A couple of weeks ago Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson and Eric Kohn revealed something interesting about voting for contenders in this or that category on year-end ballots. They both spoke of “gaming” the system in order to favor artists of color. They discussed this during a “Screen Talk” podcast (#176) that posted on 12.8.17.
Thompson (starting around the 8:28 mark): “This is a horrible way to put this, but I know when I was filling out my Critics Choice ballot, there were a couple of categories where I did lean into a couple of movies including Get Out and Mudbound and Shape of Water…where I wanted to make sure there were some people of color on my ballot…I did! And you probably did too.”
Kohn: “Of course. I will cop to that, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I think this would be a problematic tendency if the quality wasn’t there. But [it is], and so this is a year in which you can lean into those options without feeling guilty.”
Thompson: “What I noticed I did…what I did was that I made them higher. On my ballot. In each case. I moved them up to make sure that it was recognized. As opposed to putting them as #4 or #5 or something like that. Academy members are going to do the same thing.”
I’m mentioning this because of a comment posted yesterday by Australian HE reader Jeffrey Edwards, to wit:
“As a result of the #Oscarssowhite hysteria, regressive leftists are seemingly expecting Oscar voters to consider a potential nominee’s skin color as a primary factor when deciding who to vote for,” he wrote.
Edwards then imagined their thought processes being something akin to “Well, I would like to vote for Michael Stuhlbarg for Best Supporting Actor because I think his performance truly merits a nomination. However, all the actors I nominate for that category will be white so instead to avoid outrage I’d better vote for Jason Mitchell in Mudbound because even though I thought he was just solid and would prefer to vote for Stuhlbarg, I’d rather avoid incurring the wrath of hysterical people on [Twitter].
“When Oscar voters choose their nominees, they should be voting purely based upon the merit of the performance and not giving any consideration to being tokenistic by thinking they need to vote for someone because of their skin color. I think it would be a very patronizing attitude to vote for someone to be nominated because they are from a minority group when the person voting didn’t think their performance merited the nomination. There should be no consideration of an actor’s skin color when determining whether the performance they gave merits a nomination.”