one in that movie who, for me, didn’t make me think, hey there’s Jeremy Renner saying some lines in an over-the-top manner in a bad wig. Christian Bale was a close second.

    • vangroovey says:

      YES!! Jeremy Renner’s character was the only one that did anything for me. And that was because he was the most sympathetic character, IMO. Oh, and that one line Jennifer Lawrence said, “Well, Thank God fa me.” But one line should not an Oscar win. I mean, as a movie it did it’s job. But it wasn’t Grrrrrrrrrreat! I actually liked ‘Rush’ (the 70s formula 1 flick) a whole lot more.

  21. Sarah says:

    Wow! His comment about Omar (the Palestinian film) is quite extreme. Just because a film is based in Palestine and shows the sort of life residents of the occupied territories lead doesn’t mean that it’s anti-Semitic. You can criticize Israel and not be an anti-Semite. I don’t know why people fail to grasp this basic concept.

    • LadySlippers says:

      Extremists on either side of any issue fail to see nuances.

      I haven’t seen the film so I will not comment on the specifics but the Palestine/ Israeli issue is thorny at best. And a lot of pro-Palestine things are often very subtly anti-Israeli/ Semitic which is unfortunate because you lose the message if it looks like it’s wrapped in hate.

    • wanda says:

      Having seen Omar, I can say it was subtlety anti-Semitic.
      I watched it to learn what the Palestinian side wished to portray in cinema, and walked away feeling sickened that I was swept up in a story that, although interesting, had a very extreme slant to it that wasn’t apparent until 3/4 thru. It was an old-fashioned propaganda film.
      And no, Omar wasn’t a great, award-worthy movie regardless.

      • Gretchen says:

        Trust me Wanda, what the Israeli authorities do in the occupied territories is far more sickening than how a (excellent and nuanced) Palestinian director depicts it. And when it comes to propaganda, no-one beats Israeli hasbara.

        Another thing people seem to fail to grasp is that life here IS extreme, no “slant” needed. The occupation is brutal, torture and human rights abuses are not only rampant but systematic. I can guarantee that pretty much any Palestinian you talk to will have a personal (or maximum 1 degree of separation story) of abuses committed by Israeli forces that will break your heart into pieces and have you despising the Israeli government and military forces. Just because something is extreme, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

  22. phlyfiremama says:

    Hate away on Woody Allen ( I think he is a POS myself) but Cate was INCREDIBLE as Jasmine. She blew me away with her VERY believable portrayal of a self obsessed, sociopathic narcissist. I thought Jennifer Lawrence was THE best performance in American Hustle, next to Christian Bale, and even my Husband (who doesn’t care in the least about awards, or hollywood machinations, or anything except the movie itself) came out of the movie saying she should win best supporting actress. Her character was mesmerizing, as was Christian Bale. For whatever reason, Amy Adams just leaves me feeling “meh”. A wonderful actress, but no sizzle. The Wolf of Wall Street holds absolutely zero interest for me. I haven’t seen 12YAS yet but will when it comes to DVD. August:Osage is intriguing, but again will see it on Redbox when it hits.

    • phlyfiremama says:

      And absolutely agree on the Sandra Bullock role in Gravity. A wonderful performance but Oscar worthy against Cate? Not even close. I love Sandra, she is awesome, but Astronauts know exactly what risks they are taking when they go into space, and they are so highly trained that they are not screaming girlishly while waiting for their big strong masculine counterparts to save them. That was just incredibly lame in my eyes, and ruined the overall movie. Not her fault, but certainly not the best performance of 2013.

      • Liza Jane says:

        I like Sandra too but at least the first half of the film was spent with her going “ooh” “aaaagh” and doing little shrieks as she was buffeted around! I didn’t see an iota of good acting in the performance!I thought the green screen work was good but what a drab disappointing film it was! We came out of the theatre very underwhelmed!

      • Camille (The Original) says:

        Gravity- the most over hyped movie ever. So boring. And Sandra was terrible in that film.

        My husband and I were VERY glad that we didn’t pay to see it on the big screen.

  23. M.A.F. says:

    When there were only 5 films in the best picture category, I would go out of my way to see them before the show. Now, I can’t be bother. I have only seen 12 years. Two, Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle, I won’t even seen on DVD as they hold no interest to me at all. Gravity does and I can’t remember what else was nominated. They need to bring the list back down to five or six and call it a day.

    Edit- read the article. Did they talk to the same person as they did last year? Because who ever it is, has a huge chip on their shoulders as did the person last year. And they need to pull their head out of AH ass. The trailers alone made me believe that the film would be bloated with self-serving crapness.

  24. Bea says:

    Does anyone really doubt that this “annonyous” person is David O. Russell or one of his partners? Come on, at least make it challenging Hollywood.

    All that was missing was the racist reference to J. Law being more of a slave in THG than Lupita’s Patsy.

  25. lunchcoma says:

    This is the second Oscar voter I’ve read about, and both of them come off horribly. The first voter was obnoxiously sexist and had a huge chip on his shoulder about the Oscar meet and greets. This guy is hypocritical, snobbish about animation, and sounds like a horrible father on top of it (he claims he waited outside and made calls while his 6-year-old sat in a movie theater alone rather than watch a kids’ movie with him!).

    Either terrible personalities are common in entertainment, or there’s something about breaking the rules of Oscar voting that appeals to the worst of the bunch.

  26. Sarah says:

    CBale is my favorite actor. Seriously, I love the man. But this isn’t his year. I’m kinda sure that even he wouldn’t want to win this year. Best Actor should deservedly go to Chiwetel Ejiofor. As for Christian, he has a lot of time and opportunity to win more awards. Here’s to hoping next years Exodus turns out to be really good (more like Gladiator rather than Prometheus) and do for Christian what Gladiator did for Russel Crowe.

  27. frisbeejada says:

    There was an article in a British newspaper by an Academy Member who admitted to voting for films s/he had never seen based on ‘reputation’ alone – which sounded believable to me. I had to smile at one section of this piece where he describes why he won’t vote for the Best Documentary “it’s an incestuous little club” – it sounds as if you could extrapolate that across the entire academy! :)

    • lunchcoma says:

      I thought the “incestuous little club” comment was particularly amusing given that the same voter admitted that he didn’t watch the shorts* but voted in that category when he had a friend who’d made one.

      *How much time would it even take to watch the screener for that? I’ll admit I don’t go out of my way to see short films, but if someone sent me a DVD of them, I’d happily watch it some afternoon.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        The five nominated live action shorts are available for rent on itunes.

      • MollyMaxwell says:

        I’ve watched all of the shorts and can attest that watching the animated films took a little over an hour and the live action and docs were closer to 2 hours each. Not a huge time investment and I was totally blown away by a few of the shorts.

        Anonymous Academy Voter is not only missing out on some great stuff (I would watch the French short ‘Just Before Losing Everything’ again and again) but perhaps missing the chance at having the inside track on some up-and-coming filmmaker who hasn’t graduated to features yet. After all, most of the Steve McQueens in the industry started out making shorts.

      • lunchcoma says:

        Just as I thought, a whopping afternoon of film watching, probably of very interesting material! It’s kind of sad that people who are supposed to represent the film industry don’t seem all that interested in watching new films.

        Based on your tip, Lilacflowers, and your review, MollyMaxwell, I think I’ll check out the itunes selections. Sounds like there’s some interesting work I haven’t seen.

  28. JLM says:

    Why does the guy hate on the documentary category?

  29. DJ says:

    I thought this sounded like David O’Russell too, especially when he picked ‘American Hustle’ for Best Picture, David O’Russell for Best Director and 2 actors(Jennifer and Bradley) from that movie in supporting roles. I’m hoping Lupita wins. I think there will be a serious backlash if Jennifer wins again.

  30. Jackson says:

    Would love to see Christian Bale win, as well as American Hustle for Best Picture. Cooper and Lawrence, not at all.

  31. WendyNerd says:

    Am I the only one who thinks American Hustle is vastly overrated? Don’t get me wrong, it was a very, very well-made film which featured a very good script, fine performances, and tight direction. There really isn’t much I think I can say is wrong with the movie. But while there aren’t any huge flaws I can pick out, that doesn’t necessarily make it spectacular. The story it told was entertaining and involving, but it hardly did anything that was groundbreaking or new. While I liked the characters and the story fine, it didn’t hold me on a huge intellectual or emotional level. There wasn’t anything in the style, visuals, direction or anything that struck me as incredibly special, just well-done. The performances were very good, but nothing there really blew me out of the water. It was funny, but not spectacularly so like Wolf of Wall Street. Nor did it bring me to tears or draw me in like Twelve Years a Slave, Philomena, Her, or even Frozen did. It didn’t do anything which really broke with conventions like Nebraska, Her, or Frozen. The visuals weren’t groundbreaking on the level of Gravity. For me, American Hustle was very, very good movie that was a great deal like a lot of very, very good movies that have been made before. I can think of a movie/performance in every category that outdid American Hustle in some way. Best Director? For me, it needs to go to either McQueen or Cuaron. Probably McQueen, if only for getting such incredible performances out of everyone. Best Screenplay? Her. No, really. I was so pissed when I heard the premise of this film, but it turned out to be fantastic. This brought out such dimension and emotional investment to a story template which sounds incredible. There was no part of the writing there that didn’t accomplish some sort of greatness. Best Actress? Blanchett. But actually, Amy Adams might be the one place where I think AH deserves to win. Best Actor? It’s between Dern and Ejiofor. Supporting actor? I actually agree with what this guy said about Jared Leto— Not that he didn’t do a good job, but yeah, part of it is about him simply playing a trans woman. I actually would go with Jonah Hill. He was hilarious, and comedy is too often underrated. Supporting Actress: Lupita. Hands down. Best Picture needs to be 12YAS. Sorry, it just needs to be.

    BTW, Frozen should have gotten more nominations. I still can’t get over how much I adored that movie. Not the best movie, but my favorite, and among the top ten best I saw this year. Hands down. It did all sorts of news things, did pretty much everything right, and was just hands down awesome. I am calling a new Disney Renaissance with this flick. I don’t care if people think I’m exaggerating, But since it’s a kid’s movie and animated, it will not get the recognition it deserves even if it is technically better than most of the adult live action films that are made, including the well-received ones. It was definitely better in my mind than American Hustle.

    Also, where the fuck is Fruitvale Station in all of this?

    • Megan says:

      Fruitvale and the actors involved should be in there over American Hustle and Wolf of Wall St. Fruitvale was the best movie of the year, they should have pushed the release date back, so that it would still be talked about.

      • Hawkeye says:

        @WendyNerd I am with you on American Hustle being vastly overrated. I commented earlier that Jeremy Renner and Christian Bale were the only good parts of that film for me. I also completely agree re: Fruitvale Station. WORD. I started crying when Oscar said goodbye to his mom and couldn’t stop until ten minutes after the credits were done. Even if I was able to keep it together, Fruitvale Station was very well written and the acting was superb.

    • LAK says:

      i’m pissed FRUITVALE didn’t make it especially given all the buzz it received coming out of sundance, but it was a true indie. perhaps they didn’t have enough money for the campaign. sometimes, unfair as that is, money [or a very clever awareness campaign] is what gets you nominated.

      However, it got lots of love at the Independent Spirit awards, so i hope it wins some awards there.

  32. Seriously? The fact that a ton of people, including Academy Voters, won’t go see 12YAS because it’s too hard to watch or ‘torture porn’ IS proof that it was brave to make. Unless you can’t watch graphic violence, in any form, I can’t see WHY you wouldn’t watch this movie. I mean, this dude or woman comes off as Jewish (the anti-semitic swine comment)—so if this was a movie about the Palestinians enslaved the Israelis for over 200 years, freed them, and then continued to treat them like third class citizens (under the stray dogs) for another 100 years, and then finally grant them their rights, and then STILL have to go through racism—would this director watched the movie and loved it then?????

    I mean, did any of these people say that when they were voting for The Pianist, or Schindler’s List, any Tarantino movie??? Seriously? This article almost makes me wish I hadn’t read it, because I do like watching the Oscars. And I agree–it is David O. Russell. Who else would have such a hard on for their own mediocre movie. I got confused halfway through, and overall the movie was okay. It’s ‘Argo’–who’s still talking about that movie??? I do think that twenty years from now, we’ll still be remembering 12YAS, than a crappy Abscam movie.

    • WendyNerd says:

      Um, Virgilla, could you please not make this a Jew thing? I’m a Jew, and I watched Twelve Years a Slave. I think it should win almost everything. I don’t know what about this guy comes off as “Jewish” to you. I didn’t exactly read this and go, “Ah, my tribesman.” I would guess that this is some old white dude, but not necessarily a Jewish one. I do think there is a double standard towards more racially based films, especially starring and/or made by Black, Native American, or Asian filmmakers and actors. But I think that’s definitely more a white thing than a Jewish thing. There’s nothing about American Hustle that screamed Jew to me. The only characters that profess any religious identity are Roman Catholics. Yeah, it’s an old cliche that Holocaust films are Award-bait, but so are gangster and war movies. Django Unchained won for best Screenplay, and that was partly about slavery.

      I agree, American Hustle is overrated and not that memorable and Twelve YEars shoudl win, but where is the Jew thing coming from?

      • Because he made that the remark about that Palestinian film–I didn’t mean to offend.

        But either way–to me, this person is saying that because it’s not HIS history, then it isn’t brave or important, really.

      • Tswise says:

        Did you not even read the post? The “Jew thing” comes from the VOTER.

      • LadySlippers says:

        I’m with WendyNerd, his comments screamed ‘twat’ not a fellow Jew.

        @VG: Actually, the answer is yes to your question. WWII movies (war movies) do very well. However real, in-depth Holocaust portrayals aren’t made often because like slavery movies, make people feel uncomfortable. And people shy away from anything they think will make them think or feel bad. Schindler’s List ended up having a hopeful, feel good message which saved it. But most don’t. Which is why they flop or don’t get made. People want to be ‘entertained’ when they see a film and neither slavery nor the Holocaust does that.

      • Kiddo says:

        @LadySlippers, I like entertainment, but I enjoy being moved or being provoked into thought. I’m am sometimes utterly disappointed when a strong film tosses in a happy ending where it seems grossly inappropriate and highly improbable. I feel manipulated and then the rest of film loses its strength, for me.

      • LadySlippers says:

        @Kiddo:
        Honestly, I like both entertaining and thought provoking films but with a decided bent towards thought provoking, moving, and introspective films (but still love a good popcorn/fluff movie). However, most films that take in huge box office money tend to be on the ‘fluffier’ side and aren’t even well made but visually dazzle. That frustrates me just as much as an out of place ending (life doesn’t usually come with a ‘happily ever after’ post script). So I hear ya. I just wish more people went for a mix of fun movies as well as the more serious ones….both have their place.

  33. balehead2012 says:

    OK, my favourite is obviously Christian Bale. I don’t think he will win this year though, so soon after his first Oscar, but I’m just happy he gets the recognition he deserves.

    • Swan Lake says:

      I only saw American Hustle, and I wanted to see Gravity. I refuse to pay the $$$ in the theaters if I don’t care for the subject matter or the actors. I hated Amy Adams’s character in AH and have no desire to see her in anything else.

      • balehead2012 says:

        OK, thanks for sharing that with me, LOL. If you’re expecting me to throw a big fit about this, well, I’m a fan (of Christian), but not that kind of a fan. If that’s your opinion I respect it, as long as you respect mine.

  34. Marianne says:

    I wouldnt say Jennifer Lawrence’s fanbase is older men. More like 20 somethings.

    Though that guy liked American Hustle waaaaaayyyyy to much. The only thing I think it will win will be Supporting Actress and maybe best original screenplay.

    Bale and cooper definitely don’t have a shot in my opinion. And I think Amy would have a shot if Cate wasn’t the frontrunner. Cuaron is also the frontrunner for director….and i just have a feeling that 12 years will take best picture.

  35. Petunia says:

    this guy must have read my mind. I agree with virtually every comment he made on this years Oscar nominations including the Best Picture category. I’m such a Meryl Streep fan but felt she was basically chewing the scenery in Osage.

  36. Cali says:

    For me 12 YAS should win best actor, best supporting actor/actress and best picture but they will not. This type of film never wins that many awards. I was holding on to the thought of only Lupita winning but after reading this article, IDK.

    The film may get SHUT OUT.

  37. Ginger says:

    I love the red carpet and tune in for that but honestly when the awards are on I’m multi tasking the whole time…cooking dinner or doing the laundry or surfing the web. I do hope Blanchett and Bale win again because they are my favorites but I’m not fully invested this year. American Hustle was the only film I got excited about.

  38. Leah says:

    He rules out 12 Years A Slave for not being brave but also rules out Palestine for Omar which is very brave especially with people like him out there so ready to label it anti-Semitic.

  39. lisa2 says:

    The reality is OSCAR gets it wrong so much. We all can name films that won and today as we look back its like WTF were they thinking. American Beauty, The Artist, Slumdog Millionaire and that is recent. Of course this is just my opinion, but I have not seen any mention of these film examples in years. So I would LOVE for 12 Years to win; but it has won on so many levels. The film will hopefully become an educational tool. Not just for history but what people are experiences today.

    To me it is a winner. And whatever other film may be chosen the Oscar voters/system should be changed. Don’t vote is you are not going to watch a film. These interviews really show you how flawed and inadequate the voting is.

  40. Kimberly says:

    American Hustle for:

    Best supporting actress?
    Best supporting actor?
    Best Picture?
    Best Actor?
    And did he say he’d vote for Jonah Hill if Cooper wasn’t in the same category? HA HA. LOL…………..WTF is this guy smoking ???!!!!! He seems to have a bias for this movie in general.

    I also find it VERY disappointing that he refused to vote in the Best Documentary Feature category.

    I really hope the majority of voters don’t have a mindset like this individual and I also this hope he isn’t a reflection of how the majority of academy voters will vote.

  41. hmmm says:

    I don’t think the voter was bitchy. They gave their opinion and reasons.

  42. Musi says:

    Here for lupita or June squib!

  43. Crank says:

    Guys, this is an article, that’s always snarky, from Hollywood reporter. Of course it’s going to be controversial and I highly doubt this represents the voting field fully. So calmmm down lol, and let’s just wait for the oscars. And if many of you supposedly don’t care about the oscars, then why are you still fighting about who should when, etc.? Just ignore the oscars and move on, and let others enjoy it.

  44. Bloup says:

    As for myself, I’m just sad that Adèle Exarchopoulos who f*king nailed her role in Blue is the warmest color (whether you like or hate the movie, her performance was gut-wrenching on every possible level. Gosh that break up scene) isn’t even getting a nom for best actress. Seriously. This is unfair.