More on ‘Departures’ and a potential foreign upset

Posted by · 4:35 pm · February 21st, 2009

DeparturesUPDATE: Well, it seems Tom has pulled the post down.  Perhaps, as commenter Josh notes, he got his info a bit twisted.  I’ll leave this here for now but check Josh’s explanation of the process.  The waters were muddied there for a bit.

EARLIER: Tom O’Neil writes the following over at Gold Derby:

A few days ago Gold Derby reported exclusively that “The Class” got nominated thanks to the new procedure that permits the academy’s internal foreign-film committee to overrule voters and add as many as three titles to the five in the category. (EDITOR’S NOTE: This seems to be the misinterpreted information.) The new rule was instituted to dispel the kind of outcry that followed last year’s omission of previous Cannes winner “4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days” (Romania).

Now Gold Derby can tattle a bit more. An excellent source tells us that the committee used its prerogative fully, bumping three films nominated by normal procedure in order to add their own choices. (EDITOR’S NOTE: This, too.  It seems the added films came during the first shortlisting process.) What were the other two? We don’t know for sure, but it seems logical to assume that they were other art-house darlings beloved by film critics who’d probably raise a ruckus if they were overlooked…

How utterly screwed up this element of the Oscar process is.  It’s already pathetic that a special committee has to be there for oversight in the event that a film is snubbed that might cause some outcry, but hey, if there’s outcry over your choices, don’t bend to the will of the people and/or the critical fraternity.  Have the balls to stand by your own shitty taste.

Anyway, it’s more and more obvious that, as I’ve been saying, the members that tend to vote in this category simply have it out for non-traditional filmmaking, end of story.  This band-aiding of the situation is just folly and, truthfully, there needs to be an entire re-working of the category’s process from the ground up.

→ 9 Comments Tags: , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

9 responses so far

  • 1 2-21-2009 at 4:55 pm

    Loyal Mehnert said...

    Imagine if there was a mysterious Best Picture committee overriding voters and adding more popular films.

    We would have had WALL-E and TDK over The Reader and Frost/Nixon.

  • 2 2-21-2009 at 5:00 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    And as much as I’d have preferred at least one of those titles replace at least one of the other titles, the integrity of the entire process would be in question. Not that it isn’t in plenty question already.

  • 3 2-21-2009 at 5:47 pm

    Joe Reid said...

    Kris, it sounds like O’Neil is saying “The Class” AND “Baader” (along with “Bashir”) were placed into the category.

  • 4 2-21-2009 at 5:51 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Oh, but of course, I read it wrong.

  • 5 2-21-2009 at 7:33 pm

    Josh said...

    I’m afraid Tom doesn’t quite understand the process. The executive committee did not “bump” three films the voters had selected, and they are not necessarily responsible for three of the five nominees. Instead, they were responsible for three of the nine films on the shortlist–and their selection did not involve any of what Tom calls “bumping.”

    In the initial round of voting, the rules are straightforward: all eligible films are screened, voters select six films, and the committee adds three more. Those nine films films are then screened by a second, more select group of voters, who choose the five nominees. The executive committee does not have the power to add or subtract anything from this final list.

    Of the final nominees, apparently “The Class” was one of the films added by committee. But just because the committee added three films to the list of nine doesn’t mean all three of their films made the final slate of five–and it’s silly to assume that three of the final five nominees were committee selections. Sure, maybe they added “Bashir” and “Baader Meinhof.” Or maybe they added “3 Monkeys” and “Everlasting Moments,” which didn’t get nominated, and maybe the voters were responsible for for “Bashir” and “Baader Meinhof.”

    I know it’s too late to make this long story short, but here’s my point: we can deduce, from Tom’s information, that the voters at large may not love “The Class.” But we can’t assume the same thing about any of the other nominees, at least not based on his info about the committee’s selections.

  • 6 2-21-2009 at 7:55 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Yeah, what Josh said. I thought it was made clear early on that the executive committee would add, not replace, three titles to the mix. Has that changed?

    Either way, I highly doubt “Baader Meinhof” was one of the three — it’s hardly a critics’ darling. I suspect “Revanche” and “Three Monkeys” joined “The Class.” None of them are really traditional Academy fare, and Mark Johnson was talking up the former two a lot after the shortlist was announced.

    Seriously, though, this category is ludicrous.

  • 7 2-21-2009 at 8:11 pm

    MichelleK said...

    This method should have been used to include The Wrestler in the SONG category. What a crock of poop that omission was.
    Override those Best Song idiots.

  • 8 2-21-2009 at 10:04 pm

    Josh said...

    Maybe Tom O’Neil has figured out that he got it wrong, because his post just disappeared from The Envelope.

  • 9 2-21-2009 at 11:07 pm

    mikey67 said...

    This is just utter bullshit. They need to make the rules for foreign films equivalent to those for other films. They need to screen in the NY and LA for some period of time during the calendar year. If they want to highlight films from countries with budding film industries, they should find a way to do that some other way.