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Nevermind who the Academy Award goes to...who does it come from?
February 19, 2012 8:20 PM   Subscribe

Age, race and gender breakdown of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, although the exact list of members is one of the best guarded secrets in America
posted by Renoroc (99 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
The race and gender bits are unfortunate, but "age" is actually the big one that explains why so many bad movies get nominated and win Oscars. The Ron Howard-style Oscar-baiting has become a science, where all you have to do is include certain "prestige" signifiers and these old guys will eat up, no matter how bad the film is.

This is also why comedies and movies about young people never get the nods, no matter how good they are.

The silliness has culminated this year in the nomination of "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," which I think has a legit shot to win both the Oscar for Best Picture and the Razzie for Worst Picture.
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:25 PM on February 19, 2012 [15 favorites]


old white guys. go figure!
posted by xbonesgt at 8:27 PM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Spoilers:

Race:
94% White 6% Other

I doubt anyone is suprised by this

Gender:
77% Male 23% Female

This, however, I am a little bit suprised by. The core demographic of oscar films is the older female viewer, and yet it's an overwhelmingly male institution. Also, well, look down at age.

Academy awards:
64% None 19% Nomianted 14% None

Not a super suprise I guess.

Age:

54% Over 60 36% 40s and 50s 2% Under 40

They are of course fucking ancient. To be honest I am almost suprised they are not more ancient. I sort of expected to see natural die-off skewing it a bit more feamle. Maybe it started really male?
posted by Artw at 8:29 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Looks like the meat is behind the Inside the Academy link.
posted by Artw at 8:30 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


And apparently 8% are fetuses.
posted by Gyan at 8:31 PM on February 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ah, nice to see this chart specifies the two major races in the world, "White" and "Other."
posted by koeselitz at 8:32 PM on February 19, 2012 [26 favorites]


From Artw's link: "Oscar voters have a median age of 62, the study showed. People younger than 50 constitute just 14% of the membership."

I too am sort of surprised they are not more ancient.

The numbers certainly do explain many things =P
posted by estherbester at 8:33 PM on February 19, 2012


I always assumed that the Academy was comprised of Skeksis, and that the Best Picture award was determined through TRIAL BY STONE.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:37 PM on February 19, 2012 [18 favorites]


Academy awards:
64% None 19% Nomianted 14% None

Not a super suprise I guess.


I, for one, am surprised.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:38 PM on February 19, 2012


I am happy just to be nomianted...
posted by evilmidnightbomberwhatbombsatmidnight at 8:39 PM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


This actually doesn't sound so secretive:

To conduct the study, Times reporters spoke with thousands of academy members and their representatives — and reviewed academy publications, resumes and biographies — to confirm the identities of more than 5,100 voters — more than 89% of the voting members.
posted by mannequito at 8:39 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


There was a website I used to read (I thought it was Tomato Nation but I can't find a link to verify) that started out every Oscar countdown with the assertion that the real committee members were several Karl Malden clones.

And whaddya know, they were pretty close.
posted by emjaybee at 8:40 PM on February 19, 2012


Aha! It was Fametracker. Oh man, I miss Fametracker.
posted by emjaybee at 8:42 PM on February 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's all less surprising when you see this.
Membership in the Academy is by invitation of the Board of Governors and is limited to those who have achieved distinction in the arts and sciences of motion pictures.

A candidate must be sponsored by at least two members of the branch for which the person may qualify. Each proposed member must first receive the endorsement of the branch's executive committee before his/her name is submitted to the Board.

Individuals nominated for an Academy Award® who are not already members will be considered for membership.
So, unless you're nominated for an Oscar®, you're not going to get into this club until you've "achieved distinction". By whose standards of "distinction"? How many of the current members are seriously reaching out to younger or more diverse professionals, and how often are they slapped down by the fuddy-duddies in the executive committees or Board of Governors? And you don't lose your Academy membership when you retire, or even when you end up in the Motion Picture Home... if anything, you're more likely to have time to serve on an executive committee or the Board of Governors.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:50 PM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


The old boys club.
posted by cashman at 8:57 PM on February 19, 2012


From the link to the main story, emphases mine. Yikes.

"The Times found that some of the academy's 15 branches are almost exclusively white and male. Caucasians currently make up 90% or more of every academy branch except actors, whose roster is 88% white. The academy's executive branch is 98% white, as is its writers branch.

"Men compose more than 90% of five branches, including cinematography and visual effects. Of the academy's 43-member board of governors, six are women; public relations executive Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the sole person of color."
posted by gingerest at 9:23 PM on February 19, 2012


Men compose more than 90% of five branches, including cinematography and visual effects.

I'm shocked that 10% are female. Are even 1 in 10 visual effects artists women? I'd be shocked if that's true.
posted by the jam at 9:31 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


So in order to "achieve distinction," one must:

a)reach a certain age
b)become sufficiently Caucasian
c)grow a penis



I think I can handle that.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:33 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Voting for Oscars is also about to get worse due to the academy decision to move to computer voting next year. Andrew Gumbel, author of "Steal This Vote: Dirty Elections and the Rotten History of Democracy in America," writes that the announcement by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that it would be ditching its current all-mail secret ballot system and that its more than 5,000 members would be voting for Oscar winners through their own computers through a system incorporating "multiple layers of security" and "military-grade encryption techniques" is an open invitation for cyber attacks and raises the risk of a fraudulent outcome. "Computer experts on both sides of the Atlantic are unequivocal," writes Gumbel. "There is no known way to have a secret ballot, keeping the voter entirely separate from his or her vote, and also to conduct a meaningful audit ensuring that nothing went awry." The danger is especially acute when voters use their own computers, which tend to be riddled with malicious software that enables hackers half a world away to manipulate them at will says David Dill, a computer science professor at Stanford University. The academy has always bent over backward to keep Oscars voting beyond suspicion but the academy's chief operating officer, Ric Robertson, appears to be unaware of the problems inherent in Internet voting. "An endorsement of Internet voting by Hollywood's ruling body will inevitably be taken as an opportunity to push the technology more aggressively in the political arena. As long as there are questions about the safety of the technology, that expansion poses an ever-greater threat to our democratic integrity."
posted by Hugh Pickens at 9:39 PM on February 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


I've never really lent much credence to the Oscars as a measure of great film, but this just really cements why, and why I find their choices so relentlessly boring and predictable. Stuff old white guys like, how exciting! It's not like they haven't been the arbiters of high culture for fucking ever or anything!

I can't deny still loving the Oscars as a spectacle though.
posted by yasaman at 9:51 PM on February 19, 2012


Voting for Oscars is also about to get worse due to the academy decision to move to computer voting next year.

I think you mean it's about to get hilariously better. I can't wait for the Best Picture showdown between Battleship and fffffffuuuuuuuuuuuu: The Movie.

Though the Best Actor category will have some tension taken out of it when all 5 nominees are Nic Cage.
posted by kmz at 9:57 PM on February 19, 2012 [28 favorites]


So I guess that's why the list of members is so secretive.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:04 PM on February 19, 2012


I'm shocked that 10% are female. Are even 1 in 10 visual effects artists women? I'd be shocked if that's true.


I wouldn't be. Back in the 90s when i was doing my damnedest to work for Pixar or ILM or similar, there were a lot of women when i'd go to SIGGRAPH, and not booth babes either. When i'd go to interviews, there would be closer to half females waiting. It could be different now, but even when i was in art school it was a good even split. There is also the point to be made that the visual effects companies have moved away from looking at those who are technically taught to artistically taught (as one said, "It's easier to teach an artist to use the computer than it is to teach someone to be an artist) Of course, my experiences are just mine, not a proven fact of numbers. Just wanted to share.
posted by usagizero at 10:08 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cf. "Driving Miss Daisy" vs "Do The Right Thing"

If that abomination of an abominable book, "Extremely Whatever and Incredibly Maudlin" wins an Oscar I will go on a multi-state killing spree.

Hi, DHS! Fuck y'all! I'm not gonna kill anyone! I cried when I had to take my mom's cat to the vet to be euthanized and I hated that cat! Tap my phones! I don't give a fuck! I don't even smoke pot any more! Come after me, bitches!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:09 PM on February 19, 2012 [22 favorites]


It's a shame we had to agonize about how the Academy is too white, too male and too old all in the same thread. Mixing all of these flavors of demographic anguish together is a bit like chucking a steak dinner in a blender.

The real tragedy is that we might've made "old white guy" remarks in all three threads, and it would've been lovely, but making three "old white guy" comments in this thread will seem excessive.
posted by planet at 10:23 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


At least Brokeback Mountain beat Crash though right?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:25 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Great, affirmative action comes to awards. Next thing you know, everyone will get a "participant" trophy. Awards like this will always be subjective, don't like it? Give away your own award.
posted by jeblis at 10:28 PM on February 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hahahahahahaha I just went and looked at the best picture nominees for 1999, a fantastic year for film. The year of All About My Mother, Being John Malkovich, Bringing Out the Dead, Eyes Wide Shut, Fight Club, Ghost Dog, The Limey. Magnolia, Ratcatcher, The Straight Story, Three Kings, Titus, The Virgin Suicides, and many others featured the following five best picture nominees:

American Beauty
The Cider House Rules
The Green Mile
The Insider
The Sixth Sense
posted by shakespeherian at 10:32 PM on February 19, 2012 [13 favorites]


This is why the only movie awards show I pay any attention to is the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. Although this year they totally snubbed The Human Centipede 2.
posted by chasing at 10:34 PM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Great, affirmative action comes to awards

I'm not sure what you mean?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:36 PM on February 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


More old white men making decisions. What's new? Moving on...
posted by astapasta24 at 10:37 PM on February 19, 2012


jeblis: You win my award for best impression of a crotchety old conservative redneck sittin' on a rocking chair on his front porch and yelling at the neighborhood kids for being pussies, because in my day we didn't get to ride our bikes around all day causing trouble, we worked in the FACTORY and then went to WAR and we didn't get some ribbon telling us to feel good about our selves. No. We got a thin gruel for dinner and a kick in the ass before bed, like God intended. Hippies.
posted by chasing at 10:38 PM on February 19, 2012 [18 favorites]


Great, affirmative action comes to awards. Next thing you know, everyone will get a "participant" trophy. Awards like this will always be subjective, don't like it? Give away your own award.

Oh, I agree. How else do you explain the proportion of awards, Academy memberships, etc. going to white men, with just-as more qualified candidates being passed over because they didn't fit the demographic?

in case it needed to be pointed out: hamburger
posted by kagredon at 10:40 PM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


* just-as or more
posted by kagredon at 10:41 PM on February 19, 2012


*spoiler*

That film you like isn't going to win.
posted by arcticseal at 10:51 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Great, affirmative action comes to awards. Next thing you know, everyone will get a "participant" trophy. Awards like this will always be subjective, don't like it? Give away your own award.

What?
posted by brundlefly at 10:51 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well how do you propose they decide it? By established, recognized people in the industry or by popularity? You can already see what's most popular by attendance. I for one will be really sad to see transformers franchise take the award for the sixth year running. The votes of masses with their wallets already makes for some pretty bad movies.
posted by jeblis at 10:53 PM on February 19, 2012


jeblis: “Well how do you propose they decide it? By established, recognized people in the industry or by popularity?”

Are you sincerely suggesting that the Academy Awards are a handed out by a small, thoughtful group of intelligent people who aim to pick what are really the year's best films by carefully considering true film greatness in their enclave far from the madding crowd?

To paraphrase a stupid man, if one of my writers walked into my office with that script, I'd say "you're fired."
posted by koeselitz at 11:00 PM on February 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Can't we all get along and sneer together?
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:07 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


To conduct the study, Times reporters spoke with thousands of academy members and their representatives — and reviewed academy publications, resumes and biographies — to confirm the identities of more than 5,100 voters — more than 89% of the voting members.

This is a really, really, really big group of people to be 94% white in an industry with as diverse a division of labor as the film industry. Do you really think that 94% of the 'established, recognized people in the industry,' from cinematographers to actors to costumers to gaffers to producers to editors to art directors and everyone in between is white? Does that sound right to you?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:09 PM on February 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


Are you sincerely suggesting that the Academy Awards are a handed out by a small, thoughtful group of intelligent people who aim to pick what are really the year's best films by carefully considering true film greatness in their enclave far from the madding crowd?

Or maybe the even smaller 93 people that dish out Golden Globe Awards.

It has been several years since I gave a shit about what film has been nominated or won these awards.
posted by birdherder at 11:29 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't read jeblis as suggesting anything about a small, thoughtful group of intelligent people. If anything, he may be pointing out the opposite.

I read jeblis as pointing out that the Academy Awards isn't a democratic process, and it's ridiculous to complain as if it were—it's an industry group, fro crying out loud. A trade association. They're going to put whoever they want on the award committee, just like the cheese industry does. Except instead of "year's best cheese," it's movies. Of course it's old white guys. That really shocks anyone? We're the ones perpetuating the illusion that the award means something objective. It's ENTIRELY subjective. It only means what we let it mean. This is not our government we're talking about, its the damn Oscars.

A pizza place near where I went to college used to have a sign in the window: "Voted Best Pizza in Town." One day we asked the guy behind the counter, "Voted best by whom?" He laughed and said, "The four guys who own the place." The point being, WE were the idiot college kids who had assumed, up until that instant, that some sort of "best pizza" vote actually meant something objective about the pizza. Which in retrospect was an absurd thing for us to think.
posted by azaner at 11:40 PM on February 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


The movie industry isn't a pizza place. And as much as my depth of cynicism would love to just give in and act like I don't give any kind of crap about it, shakespeherian is right. This is a massive industry filled with what is in fact an extremely diverse group of people, and the representatives of what is supposed to be the "brightest and best" among that industry are suspiciously old, white, and male. That's not just a fact of life in society as it is; it's an injustice. It's an injustice for every woman or person in a minority who is a writer, an effects artist, a set designer, etc - not to mention an actor or a director. This isn't something we can just shrug off.

Also, I thing the bit people were reacting to in jeblis' little screed here is the part where she or he sneered about affirmative action. This kind of has nothing to do with affirmative action - nobody was suggesting or even implying that affirmative action would be the solution here - and I have to admit that I get a little cagey when people act as though affirmative action is simply a stupid thing.
posted by koeselitz at 11:50 PM on February 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


The essential weirdness of the Academy, to me, is epitomized by the fact that an actor as fucking great as Gary Oldman is a member, but it took until this year for him to get his first Oscar nomination.
posted by scody at 12:05 AM on February 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is why the only way they could make a Disney movie about a black princess was to make her a green frog for 97% of her on-screen time.

Wait, her boyfriend is black as well? But he's rich, right? Oh, poor. OK, frog his ass too. The bad black guy? Yeah, he can stay like that. The bad white guy? Can we make him a black guy? We can? With magic? That's fucking great!
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:24 AM on February 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


Mostly older ... mostly working. Well, pretty much explains the lack of women.
posted by dhartung at 12:49 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


If everyone dresses up REAL fancy, for the next Metafilter meetup, and we take lots of glamorous photos, we too can be seen as important and highly relevant.
posted by Goofyy at 1:25 AM on February 20, 2012


We'll need a blue carpet.
posted by mannequito at 1:30 AM on February 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ah, nice to see this chart specifies the two major races in the world, "White" and "Other."


I can't believe they didn't so much as mention blah people.
posted by threeants at 1:54 AM on February 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


It has been several years since I gave a shit about what film has been nominated or won these awards.
posted by birdherder at 11:29 PM on February 19 [+] [!]



Quite right. Dross, the lot of it.

Except one sparkling little gem, this year, a bizzare anachronistic timewarp of a movie, glorious and unique and a throwback to when movies were about more than just making a few lousy bucks and talent and hard work really meant something and with a leading man who before the movie no-one had heard of and with a director that, well, I still dont know what he really stands for, and just the general skill and wonder of the thing that makes me remember what cinema can be at its best, so unlike any movie I've seen for years.
Plus, dancing!

Thats right. Footloose (2011)
posted by Plutocratte at 2:02 AM on February 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


The essential weirdness of the Academy, to me, is epitomized by the fact that an actor as fucking great as Gary Oldman is a member, but it took until this year for him to get his first Oscar nomination.

Wow, I seriously had no idea that the same person played Sirius Black, George Smiley and Dracula!
posted by the cydonian at 3:22 AM on February 20, 2012


Give away your own award.

So you are acknowledging that the Academy Award is an white old man award?
posted by DU at 4:04 AM on February 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is a massive industry filled with what is in fact an extremely diverse group of people, and the representatives of what is supposed to be the "brightest and best" among that industry are suspiciously old, white, and male.

Do you really think the industry is that diverse, koeselitz? Perhaps this is the make up of the industry. After all, show biz is about the only place where job postings include age, race, and gender in the job descriptions.
posted by CrazyJoel at 4:21 AM on February 20, 2012


Give away your own award.

*paints gold leaf on statue reading Worst Mefi Comment 2012, trembles with anticipation as music swells*
posted by Greg Nog at 4:31 AM on February 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


those who cant teach, teach gym
posted by nathancaswell at 4:45 AM on February 20, 2012


Worst Mefi Comment 2012

VOTE #1 QUIDNUNC KID FOR WORST EDUTING!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 4:48 AM on February 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Me, me, me, pick me!
posted by arcticseal at 4:49 AM on February 20, 2012


The essential weirdness of the Academy, to me, is epitomized by the fact that an actor as fucking great as Gary Oldman is a member, but it took until this year for him to get his first Oscar nomination.

Agreed, but holy moly he is so incredible in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (the whole movie is easily one of the best films I have seen in years, it's beyond amazing) that it at least says something for once about the Academy that even they couldn't ignore it. He has certainly deserved an Oscar nod many times before now, but this performance is beyond masterful, very low-key, no LOOK I'M ACTING!!! whatsoever, just carefully modulated brilliance (and it says so much about Oldman's skill that his range is so enormous, since he can certainly chew the scenery with the best of them). We need more films and performances like this.
posted by biscotti at 5:08 AM on February 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


The essential weirdness of the Academy, to me, is epitomized by the fact that an actor as fucking great as Gary Oldman is a member, but it took until this year for him to get his first Oscar nomination.

Alan Rickman hasn't got any either. And okay, Hans Gruber was too early in his career and no one really knew that he would become the blueprint for villainy for the rest of Hollywood's lifespan, but Severus Fucking Snape didn't get any noms. Not one.

Steve Martin, zero noms too. The guy has won Emmys for hosting the Academy Awards, and they can't throw him a token screenplay nomination?

I don't hate that the Academy is all old white men. I hate that it's all old white men who hate magic and comedy and lasers and are faintly afraid of bullets.
posted by Etrigan at 5:27 AM on February 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty afraid of bullets.
posted by HeroZero at 5:45 AM on February 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


The bigger surprise: Another post on MF where just about every snarky comment is one ad hominem attack piled on top of another. But of course it was probably some dead white guy who declared the ad hominem attack to be a logical fallacy so it is obviously wrong anyway. I think I will go back to that post about Chris Christie and gay marriage where I can learn his position is obviously wrong because he is an old white fat man.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 5:47 AM on February 20, 2012


Oscar is a naked mexican felon/revolutionary in exile. How's that for ad homina homina homina!
posted by srboisvert at 5:58 AM on February 20, 2012


Now can someone cross reference the prevalence of white men in the academy and movies (is as in the http://bechdeltest.com/).

I'm assuming this is relatively proportionate to the highest earners in cinema at the minute.
posted by notseamus at 6:07 AM on February 20, 2012


Dolores Hart, a gorgeous starlet who had given a blushing Elvis his first screen kiss... is a mother prioress and spiritual guide to 38 other nuns (and she is the only nun who is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). Where the Boys Aren't
posted by R. Mutt at 6:28 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


So you are acknowledging that the Academy Award is an white old man award?

Was this in dispute?
posted by jeblis at 6:34 AM on February 20, 2012


Older people tend to be in charge and established and in the case where their only job is to vote once a year, they don't retire. So it makes sense it's heavily loaded with older people. It's also likely that it will represent the demographics of an earlier time and like it or not the people who run the business and get credit for the movies has been traditionally white males. So if you don't like the demographics of the academy, look to the demographics of who runs the industry.
posted by jeblis at 6:42 AM on February 20, 2012


This kind of has nothing to do with affirmative action

Isn't the point of this article to shame the academy into "making diversity a goal?" It's one thing to argue about this when it represents a job, club, healthcare access, but this is just an award and the right to vote for that award. True it doesn't represent the demographics of the industry as a whole, but it does likely represent the demograhics of who is in charge and who gets credit for the work.
posted by jeblis at 6:49 AM on February 20, 2012


>>How many Academy members are Jewish?

>Oh ... Now that's just uncalled-for.


Why? Isn't the point of TFA that the Academy lacks diversity?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:30 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that if Hollywood really were that much of a sinister cabal of Jewishness we'd get better stories out of them.

Now, when the Scientologists edge them out we really are fucked.
posted by Artw at 8:05 AM on February 20, 2012


I think I will go back to that post about Chris Christie and gay marriage where I can learn his position is obviously wrong because he is an old white fat man.

I'm pretty sure his position is wrong because he's wrong.
posted by kmz at 8:10 AM on February 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is not our government we're talking about, its the damn Oscars.

Um...
posted by tspae at 8:17 AM on February 20, 2012


I have a friend in the Academy. From what he says membership is not that big a deal.. If you're in the professional movie business for awhile you just get an invitation and then you're in for life. He does production work, behind the scenes, the kind of thing that used to seldom get a screen credit and now is in the giant list of names at the end that scrolls by too fast to read.

The awesome thing about being in the Academy is access to the movie screenings. He took me to one in LA. To this magical theater where the seats were clean, there were no bullshit ads and copyright warnings at the start of the film, the projection and sound were accurate. And everyone was there to watch the movie. Quiet, respectful, paying attention. I'd pay good money to be able to see movies that way.
posted by Nelson at 8:27 AM on February 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Voting for Oscars is also about to get worse due to the academy decision to move to computer voting next year.

... I just had visions of it being hacked by anonymous.
posted by Francis at 8:29 AM on February 20, 2012


Isn't the point of this article to shame the academy into "making diversity a goal?"

No. When the makeup of a substantive particular population is so far off the makeup of the general population (seriously, 94% white?), it indicates not that diversity isn't a goal, but that minorities are being excluded. Women are being excluded. Whether it's intentional or not, the folks who send out invitations to join the Academy are almost entirely sending them to white people.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:44 AM on February 20, 2012


the academy decision to move to computer voting next year

Uwe Boll's odds of achieving Best Picture just went way, way up.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:48 AM on February 20, 2012


Uwe Boll's odds of achieving Best Picture just went way, way up.

That depends on how many members are using adaptive screenreaders.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 8:54 AM on February 20, 2012


The awesome thing about being in the Academy is access to the movie screenings. He took me to one in LA. To this magical theater where the seats were clean, there were no bullshit ads and copyright warnings at the start of the film, the projection and sound were accurate. And everyone was there to watch the movie. Quiet, respectful, paying attention. I'd pay good money to be able to see movies that way.

I think most of us would. Why hasn't someone stumbled across this as the best way to fight movie piracy?
posted by peppermind at 9:03 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd pay good money to be able to see movies that way.

I think most of us would. Why hasn't someone stumbled across this as the best way to fight movie piracy?

London has at least a couple of small cinemas that actually manage this. The poshest one I've been to is the Electric Cinema: everyone gets a comfy armchair with a footstool, and instead of normal cinema snacks they have olives, bread & hummous, etc, washed down with wine and decent beers. It's a few years since I've been, but the Picturehouse in Greenwich was pretty good too.

It's expensive (and, it must be said, a bit pretentious), but it's worth a try if you want a cinema's big screen and good sound with clean, comfy seats and without people slurping, chatting and fiddling with mobile phones through the entire damn film.
posted by metaBugs at 9:43 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


he is so incredible in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (the whole movie is easily one of the best films I have seen in years, it's beyond amazing) that it at least says something for once about the Academy that even they couldn't ignore it.

Totally agreed. I don't tend to get emotionally involved in the Oscars, but if he doesn't win it, the sustained shriek of disappointment you'll hear from the general direction of the west coast will be me.

I'd pay good money to be able to see movies that way.

That's largely how they're shown at Arclight Theaters in L.A.: reserved (super-comfy!) seats, stadium seating, no advertising, only 5 minutes of previews, excellent picture and sound quality, and strongly enforced no talking/no texting/no late seating rules (plus certain over-21 showings let you take a cocktail in with you from the bar). Tickets are $16 on the weekends and worth every penny (movies are nearly that expensive everywhere in L.A., anyway, so it's not much of a difference here, but I think the average price for the rest of the country is still under $10). I've been surprised for a few years that this model hasn't actually made it to other major cities by now.
posted by scody at 11:25 AM on February 20, 2012


old white men run hollywood, what a surprise
posted by mpylayev at 1:36 PM on February 20, 2012


I was a little surprised at the kerfuffle over the fact that there'll be computer voting for the Academy Awards when BAFTA's been doing it for at least three or four years. Yes, I know BAFTA is nowhere near as important as the Academy, but people in the UK take it pretty seriously, at least.

I expect that it isn't quite as safe as voting by mail, but I suppose the argument in favour is that it'll get more people voting overall, especially since - at least for me - I have to vote in four different sets of awards, and all of them have multiple rounds.

It's not as if it's a that bad but I can imagine a lot of people getting fed up of all the different envelopes; so you have to ask yourself whether it's more important that it's a lot safer, or that it's a lot more representative.
posted by adrianhon at 2:18 PM on February 20, 2012


When the makeup of a substantive particular population is so far off the makeup of the general population (seriously, 94% white?), it indicates not that diversity isn't a goal, but that minorities are being excluded. Women are being excluded. Whether it's intentional or not, the folks who send out invitations to join the Academy are almost entirely sending them to white people.

Really I don't see a problem with this. This club doesn't isn't goverment. It doesn't control any limited resources. No one is being hurt by this boys club (unless you consider exclusion and not winning one of their awards injurous). One could litterly set up a competing organisation essentially over night and after giving out awards for a couple decades could easily be on equal footing. Heck if what everyone is saying about the academy winners not being representive then a competing award should be more popular.
posted by Mitheral at 2:46 PM on February 20, 2012


Hey guys what happened to this dressing really fancy idea?
posted by The Whelk at 3:22 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


This club doesn't isn't goverment. It doesn't control any limited resources. No one is being hurt by this boys club

This club is responsible for the most prestigious and well-known award for the entertainment industry, where the entertainment industry is one of the most significant elements of culture dissemination in the US. Who (and what) wins awards is part of what determines who is allowed to make what movies. Who is treated as worthy of prestige determines who will be respected, who will be allowed to try out new things in the future, and what sort of persons we take to be representative of the industry. (Note, for instance, why it was a big deal when Kathryn Bigelow won best director.) Thus, what movies I get to see in a theater, and what cultural artifacts are given widespread attention, will be determined in part by this award.

Lives won't be lost, no. But that doesn't mean this isn't significant. The Academy presents itself as Arbiters of Taste and Value, and countless Americans treat it as such. If the Academy is made up largely by old white dudes, then our culture will be skewed towards the interests of old white dudes. I see that as problematic.

Of course, our discussion is treating this like it's an isolated issue, but it's not. The make-up of the Academy should be understood along with the fact that studios won't make an action movie starring mostly black actors, and the fact that women are rarely given the go ahead to direct, and the fact that studios won't make movies starring women unless they're romantic comedies, and the fact that minority groups are so widely represented as broad stereotypes, and the fact that.... Well, in general, the movie industry is a weird combination of cultural elitism and money-mindedness, and this leads to egregious sexism, racism, classism, and so on, that is then allowed to flow into every movie theater.
posted by meese at 3:47 PM on February 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Man what would the musical numbers for the Metafilter. Academy Awards be? All singing, all dancing, all dick punching?
posted by The Whelk at 4:01 PM on February 20, 2012


Meese covered it, but just to clarify an important point (not speaking on meese's behalf):

Arguing that this is no big deal because films are not a government or otherwise critical function? If that wasn't true for segregated lunch counters in the sixties, it's certainly not true for one of the most widely-acknowledged metrics of modern culture.

One could litterly set up a competing organisation essentially over night and after giving out awards for a couple decades could easily be on equal footing.

I don't know what this word "easily" is that you're using, but it seems to have nothing in common with the word I know.

The idea that you could "easily" create an artistic touchstone as ubiquitous as the Academy Awards is just beyond preposterous. The Golden Globes were first given out in 1944 (only fifteen years after the first Academy Awards) and yet they're still a punchline when you try to compare their significance to the Oscar.

The Academy's votes have both the short-term effect of determining what movies get made, and the long-term effect of establishing a cultural "baseline" in history. Calling Driving Miss Daisy the best film, and not even nominating Do the Right Thing sets a very clear precedent, and thus gives cover to nominations like The Help and The Blind Side. Both of which are fine, enjoyable films – but both pretty clearly having the same "white redemption" undertones as Driving Miss Daisy. You know, undertones that would probably resonate strongly with white people who were alive before the civil rights era.

None of this is in a bubble. To an extent, movies inform people's assumptions about race, gender, and other moral values. And to an extent, movies are made that then reflect those same assumptions. It's important to stand against the hidden and unspoken biases in this system, and an Academy electorate that doesn't represent our society is about as clear an example as you can get.
posted by Riki tiki at 5:25 PM on February 20, 2012


Oscars 2012: why does the Academy snub fanboy-friendly films?

(Does not mention Skeletor, Vecna and Mum-Ra the Ever-living practically being junior members)
posted by Artw at 5:29 PM on February 20, 2012


I mean the Oscars have always been bad and snubbing anything actually good but it seems like they went OUT OF THEIR WAY to only nominate the worst, laziest, tripe.
posted by The Whelk at 5:30 PM on February 20, 2012


I like how Hugo is basically 75% above average kids film, 25% blatant hand-job for elederly movie industry types. We make dreams!
posted by Artw at 5:31 PM on February 20, 2012


I really, really, really, hated Hugo.
posted by The Whelk at 5:34 PM on February 20, 2012


I did noit dislike it, but, at the same time, come on, if you haven't pegged the trajectory of every character by the first twenty minutes you've either got a brain tumour or have never seen a movie before.
posted by Artw at 5:36 PM on February 20, 2012


it was more the creepy feeling that this isn't about kids at all, and it's not for kids, it has nothing to do with children, it's about making old people feel better.
posted by The Whelk at 5:39 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


there was just something creepy and smothering about Hugo that I can't put into words, it made me super uncomfortable.
posted by The Whelk at 5:43 PM on February 20, 2012


Hugo, for me, suffered from a terrible case of telling, not showing. No one really did much of anything -- instead, we got flashbacks and long "Well, I'll tell you!" narrations.

Also, I would have sworn, from the previews, that it was animated. But the movie was live action. Could've sworn.
posted by meese at 5:44 PM on February 20, 2012


it was more the creepy feeling that this isn't about kids at all, and it's not for kids, it has nothing to do with children, it's about making old people feel better.

Hey, yeah, there's that too.

Also, SPOILERS, Georges Méliès did not stop making movies because he was sad about WWI soldiers returning too jaded, he stopped making them because Pathé sued the shit out of him.
posted by Artw at 5:48 PM on February 20, 2012


Riki tiki writes "The idea that you could 'easily' create an artistic touchstone as ubiquitous as the Academy Awards is just beyond preposterous. The Golden Globes were first given out in 1944 (only fifteen years after the first Academy Awards) and yet they're still a punchline when you try to compare their significance to the Oscar."

But why pay attention to what a bunch of old white guys say? If you value diversity you shouldn't and pretty well everyone here agrees the OWGC often if not usually makes the wrong decision because they don't represent a broad spectrum of the publicor even of the movie making professionals.

Riki tiki writes "Arguing that this is no big deal because films are not a government or otherwise critical function? If that wasn't true for segregated lunch counters in the sixties, it's certainly not true for one of the most widely-acknowledged metrics of modern culture."

Personally I think lunch counters are a much more important issue then a vote of supposed excellence in film making. Lunch counters exclusively occupy physical space and segregation of them is discriminatory in a public service.
posted by Mitheral at 5:54 PM on February 20, 2012


Being older, being white, being male does not automatically mean you can't recognize the talent of Others. That the Academy can't see beyond its race/gender/age indicates a lack of will. When you read the quotes from the Academy people, I accept just one--the comment to the effect that the Academy simply reflects the state of the movie industry. The rest take a rather hard-assed attitude that seems to accept that thinking about diversifying the membership means accepting lower quality. It doesn't mean any such thing, of course. But where are my favorite liberal actors? Actors of color? Are they reaching out to others to effect change? I'd love to read more about this.
posted by etaoin at 5:58 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


So apparently the Academy also includes a prioress of a Benedictine abbey. Who knew?
posted by scody at 12:51 PM on February 22, 2012


The best picture slump: Is Hollywood stuck in an Oscar bubble?
posted by Artw at 3:45 PM on February 22, 2012


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