It’s that time of year, folks! Days before the Academy Awards, I talk to actual Oscar voters to hear how poorly they’ve done their jobs. This year was no exception.
I spoke to a very important member from a very important branch and granted them anonymity so they could really unload on this year’s nominees. Our Mystery Member explains their decision-making process and sheds a little light on how real Oscar voters think.
Remember, this person is just one out of 6,687 members, so it’s entirely possible that others could have equally bad reasons for voting for lesser contenders. Read it with your hands over your eyes as you curse the Academy with every fiber of your being.
20th Century Fox
Well, I’m not voting for La La Land, because no one who actually lives in Los Angeles calls it that. Plus, I hate the color purple (the color, not the movie!), which has blanketed the city these past few months. Hell or High Water is out because Chris Pine and Ben Foster should’ve played cousins, not brothers. They just don’t look anything alike! The same goes for the three actors in Moonlight, which was just confusing. The lead character had too many different names. Arrival is a hard pass because it felt like my English class in college. Bo-ring! I didn’t see the Fences movie but I saw the play and I didn’t like it, so that’s out. I’m legitimately scared of lions, so I didn’t bother to see that movie either. I turned off Manchester by the Sea as soon as I saw Ferris Bueller, because I just can’t take a Ferris Bueller movie seriously. So for me it came down to Hidden Figures and Hacksaw Ridge, and I voted for Hidden Figures because I like titles with multiple meanings, and Kevin Costner has still got it.
Best Director was clearly Denis Villeneuve, considering he had to direct two heptapods. He got brilliant performances out of them. Such a talent!
For me, this was between Andrew Garfield and Viggo Mortensen, and I’m giving it to Garfield because he was so good in Silence. I know this has nothing to do with anything since he’s nominated for Hacksaw Ridge, but I couldn’t resist. I mean, he had to put up with Mel Gibson for Christ’s sake! Literally!
How can you not give this award to Meryl after what she said about Trump? I mean, Emma Stone was good and all, but I remember years ago, before she was famous, she was my waitress at this coffee shop and she only refilled my cup once. When I order coffee, I want it refilled five or six times. So, no Oscar for her. Meryl only has one more Oscar than Hilary Swank. Does that really seem fair to you?
Best Supporting Actor
I’ve gotta give it to Dev Patel, because he really made me believe he could be the grown-up version of that little boy, who was amazing. Maybe Dev can share his statue with that kid somehow. Like, break off an arm, or melt the head down. Something like that…
Best Supporting Actress
Gotta go with Naomie Harris here, because I met her at a party a few years ago and she couldn’t have been nicer. Also, I know crack addiction better than most (don’t ask!) and she nailed it.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Fences was just August Wilson reformatting his play in Final Draft. Lion and Hidden Figures were based on true stories, so it’s like writing a news article in the form of a screenplay. Arrival was smart for an alien movie but again, it felt like I was sitting in English class at times, so I voted for Moonlight. Not because of what it said, but because of everything it left unsaid. Do you know what I mean? No? Okay…
Best Original Screenplay
Manchester by the Sea felt like White People Problems: The Movie. La La Land was more about the music than the script. I felt like I’d seen Hell or High Water before, or maybe that was just Jeff Bridges’ character. He would’ve brought something to 20th Century Women, which needed more dudes. There was nothing more original this year than the first half of The Lobster. I hated the movie and never saw the second half, but that first half was super original, so it got my vote.
Best Animated Feature
I haven’t seen it yet but I went with My Life as a Zucchini, because I love zucchini, it’s one of my favorite foods, and I truly believe you are what you eat. So in essence, it’s like voting for myself!
Best Documentary Feature
I didn’t see Fire at Sea because I got it confused with Deepwater Horizon. The others were all very good, but I went with the O.J. movie because like tantric sex, it sustained its greatness over a period of 7.5 hours, which is no easy feat, let me tell you.
Best Foreign Language Feature
I don’t do subtitles because my eyes aren’t what they used to be, so even though I didn’t see any of these films, I voted for The Salesman. Not because I hate Donald Trump, which I do, but because my father was a salesman, so a vote for the film is a vote for him.
I never vote in this category because I feel like cinematographers always take credit for decisions that were made by the director. Christopher Doyle once told me to never trust a cinematographer. Then he stole my car. But we’re very good friends now! Just call him and ask.
Best Costume Design
I can’t believe Jackie got nominated here. All they did was raid her wardrobe, with the little pink pillbox hat. Where’s the vision? The creativity? La La Land was eliminated for making John Legend wear a turtleneck. Who is he supposed to be, Steve Jobs? I went with Allied because it’s not easy to make Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard look that good. Oh wait, it is? Well, it’s too late to change my vote now!
Best Film Editing
Let’s see. La La Land had multiple endings. Arrival didn’t make any sense. Moonlight’s three distinct parts felt too disconnected, and I could’ve flown to and climbed over Hacksaw Ridge myself during those 2.5 hours, so this one was pretty easy. I always vote for the film with the shortest running time, and that was Hell or High Water this year. It felt lean and mean, like Ben Foster.
Best Makeup & Hairstyling
I didn’t see A Man Called Ove but I saw enough of Suicide Squad and Star Trek Beyond to know that neither one of those blockbusters deserve to win an Oscar of any kind. Besides, I like the idea of a man called Ove winning this award. I just hope he takes the stage to accept it. That’s how it works, right?
Best Original Score
The Moonlight score was so heavy-handed. That’s why I voted for Jackie. What do you mean that doesn’t make any sense? This is the Oscars, it’s not about making sense!
Best Original Song
I voted for that Sting song from that movie I’ve never heard of, let alone seen, because I’m so sick of Lin-Manuel Miranda, Justin Timberlake, and the La La Land guys. I loved that “City of Stars” song when I first heard it, but then it got stuck in my co-worker’s head and they couldn’t stop singing it, and now I hate it. Damn you, Ryan Gosling!
Best Production Design
Right off the bat, I crossed off Hail, Caesar! because I hate when movie titles feature punctuation. I can’t stand J.K. Rowling on Twitter, so Fantastic Beasts and Where to Never See Them was the next one to go. La La Land and Arrival were nominated for enough Oscars, so I went with Passengers. Say what you will about that movie, but the sets looked almost as good as its stars!
Best Sound Editing & Best Sound Mixing
I’ll be honest, I’m married to a sound editor and I have no idea what they do. I abstained in this category, since I didn’t want to vote for one of my spouse’s rivals. As far as mixing goes, it’s time to mix myself a drink! I’m kidding, maybe, but I did vote for 13 Hours, if only because any movie that turns Jim from The Office into a bad-ass soldier deserves some kind of Oscar.
Best Visual Effects
Kubo and the Two Strings was gorgeous but it’s animated, so it’s supposed to be. I hate all this CGI crap and thought the special effects in the original Star Wars were better than the upgraded effects in Rogue One. With The Jungle Book, I didn’t think that King Louie looked enough like Christopher Walken. He needed more cowbell, so that was a real problem for me. The best visual effect in Deepwater Horizon was Kurt Russell’s mustache, which was almost enough to get my vote. But I voted for Doctor Strange because I took my teenage son to see it and we got a little stoned before the movie, so it really blew my mind. I had no idea what the hell I was watching, but the colors sure were cool. What more can you really ask of a Marvel movie?
Best Live-Action, Animated and Documentary Short
I don’t watch any of the shorts, because my time is too valuable to waste it watching movies you can’t make money off, but you still have to vote for these to win your office Oscar pool. So I went with The White Helmets because my brother used to ride a motorcycle, and I just remember holding onto him for dear life and staring at his lucky white helmet. I voted for Pear Cider and Cigarettes because I like both of those things, even though neither one is good for you. And I voted for the live-action short Sing because I really liked Illumination’s animated movie and that wasn’t nominated this year, so it was my way of honoring a movie with the same title.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief