Over 600 ballots were turned in on the final day of voting

Posted by · 7:37 pm · March 4th, 2010

Nicolas ChartierEarlier in the week, Steve Pond published a story at The Odds that was unfortunately misread by a number of outlets, and an inaccurate stat subsequently spread like wildfire (such as in this Hot Blog post from David Poland).

“Years ago, one P.R. firm working Oscar campaigns stationed an observer in that lobby to find out just how many voters cast last-minute ballots,” Pond wrote.  “According to what the head of that firm told me, about 500 ballots (almost 10 percent of the vote) were hand-delivered, messengered or FedExed in over the course of the day.”

Obviously he was talking about a different season.  But it’s all moot, because as it turns out, the tally of this year’s final day of balloting might be much, much (MUCH) larger, if Pete Hammond’s recent Notes on a Season post is to be believed.

Writes Hammond:

At Tuesday’s Envelope Hollywood Museum party celebrating this year’s Oscar-nominated costumes, I spoke to an academy member who had just hand-delivered his ballot to PriceWaterhouseCoopers before polls officially closed at 5 p.m. that day. Just like a regular presidential election he showed me the voting sticker he wore as he was escorted into the hallowed halls of the Wizards of Oscar accounting. He said a Price Waterhouse assistant told him this was the biggest final day haul of ballots in their history. I have since checked with one plugged-in source who says the estimate is in the low 600s which, if correct, would be a hugely significant amount of last-minute Oscar voters.

That’s…a lot.  That’s significant.  That’s frankly enough to give me some pause.  You’re talking 10% of the overall vote.  And that’s assuming all of the roughly 6,000 members of the Academy cast their ballot, which, they don’t.

Where I originally felt that EmailGate would have had little impact on the race, I frankly find myself wondering now.  I’m gonna need to chew on this for awhile…

→ 28 Comments Tags: | Filed in: Daily

28 responses so far

  • 1 3-04-2010 at 7:48 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Wow. Is it because of the 10 nominees?

  • 2 3-04-2010 at 7:49 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    That’s what Pete posits, and that would be my guess, too. It took longer to turn in ballots for nominations as well.

  • 3 3-04-2010 at 7:57 pm

    Shannon said...

    I really, really hope it doesn’t make a difference in the outcome. I hope that all those people turning them in at the last minute didn’t pay that much attention or weren’t swayed by all the smears.

  • 4 3-04-2010 at 8:04 pm

    James D. said...

    How hard is it to rate ten films? I could have told you my ballot five minutes after the nominations came out.

  • 5 3-04-2010 at 8:04 pm

    Andy W. said...

    I think the nominations ballots and the awards ballots were turned in late because the voters:
    1. had trouble picking 10 nominees
    2. had trouble understanding the ranking of Best Picture nominees (which possibly delayed each voter a few days?)

    I also hope it does not make a difference in the outcome. But it’s MORE THAN 10%, and that’s huge. And the preferential system seems to be quite fickle. But if Academy voters are true to their opinions, they really should understand that a smear campaign should not affect their voting.

  • 6 3-04-2010 at 8:07 pm

    Hans said...

    It definitely gives one pause, especially in the tight races like Cinematography. I’m thinking that one’s going to Avatar now. Sound might just sway on over to Avatar as well. Editing, not so much, Hurt Locker probably had a substantial lead before the final day. Original Screenplay? Mmmm, that’s tough to call, but I think Hurt Locker is still safe there. It’s obviously fine in Director, and the preferential ballot is still gonna let it win Picture methinks.

  • 7 3-04-2010 at 8:20 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    James: Sometimes it’s a matter of catching up with all the films.

  • 8 3-04-2010 at 8:22 pm

    Jim said...

    Yeah, hopefully this means a lot of people actually watched the films and we’ll have a interesting year.

  • 9 3-04-2010 at 9:01 pm

    Wha said...

    We can probably safely assume that 25% of the ballots were turned in after “emailgate” had come out.

    To put it into realistic numbers, if we assume that THL was ahead 60 to 40 over Avatar before emailgate (with 75% of the ballots in)…

    Avatar would have to win the remaining 25% of the ballots 80% to 20%. Not exactly possible.

    Even if we assume a super close vote like 54 to 46, Avatar would still have to win the remainder 25% of the vote by a large margin of 62% to 38%. Does this seem plausible?

    So, really, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

  • 10 3-04-2010 at 9:01 pm

    Rob said...

    I’m starting to really ponder the idea of Best Picture going to neither ‘Avatar’ nor ‘The Hurt Locker.’

    What would it be? ‘Basterds’? ‘Up’?

  • 11 3-04-2010 at 9:12 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    good, lets see how it all plays out, i dont know who to root for anymore!!

  • 12 3-04-2010 at 9:38 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Rob: Up in the Air. But Up has been getting a lot of #2 votes.

  • 13 3-04-2010 at 9:47 pm

    Rick said...

    I think you’re reading too much into this controversy. I seriously doubt it had any effect on the voting. Those who wanted THL to win voted as such, they will not be swayed. Of course the issue now becomes the #2, #3 votes. To me who wins does not matter…I think 9 out of the 10 nominees deserve to be nominated and I don’t mind if any of them wins. But, the mere fact that we are contemplating that the controversy will have an effect on the outcome is truly sad. The Academy Award should be about presenting the best of the business not which film or person is the most popular of the class.

  • 14 3-04-2010 at 9:51 pm

    Ryan said...

    “i dont know who to root for anymore!!”

    It helps a lot when your horse (District 9) is not even in the race, so-to-speak. I mean it’s there, hanging out just enjoying being invited in the first place. Hell it’s probably having a better time than those films likely to win.

  • 15 3-04-2010 at 10:14 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Rick: No one’s arguing your last point, but reality is reality.

  • 16 3-04-2010 at 11:00 pm

    Alex in Movieland said...

    Oh, so as a conclusion: this sucks for The Hurt Locker?!…

    We might overthink it at times.

    I hope this 10 nominees bullshit will be over in a couple of years.

  • 17 3-04-2010 at 11:47 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    kris, where are you hearing up is getting a lot of number 2 votes? i think it would be a great upset personally

  • 18 3-04-2010 at 11:48 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Voters, second hand, etc.

  • 19 3-05-2010 at 12:15 am

    atatataat said...

    Best Actress Analysis

    Sidibe (African American Voters, at lest half or a little bit less than the votes of monique, sympathy votes)
    Mulligan (The Unanimous British Votes)
    Mirren (the votes by the “ok she’s out of the race but i’m gonna vote her” critics, sympathy votes)
    And the rest of the votes will split between BULLOCK AND sTREEP.

    Will Win: Sidibe or Streep
    The Best Performance: Sidibe, Mulligan, Streep
    No chance of winning – Mirren

    Based on my analysis and “instinct”, this is a two way race between

    Streep and Sidibe

  • 20 3-05-2010 at 3:21 am

    Michael W. said...

    I would absolutely love it if Up in the Air could somehow pull of a surprise win. But I really don’t know what to make of all of this. I think it’s very doubtful if emailgate really means something.

    Will people who would vote for The Hurt Locker as no. 1 and Avatar as, let’s no. 4, really change that vote? And would people who would vote for Up in the Air as no. 1, The Hurt Locker as no. 3 and Avtar as no. 5, really change that to Avatar as no. 1 or 2 and The Hurt Locker as no. 10? I find that very hard to believe.

    But I still fear that Avatar will win. And if it does, conspiracy theories will follow for a long, long time.

  • 21 3-05-2010 at 4:51 am

    aspect ratio said...

    I don’t see why 600 ballots would be such a big deal if in other years it has been as much as 500 on the last day (and that was only when they had to pick one). Considering the stories you hear about how little some Academy members care about voting for the Oscars, it’s not hard to imagine it was a last-minute, pulling-teeth thing for them this year. Not to mention how terribly difficult and confusing it must be to rank 10 films in order of preference.

  • 22 3-05-2010 at 6:06 am

    Joe said...

    So, just out of curiosity… if a 6-10 nominee wins, will this make the 10 a good idea, or a bad one? (It’s a general question, so don’t go saying, “Well, if Blind Side wins, this is a disaster!!!”)

  • 23 3-05-2010 at 6:08 am

    Megan said...

    Wooooooo. That is a lot. Good gravy.


    How big of a percentage of this number do you actually thought went, “oh man, that asshole trying to sway votes….Hurt Locker sucks, now.”

    Are we really giving THAT little credit to the Academy?

    I don’t see ranking the ten difficult. However, I would imagine it would be hard to view all ten, or at minimum make an effort to see as many as possible. That’s what I would do.

    But really, people. This isn’t neurosurgery.

  • 24 3-05-2010 at 6:29 am

    Bill M. said...

    I think the reason for a lot of late votes is the 10 Best Pictures. I think by the Academy expanding to 10 it compels a large majority of voters to at the very least see all 10 nominations. This year with the 10 Best Pictures which account for about 55-60 of the nominations in total lets the voting body see a big percentage of the nominee field if of course the great majority of voters set out to at least see all 10 B.P’s.

    @Kris any realistic chance a film like Up which I agree probably scores very well on 2’s & 3’s. But this all hinge on whether the majority of voters think like this “Avatar is my #1, and though I also liked The Hurt Locker or Inglourious Basterds but if those are it’s biggest competitors I must put them at 9 or 10” if that thinking is truly carried out I think Avatar wins b/c The Hurt Locker can’t compete on 1’s vs. Avatar but on 2’s & 3’s potentially that’s where it wins.

  • 25 3-05-2010 at 6:36 am

    Ben M. said...

    I would actually love it if something outside the traditional thought of “top five” won. Though at the same time I hesitate to call Hurt Locker, Avatar, Inglorious Basterds, Precious, and Up in the Air the five that would’ve been nominated under the old system. Yes, they seem like the frontrunners but few years have a 5/5 picture/director match and there is often a Best Picture surprise.

    Say there had been 10 nominees in 07, with PGA, DGA, WGA, and director noms you might well assume Diving Bell was part of the top five rather than Atonement (which got none of those) and I think you could make the case that Up or An Education might have surprised this year had there been five slots.

  • 26 3-05-2010 at 9:49 am

    Al said...

    Whats upsetting is if any film wins others than Hurt Locker, this will be the perceived way that film won. I’m sure it has some impact, but I doubt it will be monumental.

  • 27 3-05-2010 at 3:27 pm

    Raffi said...

    Hmm, on one hand I’m thinking this many votes might really affect “Locker’s” chances of winning Best Picture. But you’d have to assume that most of the people who turned their ballots in (also assuming they were originally voting for or had “Hurt Locker” ranked high) were affected my emailgate, which may not be too realistic.

    If anything this won’t really help Avatar with alot of #1s or #2s because even if someone wanted to knock “Locker” down a few because of the “scandal” they’re probably not going to place Avatar above it.

    I don’t know. At this point in the season, I’m just babbling.

  • 28 3-05-2010 at 4:01 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Bill: That thinking doesn’t make much sense because Avatar won’t be eliminated, so #2s won’t matter in those instances.

    What one needs to consider is what are voters that put The Blind Side and A Serious Man at #1 going to have at #2. Because those are the films likely to be eliminated first.