I should start this by saying that I hate Oscar prognostications. It’s a ridiculous exercise that only feeds the massive publicity machine that the studios and mini-majors do their best to manipulate. When I come across yet another column that offers up daily updates on the “race,” I tend to cross my eyes and turn the (sometimes virtual) page.
The one and only time that I start paying attention is when I’m preparing to participate in various Oscar pools, which by the way, I almost never win. I know who I voted for, of course. But I also know that my votes are likely to be way outside the mainstream, and therefore offer no clues as to what the majority of Academy members will do. I find myself guessing differently with each pool that I enter.
That said, I’m probably the worst person to turn to for advice about filling in your Oscar pool choices. But I’m going to do so nonetheless.
As you approach the pool this year, keep in mind that there are significant changes in the rules this year that could have a big impact on the final results. First of all, this is the first year in which on-line voting was enabled. The impact of this, I believe, is that there will be more participation by Academy members who may in the past have not gotten their ballots in on time. Academy members (especially the younger ones) are busy people. They are in far fling places around the globe, working long hours on their latest project. Being able to merely go on line at the last minute, rather than trying to figure out how to courier a paper ballot to Beverly Hills might draw in more of those voters.
Additionally, my experience this year was that the extra days afforded by that last minute option enabled me to see every single nominated film…a feat that I had never before achieved before the deadline. Could that have an impact? Perhaps.
Finally, I want to point out that for the first time this year, the entire membership of the Academy was sent DVDs of the animated shorts, the live action shorts and the documentary features. Since these categories were formerly voted upon by small committees, the makeup of the voters will most definitely be different than in the past. I would guess they would be younger and less susceptible to the temptation to vote for the most sentimental do-gooder films that have typically won in these categories.
If anything, I think these changes make handicapping the Oscars that much more difficult this year. So good luck with your pools. I’m pretty secure that I won’t be winning any.
(written from AA#1, JFK>LAX, don’t we love wifi)