Despite what Variety‘s Kris Tapley posted at the end of a 2.20 piece titled “Oscar Best Picture Winner Poised to Rout History,” Oscar balloting begins today (2.20) and finishes seven days hence (2.27). Tapley wrote that “final ballots go out Feb. 27.” In what descriptive or metaphysical realm are final Oscar ballots going “out” seven days from now? They need to be completed by that day and heading back “in“, no?
Hollywood Elsewhere feels obliged to remind Academy voters that giving your Best Picture vote to a film that doesn’t have the horses to even begin to qualify as the “best” film of the year by any seasoned criteria, despite the emotional chords it managed to strike in your chest cavity, is a perfectly natural thing, and you shouldn’t feel squeamish or hesitant about that.
Especially if you’re among the younger wave of Academy members, numbering 1457, who were invited to join in 2016 (683) and ’17 (774). You have earned your bones, newbies, and have a full and absolute right to get it wrong as much as those Academy members who gave the Best Picture Oscar to all those right-for-the-zeitgeist button pushers (Driving Miss Daisy, Chicago, The Greatest Show on Earth, Chariots of Fire, Crash, Forrest Gump, Around The World in Eighty Days) of the past. There’s no shame in this. Academy members have been embarassing themselves for decades. From time to time, I mean.
I guess I was wrong in stating yesterday that The Shape of Water is locked to win Best Picture. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe the “kooky” (Tom O’Neil‘s term) preferential ballot will allow a popular second-place contender to sneak in and take the prize. The beloved Guillermo del Toro is definitely assured of a Best Director win, and no one will steal pre-engraved Oscars from the four acting lockdowns (Oldman, McDormand, Rockwell, Janney), and the winner of the Best Original Screenplay will be…I’m undecided. Probably Get Out but Sunday’s Best Picture BAFTA win might have given Three Billboards some last-minute momentum. But all hail Call Me By Your Name‘s James Ivory, at least, for his guaranteed Best Adapted Screenplay win.
There are reportedly 6687 Academy members now, and the new crowd (1457) represents…what, 17% or 18% of the total?