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Oscar Talk Episode Eleven: Governors Awards, Tarantino, Holbrook, Docs

Oscar Talk Episode Eleven: Governors Awards, Tarantino, Holbrook, Docs

In the eleventh installment of Oscar Talk, In Contention‘s Kris Tapley and I have a go at last weekend’s Governors Awards, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, the documentary short list and Hal Holbrook’s performance in That Evening Sun. Over at Awards Daily, Sasha Stone assembles a bigger group to grapple with some of these and other questions.

On the jump, I’ve pasted Stone’s useful breakdown of the different branches of the Academy. You can see how dramatically the actors branch dominates. Want to predict the Oscars correctly? Figure out how each of those branches will vote for the contenders. The producers, executives and publicists tend to be more mainstream, while the writers and directors are more upscale, and the different crafts appreciate the art of moviemaking in a different way. Then add up the numbers.

AMPAS Breakdown

Art Directors-373
Public Relations-370
Members at Large-254
Shorts/Feature Ani-335
Visual Effects-272

Total Voting Members -approx 6,000″>

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Lawrence French

Anne, thanks for this breakdown of Academy membership. It makes me wonder why the Visual Effect members who total 272 have to settle for only three slots.

This is quite absurd, given the 20 plus films that could be considered Oscar worthy in this year alone. I wrote to two Academy F/X Governors, Craig Barron and Richard Edlund about this last year, but they never replied!

Maybe you can bring this up in a future column.


I think those numbers are artificially stacked. They need to stop giving memberships to executives and to so many actors and start giving more memberships to the crafts. Why do Public Relations and Executives get more members than Music, Editors, and Cinematographers? That doesn’t make any sense. No wonder the awards have been so skewed in recent decades. Next year, the Academy needs to up the number of actual artists who make films and cut back on some of the other branches that have undue influence. All those executives and PR people are just going to vote for whatever their studios or clients are working on. The actors are just going to vote for whatever director is a former actor (notice the preponderance of awards to those who have been?) It needs to be less political and more of an accurate representation of the best films by the best filmmakers. They need more women in the directors branch to make up for past egregioius omissions. I think this would help balance things out and also probably have the added effect of bringing more viewers to the show because it would represent more artists from more backgrounds, rather than just suits and actors.


I mostly love the podcasts, but I felt like punching the wall when you mentioned Star Trek as deserving of a screenplay nomination. It’s a decent screenplay, but it has deep flaws, mostly because it wasn’t quite polished up enough before the writer’s strike hit. District 9’s is more coherent, and far more deserving.
Also, I really think it’s wrong to promote Star Trek like this when there are so many better smaller films falling off the radar. Alas, for the Academy will not notice Tilda Swinton’s brilliance in Julia, Peter Capaldi’s tour-de-force in In the Loop, or Christopher Young’s haunting gothic score for Drag Me to Hell. Or Sam Rockwell for Moon.

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