March 5th, 2010
08:44 AM ET

Oscar's 'new math': How best picture will be picked

Oscar oddsmakers have "The Hurt Locker" and "Avatar" in a virtual dead heat for best picture.  So it's a sure bet that one of them will win on Sunday, right?

Not necessarily.

Voting for best picture – and tabulating those votes – isn't a simple case of majority rule.  For one thing, with 10 nominees this year, it's more likely than ever that no film will receive 50 percent-plus-one of the vote: If "Avatar" and "Hurt Locker" are as close as believed, even if the other eight nominees combined drew, say, just 15 percent of the votes, that likely would be enough to keep either of the favorites from reaching 50 percent.

In the past, that wouldn't have mattered: the top vote-getter would take the trophy, end of story.

But this year, the Academy changed the script.  When it expanded the best picture category from five nominees to 10, it also changed the voting system from a plurality (most votes wins) to something that sounds like a communicable disease – STV.  It actually stands for the Single Transferable Vote system, and it's also known as Instant Runoff, Preferential Voting or Alternative Voting.

Basically, instead of just selecting a favorite, each voter ranks all 10 nominees.  The ballots are separated into 10 groups: those with "Avatar" No. 1 in one group, those with "Hurt Locker" as the top pick in another, and so forth.  Then, if no film has a majority of No. 1 votes, the system goes to work.

Let's say, for argument's sake, that "A Serious Man" receives the fewest No. 1 votes.  (Sorry, Joel and Ethan.)  That film would be knocked out, and the ballots in that pile would be redistributed among the remaining nominees, based on those ballots' second choices.  If that doesn't produce a film with a majority, the process is repeated with the No. 9 movie, and so forth.

Some people see this system as favoring "Hurt Locker."  They reason is that even people who didn't love the war drama respect it as a well-made film, while people who disliked "Avatar" really hated it, because they disagree with one of its perceived messages, or they just don't think a special-effects-heavy film should win best picture.  So while many people who don't rate "Hurt Locker" first might put it second or third, voters who don't pick "Avatar" to win might rank it at or near the bottom.

See the problem with handicapping a 10-nominee race under these rules?  You have to predict not only voters' first choices, but how strategic they'll be filling out the rest of the ballot.  I think the system could open the door for a film that, while not many think of it as a best picture, just about everyone loved – a film like "Up."

By the way, you may not have heard of this system before, but it's been around a while.  In fact, the Academy has long used it to choose the best picture nominees.  It's also gaining a foothold in politics: it's been used or is set to be used in some 15 cities and states, including Memphis, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Burlington, Vermont, as well as in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and other countries.  Supporters say it eliminates the expense of runoff elections, and ensures the winner has a mandate from a majority.

We'll find out Sunday night which film has the "mandate" of the Academy membership.


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soundoff (204 Responses)
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  5. KathyB

    Thank you for explaining this process. I've been thinking the last couple of years that a 10 nominee field is rediculous but perhaps this system does produce a more fair outcome.

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  8. cooldoug

    this is my last comment on this blog..... the word academy is the first word in academy awards.... the body of artists and producers who know their craft govern the rules for their own awards...its so simple...i have watched the awards nearly every year for forty five years... i have to say that if it weren't for the awards, i might not have ever seen some very good movies like schindler's list, or the graduate... thanks and cudos to the academy.... no matter how you feel ,we can all love the movies...

    March 8, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ABC

    Oscar is suck !!! Especially Best Movie Award.

    It is like giving Nobel Peace to V.P Gore for Climate Change.

    March 8, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Roberto

    1) If the winner was decided based on ticket sales, then it would allow studios to simply buy the award. Don't believe for a second that "ticket sales" are actually determined by the public. Distribution plays a major role in all of it, so it boils down to whoever has the biggest budget. You can't go see a movie if your local theater isn't playing it. More importantly, the public are sheep who go see whatever the pretty commercials tell them to. YOU (person who's inevitably going to comment on this and state they aren't a sheep) may not be (doubtful), but the other 99.9% of the population who don't post on CNN.com are.

    2) As for the Academy patting itself on the back...um...duh? Every other industry in our country has some form of recognition for their own members. Does the Plumber's Union award their annual Golden U-Pipe to the members of the Drywall Union? That would make no sense. These awards are given by the people who work in the industry to the people who perform best in the industry.

    3) Movies are complex . They contain a lot of elements. The definition of a "movie" is different from person to person. However, the WORK involved in a movie is the same across all movies. Being able to ACT – that is, believably portray a character in a story – is an element open to criticism. So is the writing, the set production, the cinematography, the costumes, etc. etc. etc. There is no one standard for judging a movie. Where some people are looking for "meaning" in their movies, others look for "escapes", but both are right. Given the depth of variables and the myriad human preferences, the system being used is probably the best possible, and should be used for more important elections as well.

    BTW, for those who don't get it, all of the voters rank the nominees from #1 to #10. Everybody's #1 gets tallied, and whichever movie gets the least votes is eliminated. Everybody who had that movie as their #1 now have their #2 vote counted. Votes are tallied, and the losing movie is eliminated. Everyone who had that movie as their choice now move on to their #2 vote (or their #3 vote if they happened to have the first 2 losers as their top 2 picks). So the "winners" aren't given the "losers" votes. Movies are simply eliminated round-by-round until there is a clear majority

    March 8, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. Alvin

    The Oscar's really could be unpredictable. What happen to AVATAR? ....What went wrong there?

    March 8, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  12. AtlantaPeach

    I would like to see Mo'Nique let go of the slightly angry edge she seems to always carry around. There were plenty of actors and actresses, in general, who get overlooked all the time because of "politics". It was a long time before Director and Film Producer Martin Scorsese won an Oscar and he produces some great work. But get ready. Rumor has it that Russell Crowe and Beyonce' are preparing to recreate "A Star Is Born". Beyonce' wants an Oscar, real bad, but she's not a good actress by any means. This has POLITICS written all over it. Jennifer Hudson beat out Beyonce' for the Oscar for Dreamgirls. Whatcha think? She'll actually win it this time. Good 'ole Politics.

    March 8, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff

    This is the same voting system as what the International Olympic Committee uses. The problem with that, you tend to get too much collaboration with the voters, all trying to align their agenda early on. In this case, some great movies might get cut early because of their powerful threat.

    March 8, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. Eugenio

    Well, after all's said and done, James Cameron did not get to the podium, after all of its crew that did get there fairly aknowledge and attributed their success to his vision, he did not get to stand up there with him, his ex-wife spend a trillion years thanking everyone except him( for which the show had to be cut short). Something's just not right.

    March 8, 2010 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
  15. Alex

    I couldn't agree more with Tom. The Awards are a joke. The Best Actress Award, for instance, is a case in point. Among the five nominees, Sandra Bullock should be the one who received the least votes – had the Academy taken it seriously. Bullock really could act better than Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep? They must be kidding.

    March 8, 2010 at 5:48 am | Report abuse |
  16. wailun

    Having watched both movies and many more, AVATAR is obviously a much better movie than HURT LOCKER. However, some folks at the Academy are elitist and pretentious but the public is always the best judge of what the Best Movie is. There have been many movies where critics have rated them highly but fail miserably to impress the real audience. It's the same reason – these people are pretentious and think they know more than the average person. If the Oscars are only best judged by the Academy members, then forget about broadcasting to the rest of us. They can smugly keep the entire event to themselves and forget that it is us the public who pay to watch their work. HURT LOCKER may be a good movie but not great as most of us will not watch it again or in a few years time. AVATAR is a powerful movie and it resonates with many people in many countries and surely worth a few more watchings

    March 8, 2010 at 4:43 am | Report abuse |
  17. Casey Nicholson

    I read through about half of the comments on this thread, and I find it odd that so many people think that the public's opinion should matter most, that all that should matter is ticket sales, that the most popular movie should win, etc. There's a reason it's called the ACADEMY Awards. It's an Award that is given by people who actually work in the film industry and who have first hand knowledge of what goes into the making of a film. Average Joe who goes to see Transformers or Spider-man doesn't have that same knowledge. And just because explosions and special effects are cool to see, that in no way means that effects should trump a well done story that makes good use of other techniques. If you don't like the Academy Awards, then watch the People's Choice Awards, but don't get upset just because people who are knowledgeable about a field want to have their own awards show.

    March 8, 2010 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  18. cooldoug

    just saw the awards and feel it was well balanced.yes in the past i was peeved because the picture i thought was the best didn't win but, i must say that when the dvd had come out i have been pleased most of time.the only film i thought absolutely sucked was leaving las vegas and that was a very long time ago.last year i rented the wrestler and was blown away.it was supposed to suck but i loved it so maybe ill go rent the hurt locker when it comes out. p.s. any serious attempt to portray our soldiers must be given an accolade when well put together.imagine being between 18 and 32 and the gutsy things they have to live through, ie. saving private ryan.

    March 8, 2010 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  19. Clint

    "And besides, an entire constructed language! How is that not an achievement?"

    If that's all it takes, then Star Trek should have been a shoe in, hello Klingon (and numerous other alien languages).

    Also, I didn't hear an "entire constructed language". I heard a few words and then heard everything else "magically translated" to American English.

    P.S.: WooHoo, it's not best picture, but tonight's oscar for make up is the first oscar ever for any Star Trek film!

    March 7, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  20. cbgb

    spoke too soon, Ben Stiller very funny

    March 7, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  21. cbgb

    This year's broadcast is just about the shoddiest i've ever seen. HIghlight so far was Robert Downing and Tina Fey, now why weren't they the hosts?

    The only thing that could liven up the show now is if Meryl Streep wins, she'll give a rip-roaring speech and relieve the boredom.

    March 7, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Shaun

    Should have left the best picture category at 5, its now half as hard to get nominated, which takes away from the accomplishment. Oh, and Avatar should win all thats it's nominated for, and also some that it was not, IMO.

    March 7, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Isaac

    I still think Avatar should win best picture – despite its poor points it's still a revolutionary leap in technology. 3D is now the future thanks to Avatar. It all depends on what you think the definition of the term"Best Picture" is.

    And besides, an entire constructed language! How is that not an achievement?

    March 7, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  24. impressed

    thank you for the analysis.

    March 7, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  25. RN

    The diverse, highly divisive, ill informed, well informed, hateful, thoughtful and other posts on this article are reason enough to believe the need for a third-party that rewards movies based on absolute measures of performance (for any category) vs. those that are based on popularity, sales and the "loudness" of its fan-base.

    I do think there are a couple of things to note:
    1. Despite my comments above, I love the fact that people are passionate about their cinema – its a great sign for any society given cinema is the highest reach/most popular medium to capture the past and visualize the future for any society

    2. I am not from the US and have to inform the readers that relative to other cinema industries, Hollywood still represents the cutting edge in technique and story-telling as far as I'm concerned

    As owners of such an industry, this group HAS to demonstrate lesser cynicism...

    March 7, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  26. aggie math?

    This sound more like the Hare method and not the STV method since only one winner is chosen and not several. Did you check with a mathematician? Either way, I like this better than a plurality. The last Texas governor's race would have been more interesting if a majority was needed!

    March 7, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Bill

    The method is simple enough. It guarantees that the nominee with the best consensus, broadest base of support will win. Or you could say the nominee that is least hated. It may not be the first choice of the majority, but it is the second choice of almost everyone. Cuts out the extremist fanboys and shrieking fangirls to get to the core interest of the group as a whole. Its a good method, keep it up.

    March 7, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Ben

    Avatar should win best picture because it sold the most tickets. McDonalds is the best food because it sells the most burgers.

    March 7, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  29. bklynhere

    I love people here who care SO little about the Oscars, who think certain films suck SO badly that they take time to write a comment.

    March 7, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Jim Livingston

    Anybody who has college level Math experience should know that a weighted voting system using preference schedules is more fair and accurate than a straight vote.

    March 7, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Richard

    The reason people say the Academy Awards are a joke is because most people don't know how to objectively judge movies on the basis how good they are. Yes movies are about conveying emotions but if those with ballots were supposed to select the most psychologically moving films. Movies like Forrest Gump would win every year. Don't get me wrong, Forrest Gump's one of my favorites, but movies aren't about how much they move someone to feel the strongest emotions possible. Movies are about themes communicated through effective storytelling, describing a certain time and a series of events as chronicled through the development of characters.

    The vast majority of the American people just simply do not understand films like "No Country for Old Men" or "The Hurt Locker" because there is hardly any music to tell the audience how to feel–as opposed to truly observing everything within the frame and really processing the information for themselves. The average American movie lover is too used to people like Michael Bay spoon-feeding them every detail through useless (and costly) special effects, ridiculously loud music, and expository dialogue to appreciate intelligent film.

    March 7, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  32. jared

    honestly i don't think that avatar should win an oscar.

    March 7, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Nik Kripalani

    I think the Best Picture of the Year was Slum dog Millonaire. I watched it and Jai Ho was the best song. A.R. Raman came out on stage and did a great performance. Avatar is great for Liberals who care about the Eco-system. Hurt Locker is great for the War Veterans. I would say it is tough, both movies did well. I think Avatar will win, just like Slumdog Millioaire was 8 Oscars last year.

    March 7, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  34. sarge

    academy awards are a joke.....inglorious basterds was best film of the year and avatar not only shouldnt win but shouldnt even be nominated for anything other than special effects.

    March 7, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Kyle

    Avatar had this. Avatar had that. Total B.S.

    If you need all those special effects and motion capture and other malarkey to consider a movie enjoyable, you have a very low attention span. I suppose Fast and Furious should have been nominated as well then.

    The Hurt Locker had real characters, a gripping story, extended moments of tension where no words needed to be spoken nor any annoying soundtrack to tell us it was suspenceful. It didn't need B.S. motion capture bad guys, or blue creatures who could teach us a lesson about life. Hurt Locker IS life. I don`t need a movie like Avatar to teach me lessons about life... and the fact hat I had to sit through it with special glasses on was ridiculous.

    Hurt Locker IS the BEST PICTURE!!!

    March 7, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  36. JTShark

    How can people honestly relate box office to movie quality? By that math Transformers and New Moon should be nominated for Best Picture. Avatar is a great movie, and already has justified it's place in history. But I feel like Hurt Locker was a more important movie, personally. I'd like to see Hurt Locker win. I wouldn't mind if Avatar won either. The problem with a movie that makes billions of dollars? All the people out there who don't bother to watch all the nominees just throw their hat in with the one they've seen. "Oh, Avatar is nominated? Oh I guess I hope that wins then cause I saw that one!" Sorta like people suddenly becoming a fan of the local sports team when they move to a new city. They don't care all that much so they just throw in their hat with the city's team.

    March 7, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Bryan

    The Hurt Locker by far is the best movie I have seen in years...I hope it wins

    March 7, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Jahizluv

    Who cares?

    March 7, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  39. pinkfloyd

    What are these awards about and who gives a damm!

    March 7, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Nic

    I understand why some people like Avatar (I did not), but seriously, since when are "it made me happy" and "it made the most money" criteria for anything besides a People's Choice Awards?

    Yes it sucks that there's too much politicking in the Oscars (How many times have we heard "oh, it's their time to win!") and that the most deserving films sometimes get lost in a shuffle of advertising and Hollywood powerplays. But this is Hollywood's night to honour itself. The public are not the ones voting. This is all about industry members. So naturally the winners are going to reflect the tastes and biases of the film community.

    If Avatar wins, it will be because of its groundbreaking visual effects and cultural impact. If Hurt Locker wins, it will be because of its screenplay, tense direction and excellent ensemble cast. But I do think we could all be surprised by a left-field winner this year...Inglourious Basterds? Up?

    March 7, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  41. David

    You know, it shocks me how bad the grammar and spelling is out here. I guess that if this is an example of the education and sophistication level of America, Avatar may well win.

    March 7, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  42. David

    Hurt Locker seems far superior to Avatar. In fact, there really is no comparison. The "Best Picture" is not the same as the "Best Effects." If Avatar wins, the message will be clear. Acting, directing, writing, etc., are not important. What is important is getting something on film that is new and different and flashy. Call me old fashion, but give acting and writing any day.

    March 7, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  43. BJ

    Nothing compared to Avatar this year. If Avatar does not win, it will be a political mess for the academy. I have seen all of the movies nominated this year and it is very obvious who the winner is. Avatar is way above all the rest – from visuals, to storyline, to directing, to sound – James Cameron is a genius. I watched Avatar 2 times in the theater and could not take my eyes off the screen. In comparsion, I fell asleep half way through the movie The Hurt Locker. It was uninteresting, boring, and quite frankly, I didn't care if the characters lived or died. District 9 was very good, but not a best picture. Precious was full of great acting, but a depressing and stretched storyline. So, as I said in the beginning – if Avatar does not win, it's political and I hope the press drags the acadmey through the mud if it happens. Certain people do not like James Cameron – well, get over it and show some respect for the man who just changed the movie industry AGAIN!

    March 7, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  44. Kerry

    Who cares??????????? All of that is a joke. In the real world no one has even a job,home, or money anymore all because of the economy so we the people of the real world could care less about the movies when we are just trying to live life day after day. Come on now.

    March 7, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  45. gonzo

    Having seen all of the movies under consideration, I feel very strongly that Avatar should win, hands down. Having said that, it doesn't have a prayer in hell of winning because it's science fiction/fantasy.

    March 7, 2010 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  46. mina

    i dont know what some have against avatar but i realy like this movies and i thing it deserve all the oscar rewards :)

    March 7, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  47. Nick San Diego

    WIN is win.I don't care if it;s 10% or 100%. Keep it simple. The MOST votes win PERIOD.

    March 7, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  48. Nick San Diego

    People can;t just leave things alone. Some have to keep playing with things, till they really screw it up. Who's bright idea was this ?? If it aint broke, don't fix it. My bet is that it;ll change again down the road, when they realize what a dumb idea this was.

    March 7, 2010 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  49. Raza

    I like Oscar Awards becoz they have some worth in my eyes.Some time i dont agree with the winner but its still fun.
    Looking for tonight.....i wish Beglow will win.

    March 7, 2010 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  50. CPL LAVON PENNINGTON USMC

    It's the real deal viewers, I'm here in Afghanistan right now serving as a combat engineer I deal with explosives you probable deal with traffic back in the states, wanna trade jobs. This film is just a day and a life of what we deal with out here day to day , so all of you sitting at home crying about being to work and 9-10am in the morning just know this video hits the nail on the head as far truth. This is what we deal with this is what is killing us and you don't even have a clue or probably on your couch now on sitting down now but I hear bombs going off as I'm typing this up in Afghanistan you probably here your heater running. Yes this deserves a Oscar but it deserves more than that. Semper Fi

    March 7, 2010 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  51. jo

    The Hurt Locker Is BORING! Long, a NOTHING MOVIE. NOT A WAR MOVIE. HURT MY EYES. GO LEARN FROM STEVEN SPEILBERB About making War movies, It is all a Pump Up because a Husband/X-Wife made a movie this year! BIG DEAL...... I CAN NOT BELIEVE IT WENT THIS FAR? AVATAR SHOULD WIN!

    March 7, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  52. D

    The "Hurt Locker" was the worse movie I have ever seen and it is the only movie I felt like I got a slap in the face. Being a "REAL" vet who did "REAL" duites in the IZ, the "Hurt Locker" was nothing but a stupid attempt to say all "US" Solilders are nothing but a bunch of John Wayne want-a-bes. If it gets anything at the Oscers I will lose what like respect I had for Hollywood.

    March 7, 2010 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  53. BeachGirl

    The academy votes on its peers. So public opinion, theoretically, has nothing to do with the academy awards. I do agree that a good old fashioned movie goers movie that tells a great story with great acting is hard to come by these days. Avatar however is ground breaking in its development and scope of computer generated animation. I watch Turner Classic Movies to cry, laugh and be drawn in by the true Classic films of of the last 100 or so years. There is nothing like a great movie to escape to in these trying times.

    March 7, 2010 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  54. Bud

    The headline, itself, yells "duplicity." The best picture will will if the Academy doesn't use their "fuzzy math." Give your little stature to whomever you want. We, the viewing audience already voted, with our wallets. Of course, the Academy missed THAT vote!

    March 7, 2010 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  55. PinkToeNails

    All these people so passionate about Avatar sound a little unhinged. I'll bet they didn't even see many/most/any of the other nominees. I haven't seen them all but I did really like and admire The Hurt Locker.

    March 7, 2010 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
  56. soulofbass

    the day avatar or a similar movie to it wins best picture is the day i stop giving cred to oscars

    March 7, 2010 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  57. Eduardo Negreiros

    Best picture should be the one who won most oscars.

    March 7, 2010 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  58. Jeremy

    AVATAR!!!!!! ALL THE WAY!

    March 7, 2010 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  59. Sandalwood

    I usually watch just to see the clothes and George Clooney but I won't be this year. I cannot stand Alec Baldwin so I will be going to bed before Oscar even comes on.

    March 7, 2010 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  60. Fredo Viola

    Avatar was a massive technical achievement, and was fun like going on a roller coaster in an expensive theme park, but a great film??? I think not. It was actually a bit boring in it's last quarter.

    March 7, 2010 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
  61. Mike

    Avatar sucked. It was based on a gimmick and people bought it. Im a tech nerd, and I like the idea of 3D, but at this point we're not quite ready for it. Wait for TRUE 3d (no glasses required) displays and less jitter.

    Anyway, Hurt locker was an amazing film with a powerful message, high suspense scenes, and best of all – Actors Ive never seen before. I hate seeing movies with actors i know all to well- I cant loose myself in the character.

    March 7, 2010 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
  62. syed

    avaaaaatarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr shud win

    March 7, 2010 at 6:07 am | Report abuse |
  63. DOBBS RETURNS

    Brokeback Mountain is a superb movie that didn't deserve the silly jokes
    about.it Of course Gay haters were against it, including Academy members like Tony Curtis and Ernest Borgnine who trashed it in
    public. As if being both Gay and a cowboy were somehow un-American,
    there were enough of them to keep it from winning the Best Picture
    Oscar and somehow contaminating their precious pantheon.It
    certainly has greater stature than what did win that year. Barbara is right.

    March 7, 2010 at 4:12 am | Report abuse |
  64. RG

    To John Q,
    I agree with completely! Great point but I think the Noble prize lost it validity when They had Toby Keith sing at their ceremony.
    To John R,
    Your right America can be slowly dying but not because of things like Brokeback Mountain but by not respecting your fellow citizens freedoms. Especially over petty issues.

    March 7, 2010 at 3:47 am | Report abuse |
  65. Rick

    Honestly, all this back and forth is pointless. There is a difference between a movie and a film. A movie is made to entertain, and nothing more. It isn't intended to make you think much, just to give you an extremely good time. It doesn't matter how, all that matters is that it is enjoyable. A film, however, goes deeper. It's supposed to have excellent acting, and an insightful or new script. It needs to be interesting and have scenes that blow your mind away – and not because all the loud explosions melted your brain and forced it our your ears. It doesn't have to be pretty, but it should be artistically done. Best picture is about choosing the best film, not the best movie.
    Avatar is a movie and Hurt Locker certainly isn't original.

    March 7, 2010 at 3:06 am | Report abuse |
  66. Clint

    Oops, couple of typos in my previous post, sorry, tired.

    March 7, 2010 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  67. Clint

    Avator was ok, I liked it enough to watch it twice, but the secodn time, I fell asleep about 30 minutes in and missed most of it.

    I personally would vote for Star Trek. (yes, I know it was not included in the ten possibles, but it's MY choice) I went in not expecting to like it because it was a "re-imagining" of sorts, and I almost always hate those in favor of the original. But this movie was done extremely well, and in a way that allowed non trek fans to enjoy it as a first trek movie as well.

    I was in Iraq when it came out, but aquired an advanced copy 4 days before it openned stateside. Between that dvd, and buying the dvd version when it hit the PX, and watching it on cable after I got back, I have seen it about 27 times now, and loved it every time.

    Of all the 10 films nominated, Avatar is the only one I have seen, and have no plans on seeing any of the other ones, or watching avatar again.

    So, in my opinion, the best fim will not win this year.

    March 7, 2010 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  68. ArmyK

    All I have to say is that "Hurt Locker" does not deserve any recognition. It was a horrible film that was way to over board. No where in the real Army does more than half that film happen. No EOD Specialist is going to approach an explosive without protective gear, no one rolls around in a single HMMWV (except maybe an ODA Team), and no one would run off base like that. If the movie had been more realistic then it would have been a better all around movie.

    March 7, 2010 at 2:28 am | Report abuse |
  69. Shaun

    Let's face it, Avatar is a "vanity" picture. James Cameron is a visual person and that is written all over this movie because it has no plot and no dialogue. On the other hand, Up in the Air, is brilliantly written, casted and acted. It is everything that an Oscar-winning movie should be. Ditto Hurt Locker. No matter who wins what - the lineup of movies this year is absolutely terrific. Hollywood has given us a bright, shining moment in a dismal economic year. Washington, take note.

    March 7, 2010 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  70. JJinCVCA

    John R:

    A friend or family member, someone you love, is gay.

    March 7, 2010 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  71. AK

    Hurt Locker was not a movie, it had no storyline at all. Just depiction of daily life led by our soldiers. This movie should not have been nominated.

    March 7, 2010 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  72. Charlie

    You know what Jim, You shoudnt talk about "Hurt Locker" being a non-sense film. Your NONSENSE!

    March 6, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  73. John

    Believing that the most popular movie should win and giving that to the highest-grossing movie is a flawed concept. It assumes that if every moviegoer had unlimited resources and therefore saw all ten movies, Avatar would be the best. People have limited sources so they go with the safe bet. It also doesn't help that Hurt Locker basically only showed in two cities.

    March 6, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Andy

    The Hurt Locker is NOT accurate. It is about as accurate a portrayal of warfare as 300. As a veteran, I find it offensive that this movie has received this much consideration.

    March 6, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  75. akosua

    in my belief i think avatar should win just because of the technology and imagination put in the movie. but i also like blindside. its a heart bending movie. precious is WAY to sad and if u like precious u will love avatar or blind side. if u hate precious u will love avatar and blindside. i just think that blindside show a lesson which is hope is on the way. yea thats my opinion on the Oscars nominations.

    March 6, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Gregory

    I thought the real point was 15 states and cities were using this voting method in elections. It is at the bottom of the article in case you missed it.

    March 6, 2010 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  77. RG

    To John Q. Public,
    I understand your point. Well made! But I have to admit I gave up on the Noble prize when Toby Kieth sung at there last awards ceremony.

    March 6, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  78. cooldoug

    don't forget people, that the nominations and the movies,actors etc. are chosen by their peers. so most of the opinions i see here, are based on what the bloggers here think, and not how the awards are decided.sorry to be real.

    March 6, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  79. Rj

    There have been a few comments questioning the validity of the "public's" opinion in regards to their ability to pick the Best... well, anything. This poses a real challenge to the merits of democracy – where the average-IQ Joe Schmoe majority chooses our leaders based on whether or not those leaders think just like that average Joe Schmoe... Hence why America is such a mess; too many elected officials whose mouths are bigger (and open more often) than their minds. Ah... there's the rub.
    Now for the meat and potatoes. In the music business, of which I am a part, and which shares many congruent aspect with the film industry, there are layers of participants. There's the business side, the consumer side, and on the creative/artistic side – the 1st tier, 2nd tier, 3rd tier, and 4th tier artists. 1st tier are the vanguards – the ones advancing the art form and pushing boundaries creatively. 2nd tier are the ones that take those advancements and make them appealing to the public a.k.a. commercially viable, although they are rarely, if ever considered most popular. 3rd tier are the ones that water down 2nd tier art enough that the "cool kids" find it palatable enough to consume in mass quantities. 4th tier are the "everyone else" category – those that listen faithfully to the radio, play in crappy bands and have, like, over 300 visits to their MySpace page... whoa dude! The basic idea here that many need to grasp is that when considering the "Best" of anything in the art world (and yes, movies are still considered art), one must take into consideration those most qualified to make that determination. In this analogy, the most influential 2nd tier tend to be considered the "Best" to 3rd tier because 3rd tier really can't even wrap their heads around 1st tier. The most influential 1st tier tend to be the "Best" to 2nd tier because that's where they draw the bulk of their inspiration from. Not to mention 4th tier hasn't even HEARD of the 1st tier artist who inspired the 2nd tier artist that inspired their favorite 3rd tier one... Every once in a while a 1st or 2nd tier artist's popularity will have steam all the way to the general public but it is and will continue to grow exceedingly rare as the distance between the tiers grows larger. As that happens, other tiers may begin to fill in the gaps. In consideration of all this, the general public is incapable of having a valid opinion on "Best Picture" because by definition they are no higher than 4th tier. Only 2nd tier and 1st tier have the insight necessary to gauge the influence of a film across the art form.

    As far as music goes, sorry, but the Jonas brothers, T-Pain and Miley Cyrus are 4th tier. if Coldplay, U2, or Michael Jackson is your favorite of all time, that's 3rd tier. If it's Radiohead or Tool, that's 2nd – and If you've heard of Jeff Buckley, congratulations, you may have a modicum of taste after all.

    March 6, 2010 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  80. SERIOUSLY?

    "If Hurt Locker wins, it'll just be liberal Hollywood giving an affirmative-action freebie to Katheryn Bigalow, and thumbing it's anti-military bigotry at the military."

    So then, I assume you also agree with...

    If women are allowed to go to college, it will just be our schools giving an affirmative action freebee to girls who should be at home raising families.

    If women are allowed to vote, it will just be our government giving an affirmative action freebee to women who don't know anything about politics.

    If women are allowed to play professional sports, it will just be the liberal media giving an affirmative action freebee to second-rate athletes.

    If women are allowed to do anything men can, our society will surely fail.

    ...am I not right? I mean, please do consider what you are saying. All the things I just mentioned have been said before in history, and look - things are still OK in the world.

    If Bigelow wins, this will be a milestone for women artists who, for years, have been desperately trying to assert their talent on an equal playing field as male artists. This isn't a liberal or feminist issue - it's an issue of awarding a DIRECTOR who used his or her skills to the best of their abilities as a DIRECTOR (and not a man, or a woman or whathaveyou.)

    ...Old school thinking like this really has to stop. Would you like your daughters and granddaughters to see their goals and achievements restricted in their adult lives, too?

    March 6, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  81. heh

    "the actors in the HURT LOCKER was good, no real inspiring or good message to it. Just a real disappointing. story. jane"

    Those words in your sentence was no good. Just a real disappointing. grammar. fail.

    March 6, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  82. NoyPi

    Crash's a good movie as well as Slumdog Millionaire. Well Brokeback's good too but Crash has a wider range of issues tackled. Best film shouldn't only be based on ticket sales. It has to be a complete package: great script, acting, directing etc. For me, Hurt Locker should be this year's best picture.
    By the way, I think Sandra Bullock should deserve an Oscar this year.

    March 6, 2010 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
  83. female film student

    Ok...I had to add more.

    1. Movies do NOT need to be HAPPY! My god. Do all of you live in tiny little bubbles where there is sunshine and conservative values and rainbows and family and church and candy raining from the sky?! In fact, some of history's most memorable and revered works of art are, in fact, depressing. Sadness opens windows to the human soul; sadness allows us to examine ourselves and to adjust our faults. One must have a balance of the good and the bad to be a well-rounded individual. And why did 'Hurt Locker' depress you? (I hope, only to remind you that we are in a fruitless war that has taken the lives of many talented, capable young Americans.)

    2. The gay bashing on here is unrelated and uncalled for. People have been gay for millions of years and the sky hasn't exploded and the rapture isn't upon us. Get over it and take the bigotry to your basement. I disliked Brokeback immensely - it just wasn't my thing - but to the person who said it wasn't memorable or important - HAH!

    I think this comment sums up everything I feel about Avatar:

    "i belive that avatar will will because it was so cool plus it waz hella funny ok."

    Academy, the ball is in your court.

    March 6, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  84. john

    Hurt Locker is a piece of crap.....the screenplay and the box office are all the evidence we need.....

    Inglorious Bas"turds" is also garbage.

    The folks that do the nominations in Hollywood have lost it....the academy is now a laughing stock.

    AVATAR is the clear winner for best pic and director.....if that doesn't happen then I am out of here.

    March 6, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  85. female film student

    I would just like to point out the following:

    1. Note that many of the people expressing their "love" of 'Avatar' and how it was 'such an amazing movie' are the ones with little ability to explain WHY (other than "it was popular") and are quick to dismiss the other nominees because "no one saw them." (Also of note, most of the "Avatards" can barely spell or string a sentence together...Hm.) Why? "Avatar" appealed to a worldwide audience because it was SIMPLE, FLASHY and action-packed. These things absolutely do not make a "good" movie. A "good" movie - as subjective as that is - must combine a powerful set of actors (can you REALLY call the "things" in 'Avatar' actors?) with a well-written story and great production. I'll give 'Avatar' the production side of things, but the acting was terrible and the script even worse. Am I the only one who noticed the unobtainable element was called "unobtainium?" COME ON! We already learned our lesson with James Cameron ('Titanic') and regretted it in later years.

    2. To whomever said "no one saw 'The Hurt Locker,' you are extremely ignorant. The film had a LIMITED release - meaning it hit LA, NYC, etc, and not your podunk town - but has seen extraordinary success in the DVD market. I went to Blockbuster last night - all copies gone. I was elated. Many people - and ESPECIALLY voting Academy members, who really only count anyway in this thing - fell in love with the movie once they saw it. 'Avatar' can't really say the same; most of the country's cultured residents find 'Avatar' mindnumbingly stupid. Besides, most of its moneymaking power came from OVERSEAS - the foreign markets, especially Asia, love this fantasy stuff.

    I can already tell you that my professors (all voting academy members) have said they will NOT vote for 'Avatar' and will choose 'Hurt Locker' instead.

    March 6, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Dave the Wave

    Avatar broke new ground and was just mesmerizing. Yeah the storyline was cliche, but wow. First movie in over 2 years that made me go into the theater.

    March 6, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  87. me and mr b, oak harbor WA

    i grew up anticipating the magic and wonder of hollywood. i still like watching the "oscars" even though most movies are geared for the brain dead 14 year old males and oversexed 13 year old girls. Occasionally, just occasionally, good movies are made. have a nice day.

    March 6, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Gary

    Instant runoff voting is awesome! Great way to do it. It provides the most accurate tabulation of preferences. If people hate the message of Avatar, they would not have voted for it in either system.

    March 6, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Bets

    Avatar for best picture? Sure! If you like the idea of Dances with Wolves meets Pocahontes with Smurfs... in space. This movie is the film version of a trophy wofe: it looks really pretty but that's as deep as it goes.

    March 6, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  90. Shannon

    Everett, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but a large box office does not necessarily equal best picture winner ... just ask the makers of "The Dark Knight".

    March 6, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Martin

    The Oscars aren't about quality but industry politics. Sometimes, quality movies DO take the award home, but that's almost always a happy coincidence.

    You only need to look at the history of the Oscars to see that this is true. In 1998 it was a foregone conclusion that Saving Private Ryan was going to take home Best Picture, because that's what it was. But then the Weinsteins basically bought the award out from under that movie with a $16 million Oscar campaign, and on awards night everyone was visibly shocked when Shakespeare in Love won. But today, 12 years later, Saving Private Ryan is acknowledged as a classic, and Shakespeare in Love is completely forgotten.

    Other examples come to mind. The bland sitcom Driving Miss Daisy winning in the year that everyone with any brains knew that Do The Right Thing, a powerful move that actually had something meaningful to say about race relations, wasn't even nominated. Today, Do The Right Thing is still admired, respected, and even taught in college campuses, while Driving Miss Daisy is...that's right...completely forgotten.

    So to see what the really great movies are from any given year, don't look at the Oscars, and don't look at the box office sales either (because lots of movies popular in their day don't age well). Look at what stands the test of time.

    March 6, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  92. TONY

    Over the years, I've grown less and less impressed with the Oscars... and this year, for the first time ever, I'm not even going to watch them.

    I really can't decide if the movies are going downhill or the Academy's picks but it just seems like the whole system peaked in the 1970's and somewhere around the time of winners and nominees like "Gandhi", "Out of Africa", "The Last Emperor" and "The Color Purple".... you know, movies you could watch once maybe but never sit through again.... the whole process fell apart.

    I'm done.

    March 6, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  93. dan g

    you people saying 'LOL HOOEVER GETS THE MOST VOTES SHUD WIN' are not even reading the article obviously..

    voters rank ALL TEN nominees..

    learn to read. reading comprehension.

    March 6, 2010 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  94. Guest

    I love "Jerry"'s idea. Public vote on the best movie (which the artsy community will hate), and the best picture can remain as it is.

    March 6, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  95. 1krr

    Who really cares? This is just more Hollywood idolizing Hollywood.

    March 6, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  96. Grammar Time

    "They reason is that"

    Another grammar error $$$

    March 6, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  97. hey~

    CNN services are changed !!

    March 6, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  98. NYFilmStudent

    Avatar is not a movie, it's a very long ad for a video game. I am a film student, and I know that it did nothing to "advance" film, it's all about selling video games and toys. It should not even be on the "Best Picture" list. because it is not a movie, just a video game ad looking for another sale The movie of 2009 that featured everything that a film should be – great directing, script, acting, cinematography, editing, sound – is Hurt Locker and it will win Best Picture tomorrow night. And that is good news for those of us who love film and want to see the best work in film honored. When they give the award for best commercial for video games, Avatar will win that, but who cares?

    March 6, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  99. ian

    STV is about math. Notice that so many countries in the world have adopted it in politics- not because they have bad systems, but because they are looking for a better system.

    For those of you who think we should just 'vote for best picture' and let the one with the most votes win- that old 'first past the post' system has shown to be a failure in anything but a 2-party race.

    Perhaps this article could have had a better slant, if the writer understood math a little.

    Imagine, with ten films, what would have happened with the old system.

    Film 1- 16%
    Film 2- 14%
    Film 3- 10%
    Film 4- 10%
    Film 5- 10%
    Film 6- 10%
    Film 7- 10%
    FIlm 8- 10%
    Film 9- 5%
    Film 10- 5%
    In this nasty scenario under the OLD SYSTEM- a film with only 16% of the vote wins Best Picture. And that's not a majority opinion. So that would suck, right? That has about the logic of an electoral college, folks.
    So with STV, people who voted for all the other films would make their second choice, and the film liked by the MOST of them would win. STV rules.

    March 6, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  100. Joseph

    We are a capitalist society so the movie that put the most money in the bank is the winner. The people have spoken with their wallets. Isn't that all that matters?

    March 6, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  101. Sophie

    I also disagree on the most ticket sales win theory. I have been to MANY movies where I purchased a ticket and then walked out. Just because a ticket is sold does not mean it is a good movie. Pre-release hype can garner thousands of ticket sales and then people walk away disppointed. That's why I never see movie in the first few weeks it is out. I always wait for the real reviews that come by word of mouth.

    March 6, 2010 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  102. Sophie

    Let's point out the obvious – Forest Gump was so unbelieveably inaccurate it was laughable. Forest was not present at any of the events depicted. But – it was a great, entertaining movie. Goodfellas, the Godfather, and many other best pictures had inaccuracies. Avatar is NOT a movie, it is a comic book come to life. The poster who said it is Ferngully is correct. The best picture need not be historically perfect and Hurt Locker never, ever held itself out to be 100% accurate so in my opinion it becomes a non-issue. I personally hope we have a British free winner list this year because THAT is what I'm sick to death of. Why do the Britsh think they are so superior and WHY does America buy into that thought process? We have British judges on our TV shows, almost all informercials have a British spokesperson and I automatically turn them off. Why MUST we have a British period piece and actors/actresses every year?

    March 6, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  103. patti

    I have not read the article, only the headline. My comment is short, but I wanted to say a few words on the subject. In my opionion, it's just not right for so much to be spent on millionaires patting millionaires on the back. Many of the outfits worn cost more than many Americans earn in a year. I'd like to add a verse to a wonderful song...... Imagine.... if that money went to something worthwhile!!!!!!!!!

    March 6, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  104. John R

    to Barbara.. Brokeback mountain?

    I am so sick and tired off all these gay films. America is slowly dying..

    March 6, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  105. Robert

    Was the old system broken? Why go to 10 films? This year you could barely find 5 worth nominating (it was a pretty weak year). There was nothing wrong with having 5 nominees. The studios must some how be making more money under this new system. I guess more films can now say "academy award nomination for best picture" on their DVD covers. To quote a former best picture nominee from 1976, "Follow the money."

    Bob's right, the only reason Avatar is even nominated is because of Cameron's reputation. That movie was very good the first time I saw it, when it was called "Dances with Wolves." I picked up on a touch of "Pocahontas" in there as well. Cameron's effects are original, his story lines are not.

    March 6, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  106. Ethan

    Who cares, Avatar wasn't even the best movie. It had a really dumb plot. It doesn't deserve an Oscar.

    March 6, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  107. Jay McInney

    We have this system in australia to vote for our governments. We call it the preferential system. The advantage is that if votes in the future are spread across 10 films rather evenly, it would be hard to define a clear winner as no one gets an absolut majority 50%+1. Therefore you redistribute the lowest until you widdle away to the final two most popular contenders. That way everyone who votes still has input into the final result, whether that be the winner or its contender. Surely that's a good thing and to win they must have more than 50% of the preferential vote.

    March 6, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  108. GREG

    There's nothing wrong with going to movies to be entertained. But there's more involved than entertainment value. The great ones, much like the masterworks of art or music advance the art form to a level that it hadn't reached previously.
    Few works in any medium attain true "greatness" status. But those that do, Citizen Kane for instance advanced the art form from a visual perspective as well as the quality of story, acting, directing, etc. It is significantly different than every movie that had ever been made before it. Avatar has advanced the technology of film to a new level even though the story may be routine. Great art doesn't appear that frequently even though there are artists of all kinds struggling to make that next great work.
    If popularity among the citizenry were the only measurement we needed to measure the quality of film making, then 'Grease', 'Independence Day' or 'Mamma Mia' would have won those contests. And that would be pretty embarrassing. If you think some of the Oscar winners over the years have been undeserving, imagine how much worse it could have been. Pretty bad!
    Everyone reading this surely has seen films stand the test of time whereas others are as dated as last year's expired gallon of milk.
    One may consider the critics, at least those educated in the field as being just plain elitist, liberal snobs but their function is to study, evaluate and report on the work...and influence it.
    Does it advance the art form or does it remain static? Society progresses and art needs to advance along with it. To be sure, the critics don't always get it right either because art is subjective. But I appreciate their contribution, some more than others.

    March 6, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  109. leah

    i think the picture with the avtar backround should win

    March 6, 2010 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  110. Angelface

    I agree with Jim that the movies lacked a great deal this year. Avatar was so lame! What until the next "Pirates of the Caribbean," and then there'll be something worth watching and voting on.

    March 6, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  111. John Q. Public

    It's sad that people can remember Oscar winners..but cannot even remember Nobel Prize winners in the various sciences. Sad indeed.

    March 6, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  112. anon

    To all those who say the movie with the most votes should win, now that the Academy's gone to 10 films in the running, if they just went by top vote-getter, a movie could win with 10%+1 votes, even if the other 90%-1 members of the Academy hated it. Since they're capricious enough already, would you really want to see the Oscar go to a movie that almost 90% of the Academy hated?

    Also, why would anyone think Avatar deserves Best Picture? The special effects were possibly the best I've ever seen, but the storyline was so run-of-the-mill that if it got the award, the Academy would basically be saying "screw storylines".

    March 6, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  113. Sullivan

    Like Tom, WHO CARES!! The Oscars are a real joke. It used to mean something but not anymore!

    March 6, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  114. Rich

    Barbara: I don't say this to be mean, I'm actually being honest – Brokeback Mountain, in my experience, was not memorable (in a good way, at least). Rather, it was a flash in the pan and then the only time it came up was in jokes or parodies.

    That said, I am not nuts about this new system, most of all because I don't really understand why the Academy decided to start using it. There are no "runoffs" and no costs associated with them, and any idea of providing a majority in all cases to boost legitimacy loses its luster when considering that this new system does in fact make it easier for a less deserving film to win by chance.

    March 6, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  115. Jeremiah

    Why is the media campaigning so hard against "The Hurt Locker"? Should they be throwing their weight around for such trivial things? That kind of bias is normally reserved for war coverage!

    March 6, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  116. DOBBS RETURNS

    The Academy is an overstuffed turkey with years and years telling
    us what to like. They are at their worst when they stray beyond what
    they began as and so start preaching politics. Who really cares
    what Sean Penn thinks? Or Michael Moore? And Al Gore? Then
    there's this nonsense about signing a pledge you or your family
    won't try to sell an Oscar or auction one off to benefit some charity.
    Are Oscars given or merely loaned out? What's the story here?

    Please...don't try to win us by tinkering with the process. Who cares
    if they nominate ten or twenty films for best pic? Or if there's two hosts
    or one or twenty-five? It used to be about rewarding talent. Now it's
    tuning in to see clothes displayed on a red carpet. Or who gave
    the best post-Oscar party. I can do without all of this. It can never
    be as great as the Super Bowl...so why try with this silly vote changing? The magic is gone. Nowadays award shows are
    commonplace. So let's trim back the hype for something that's
    big on promises but small on delivery..

    March 6, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  117. Harry

    I'm still pissed at "Brokeback Mountain" losing to "Crash" in 2006.

    March 6, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  118. Watson

    everyone knows Avatar is the best movie by far, who wins doesn't matter at all. Saving Private Ryan didn't even win yet only a dimwitted inbred would seriously believe Shakespeare in Love is a better movie. Oscar matters not.

    March 6, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  119. aaron

    the story was so mundane in avatar that it should not win, if it does it's based on just being visually stunning and gross... there's an award for visuals. if it wins best picture it further cements that the best screenplay + actors is not being rewarded with best movie. honestly, the nomination of avatar shows how bad the voting process is broken.

    March 6, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  120. Herbert

    I am definately rooting for 'Up.'
    It was inspiring and had emotional effect.
    Even though the graphic can't possibly match with the Avatar, what matters is the story and message that it's trying to reach out.

    March 6, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  121. Max

    I think you dont get it. Its about best picture not the story duh u retards. And Avatar had the best piture

    March 6, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  122. c.e.

    I would love to throw in my two cents on the philosophy and politics behind the academy's choices for Best Picture over the past 20 years...But then I remember that I watch the awards for the outfits, bad jokes, and Actor awards and usually am ho-hum by the time best Picture rolls around...It's a subjective award at times and in the end it's just a movie. The audience decides the classics...how cool is that?

    March 6, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  123. William

    For a picture to win the oscar it should not be enough to be just "well made," but soaked in military accuracy silliness. Leni Reifenthal's films were "well made" propaganda lies too, but they shouldn't win oscars.

    The we-weren't- making-a-documentary excuse shouldn't float for a 'best picture', because the pros don't let such easily correctable validity gaffes as pollute Hurt Locker occur in their 'best' films.

    If Hurt Locker wins, it'll just be liberal Hollywood giving an affirmative-action freebie to Katheryn Bigalow, and thumbing it's anti-military bigotry at the military.

    March 6, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  124. Justin Camo

    Sounds like the system picks the right film: the one with the most appeal to the most people, even those who had another "favorite" in mind for their top spot. If a film is polarizing, it shouldn't be deemed "best."

    March 6, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  125. mikhel

    yup go AVATAR thats my movie right there FUCK the hurt locker.

    March 6, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  126. mikhel

    i belive that avatar will will because it was so cool plus it waz hella funny ok.

    March 6, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  127. David

    Oh, RC. I was on your side right up until that second sentence. You can't point out someone's grammar mistake only to make one yourself. Well, I guess you could since you just did. Anyway, the quality of the nominees is a moot point. Voters aren't even required to have watched any of the nominated films to cast their vote. Most winners are chosen based on their hype.

    March 6, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  128. Jack

    This system was used on "Gilligan's Island." It's how Gilligan got elected president of the island. I expect similar results with the Oscar voting.

    March 6, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  129. RG

    I'm sorry to say that the days have finaly come where I don't respect the taste of the acadamy. At the risk of sounding. . . well snoby. The nominations are based on politics or popularity and not on acting performances or inspiring scripts. Not to say that I didn't find the films nominated for best picture entertaining but the favorites I believe shouldn't even be nominated at all. I loved Avatar. The film was interesting and had that great James Cameron style. Where he actually made the setting another star of the picture but just like most of his films the plot and characters were too predictable. Like I said this doesn't mean I hated the film. In fact I loved it but it's not best picture caliber. Also I can't understand how Hurt Locker is even mentioned. Let me preface this with,"Yes I love the Troops and repect them." But this wasn't even a good film at all. I can't understand when I hear people say it was well done. Are you nutts! A film's story based on the suspense of a defusing bombs was way too predictable. Probably the worst this year when it comes to that. The only parts that weren't obvious were the parts that were unbelieibly uneventful! Boring!!!! I also hate films that are made on sensitive subjects just be to be aclaimed. (Eg. Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center" or the made of TV film that some how made the theaters"Flight 93") Terrible films who gained aclaims simply because of a sensitive sunbect matter. Absolutly lower than dirt in my eyes. Now Ingloirous Bastards or Crazy Heart should be the only two in competition for best picture. Quinton's films are almost always intersting with lurid dialog and exciting characters. Crazy Heart I hope wins or at least in close second simply because it's a complete film. Great acting! Heart felt story! Inspiring! These are good nominees but sorry to say with the academy I don't think they are going to win. Remember Kevin Costner has more Oscars than Martin Scorcese, Stanly Kubrick, or Quinton Terantino combined!

    March 6, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  130. moviefan

    Actually, of the movies I've seen, my favorite, and pick for best movie, is "Up In The Air" which I think had the most interesting characters and a very different and interesting script. I loved Avatar and I respect The Hurt Locker and was very, very intrigued by District 9 and I really loved Inglourious Basterds, but I think the quiet and thought-provoking intrigue of Up In The Air puts it ahead for me.

    March 6, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  131. John

    I agree HURT LOCKER...was BORING after 35 min......blah!

    March 6, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  132. Bud

    I'm a combat vet. I saw both "Hurt Locker" and "Avitar." I returned to Avatar 3 tiems, finding that I saw something new each time, thereby creating a fuller story. When I went back to see "Hurt Locker" the second time, it was as boring as it was the first go around. Please don't think HL is a portrait of our soldiers. It's NOT! To me, it was a smear against our troops.

    It would seem though that Hollywood has made up it's mind about HL being Best Picture, even before the voting. Ergo, the different voting procedures. Sorry, Hollywood, it's still lipstick on a pig.

    March 6, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  133. Jo

    They just don't focus on acting anymore. And I have to say to the few who who nay-sayed "Broke Back Mountain" The script may not have been very strong, but the acting was superb! I can't think of any other two actors who could of brought that off, GAY or straight. The point that these two guys were staight is what made the movie for me. Amazing acting. And another point, sound is very important. Nothing worse than having too strain to hear dialogue, then get blasted with music. Not that you notice in the theater, then it's all loud, it's when you rent, buy or watch it on t.v.

    March 6, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  134. A movie lover

    To me "Best Picture" should be reserved for a movie that in some way advances the craft of making pictures – "Lord of the Rings" and "Gone with the Wind" or excels on all levels – acting, directing, script, cinematography – "Gladiator", "Patton" and "Casablanca." Whatever you think about "Avatar", James Cameron certainly has raised the bar for future movies, just as Peter Jackson did with "Lord of the Rings". While I think "Hurt Locker" is a wonderful film, I don't personally think has advanced the art of filmmaking to the same degreee that "Avatar" has done. In the final analysis, history decides if a movie deserves the title "Best Picture." How many people could tell you who starred in "Crash" and "Slumdog Millionaire" and who directed? But most movie fans can tell you who starred in "Gone with the Wind", even after 70 years.

    March 6, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  135. Steve

    Hollywood. The 16 Billion dollar industry filled with creative, liberal people. About the only American industry to always make money and never ask for a bailout shall we say like many other business say they need to survive. Ya gotta respect that.

    March 6, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  136. RC

    JohnQSoldier, before calling someone else an idiot, make sure that you yourself dont come across as one. Its not 'your an idiot', its 'you're an idiot'. You're an idiot.

    March 6, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  137. Jane

    P. S. I loved Avatar and went expecting not to like it, IT should win because it was very heartfelt, and such a different unique film. I SURE liked it better than Titanic. Good director, I AM waiting for it to get out so I can buy it, and I haven't wanted this in YEARS, wating for a movie to be released. A amazing film. . Jane

    March 6, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  138. Southern

    I don't know who will win.But I know who won't win. It is inconceivable that the Blind Side will win. Hollyweird would never embrace a great film with a Spirit of America them that just happens to be a true story. Too bad.

    March 6, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  139. Jane

    I watched the Hurt Locker last night, I cannot believe its even compared to the likes of AVATAR, the hurt locker was a real downer, nothing feel good abt it, or beautiful like Avatar was, My son and I looked at it, and laughed after watching it. Avatar was amazing. and it took in the most money, . the actors in the HURT LOCKER was good, no real inspiring or good message to it. Just a real disappointing. story. jane

    March 6, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  140. Dave

    If Avatar wins Best Picture, then I hope they go back to 1992 and give FurnGully the Oscar for Best Picture, because they're the same move. Is the Academy telling us they've come around to this 'message' 18 years later? Or is it just that they like environmentally themed movies where the main character becomes another species, assimilates into their culture and ultimately saves the second species' habitat from the evil humans if they're in live action and 3D?

    March 6, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  141. Scott A

    I don't see a pro war movie winning best Oscar in a world where bigots don't rule Hollywood. It's a town with some hypocrites, yes...but not bigots. Maybe if the Oscars judged were all war generals, then it might work out for them.

    March 6, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  142. ducdebrabant

    Unfortunately political pressure groups have made all the conversation about "Hurt Locker" into a conversation about the accuracy of its details or who it's based on: things which have little to do with art or filmmaking (if we expected "Gone With the Wind" to be true picture of the Civil War, it might have lost to "Stagecoach" which showed us a real stagecoach). Since "Avatar" is completely imaginary, there are no veterans to whine that it's not accurate about conditions on the planet Pandora, so it has an advantage. This does a disservice to an excellent film, which may take some poetic liberties in order to make a movie (instead of a documentary) and which may get some details about military rank wrong. When we give a professional group like our warriors not merely the honor of a movie about themselves but the notion that they are thereby the judges of its artistic quality, we do a disservice both to their actual skills and expertise and to the skills and expertise of the artists who make our motion pictures.

    March 6, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  143. Eric

    By the way...

    1 – Hurt Locker
    2 – Up
    3 – A Serious Man
    4 – Up In The Air
    5 – An Education
    6 – Avatar
    7 – District 9
    8 – Precious
    9 – The Blind Side
    10 – Inglourious Basterds

    March 6, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  144. Joe

    I haven't seen many movies this year but that doesn't include Avartar. What a lame story it presented. It surely deserves the best special effect or some award on technology. But I was supposed to see a story, not a video game. It's hard to find another big hit as bad as this one, so clique, but yes, now I recall another one similar to Avartar - Titanic. Who made them?

    March 6, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  145. ladysylar

    avatar was good visually but the storyline and dialogue was so, so and forgettable.. i just think it'd be silly if it won best picture

    March 6, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  146. Eric

    How come everyone's so grumpy on here?

    If Kathyrn Bigelow wins Best Director, that will be a major Oscar moment, groundbreaking and very deserving.

    I'm also rooting for "Up" for Best Animated Film and would be really pleased to see it win a surprise Best Picture.

    If Jeff Bridges wins, that'a a nice career accolade for a really underrated, great actor; If Jeremy Renner wins - that would be awesome since his was really the most memorable performance of the year to me.

    For Best Actress, I have a feeling there'll be a little surprise, meaning either Carey Mulligan or Gabourney Sadibe.

    March 6, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  147. Cory

    Avatar is Fern Gully 2, I mean seriously?! How does this movie deserve best picture? The plot is COMPLETELY unoriginal. Personally UP is a far better movie than Avatar could ever dream up of being. FERN GULLY PEOPLE, AVATAR IS FERN GULLY.

    March 6, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  148. Belch

    Maybe they can re-vote on Shawshank Redemption.

    March 6, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  149. a commoner

    To Mike, who liked old stars like Clark Gable, you are really showing your age dude. Those people are dead and retired. New stars have been born. Get over it. Just like I have to adapt to new stars younger than me (Zac Efron, Miley Cyrus and the whole Disney gang). I'm excited and can't wait for them to grow a little more and try on more mature roles with huge depth because I think they'll be awesome! Learn to cheer for the next generation instead of just lamenting about the 'good old days'. Clark Gable had to start somewhere too.

    March 6, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  150. a commoner

    On a side bar- maybe if you just wait for it to come out on DVD you'll be more satisfied with the Oscar results. I only spent $5 to rent a movie with a message and I was satisified. I spent $20 to be entertained with lights and explosions, 3D effects, and action, and I was equally satisfied. So both ways, I got my money's worth. I'd hate to spend $20 on a message movie that I don't even agree with. (Geisha. That was kinda gross. But for $5 bucks, I'm happy.)

    March 6, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  151. a commoner

    I liked Avatar. I don't think people who liked Avatar have no brains. It means they were entertained. That's why I go to the movies. If I'm going to spend $20 on a movie, then I want to be well entertained. But if I counted on my own desires, all Disney movies, action flicks and romantic comedies would win Best Picture at every Oscars. You can see how bad that would be. I'll be honest, Oscar night I spend most of the time going 'huh? what movie was that? when did that movie even come out? i didn't hear about that move.' but then, I often go back to rent it and find out 'oh, that's why it won! it has a poignant message' Some of my favorite movies where ones I didn't even know existed until they won or were highly nominated. Crash, Chicago, Slumdog Millionaire, Memiors of a Geisha, Little Miss Sunshine.. all movies I never would have seen without the Oscars. So maybe those 'dummies' on the Oscar panel know a thing or two after all. They know if it's up to the public we'll pick Harry Potter or American Pie. So be happy with thier choices you guys because it could be much worse. Just think Best Picture "Twilight".

    March 6, 2010 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  152. sri

    Hurt Locker would be best movie in oscars...

    March 6, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  153. Pamela

    Our American actors and actresses are on a entirely different level than English and Australian ones. How can one hope to compete with the likes of Kate Blanchett; Helen Mirren; Judy Dench; Christopher Plummer? They're light years away from us as far as true acting is concerned. Just study the characters they play...queens from another century.... profound, complex characters. I imagine they must be laughing at what we call "acting". Even Meryl Streep, our American legend, plays foreign women who begin to sound the same with similar accents and mannerisms...resembling Meryl Streep's own personality in real life. Perhaps Sandra Bullock, as well. So are they actually exposing some part of themselves or "acting".

    March 6, 2010 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  154. Chickenhawk

    I'm a huge Oscar fan, but agree - 10 movies is too many. And sadly, the voters have a short memory. Inglourious Basterds was the best film of the year, and would probably be the frontrunner if it came out later in the year. Hurt Locker is great and Avatar was spectacular. But those tales have been told before (albeit not as innovatively as Avatar). Basterds was fresh and original. And as for best actress, Gabourey Sidibe will be robbed. She literally transformed into Precious. Truly a natural talent.

    March 6, 2010 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  155. Ben

    I try to watch the Oscars every year. For me the Oscars started to loose their credibility ever since they did not even nominate Joy Luck Club for any Oscars. They lost more when Brokeback Mountain did not win. And pretty much lost the rest when It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp won. The only thing that still gives it come kind of credibility is when the underdog wins. This year the Oscars could gain some of that credibility back by having the under dogs win this year. Percious for best picture. Jeremy Renner for best actor. Woody for best supporting actor. Gabourey Sidibe for best actress. Mo'Nique for best supporting actress.

    March 5, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  156. Bob Lejeskey

    I noticed that there sure is a lot of nice, positive and extremely friendly people posting on this message board. I always feel so happy and full of joy after reading through most of these posts. I'm so glad that people have the internet to connect and reveal their true selfs to a bunch of strangers. Yeah, I'm talking about you. Your parents must be very proud!

    March 5, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  157. Bob Lejeskey

    Hey Ralpher! You have it all wrong. Some of us actually go to movies to be enlightened or to have our beliefs and thoughts challenged. Yeah, sometimes it's about entertainment (Avatar), but other times it's about seeing something that makes you think differently (Crash or Brokeback Mountain). For you to say that the reason to see movies is just for entertainment is ludicrous. And, as for your idea of having the public choosing the "best" movie based on how well it entertains is foolish. Frankly, I don't trust the public because I don't think they are smart enough as a group to pick the best. Tastes vary too much. Besides, they have the People's Choice Awards show for that purpose. If the Academy picked according to what the public liked then we would have movies such as The Transformers or any of the SAW movies up for awards. That would make me want to vomit.

    March 5, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  158. Kevin

    Its interesting the people that talk about "story" or "acting" or "script" as reasons for why they liked one movie, or didn't like another. I feel very few people remember the truth behind all of your movies/stories that you will ever see. There are only 6 stories, ever.

    When someone says "such and such movie had a great story" of course it did, its been told before. Did someone put enough filler around the story before to make you remember it? Apparently not. When someone says "such and such movie was boring" was it? Or was it that you've seen it before, and recognized it?

    To say that "acting" or "script" makes a movie is as false as you can get. Does that mean a real story, which obviously has no script, and has actors that must follow pre-ordained abilites, get disqualified? Or what about a movie based off of a book (say, Lord of the rings) which has to take its script from a pre-written form of media not intended for film? Again, these are just things people throw out to make it sound like there is some valid point for their pick to win.

    The value of an item is measured by how much it is worth to someone. No matter how technically appealing, well acted, or superiorly scripted a movie is, if noone likes/is willing to devote time to/rent/buy it, than it is a failure. Money is not the only measurement. How many people would go back and devote their time to the movie you thought should win, and how many went and saw another movie for a 3rd or 4th time? Thats not advertising, thats enjoyment.

    And for those who blame marketing for a movies failure, or another movies success, why not try looking in the past to movies that have become sheer cult classics and endure all of time, but had little to no advertising/fan base. And than look at how many movies had huge marketing blitzes, only to fall flat at the box office. It ain't all marketing people.

    March 5, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  159. Alek

    Avatar was terrible. The story sucked. If you like Avatar, you probably also enjoyed:

    1.) Every Michael Bay movie ever made.
    2.) The first is bad enough.

    March 5, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  160. Str8 Outta Tx

    these awards are all messed up. for instance... at the grammy's and the a.m.a.'s and other musical awards, people that really didnt do shit got the nod over others that i felt deserved it. did you notice that when michael jackson was alive, nobody liked him, and most considered a child molester. all the sudden he's dead and everyone is on his t.i.p. again. why?!

    March 5, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  161. Eric

    A few words in favor of the new voting system:

    With the traditional "vote-for-one-movie / highest-vote-getter-wins" voting system, a vote for a serious underdog is effectively a vote for the front runner...because it's NOT a vote for the 2nd favorite movie, the only "real competition" for the front runner.

    This problem is seen all the time in US Presidential elections, where the Libertarian candidate is usually considered to "steal votes" from the Democratic candidate. In the absence of the Libertarian candidate, the majority of the Libertarian voters would vote for the Democratic candidate. Libertarian voters who realize this are thus influenced to vote Democratic (to try and ensure the Republican candidate doesn't win). This effectively under-represents the interest in the Libertarian party...since they get fewer votes.

    The new voting system, instead of choosing a winner after one round of voting, chooses the biggest loser at the end of multiple rounds of voting, until only 1 winner remains. It's kind of like "the last movie standing".

    March 5, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  162. Tim

    I totally called all of the winners in 2005. Saw Crash in the late summer and said "Wow, Great Movie" Then at Oscar time, I watched Brokeback and said, "Dang, that was some awesome Directing, Heath was amazing, but as an overall film, something was missing." I walked across the hall and watched Capote. I came out and said "Sorry Heath".

    Since then, my track record hasn't been too good. I've watched all of these movies once when they were released and I have to tell you that if I am simply looking back to what I remember my feelings being after the film, Hurt Locker and Avatar aren't holding. Maybe people have seen Avatar enough times that it's the only thing they can remember, but I think Up left me with the deepest impression, hands down. And surprisingly, after that, District 9. Ridiculous, right?

    I must admit, I'm a little broken. Films like Invictus and Blindside that retell a true story don't really rank on my "best picture" radar. Walking out of those movies, I certainly was satisfied and entertained. I just feel that they were crafted to tell me how I should feel, rather than being an experience that caused my feelings.

    Full Disclosure: I haven't seen An Education, Precious, or A Serious Man

    March 5, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  163. guest

    @ ralpher

    avatar had amazing ticket sales - nobody will dispute that fact. but look at the number of screens it played on and the amounts of money poured into advertisement to make people go. people do do what the media tells them to because this is america and that's how people are trained.

    the hurt locker has been around for more than just seven months. in september of 2008, it was first released at the venice film festival. it then hung around for an entire year while buzz started to stir around the film. then it was released in summer 09. this directly proves that it has staying power and it is a good movie. what hurt locker, unfortunately, didn't have was a huge promotion budget to appease those such as yourself.

    March 5, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  164. Head Diva In Charge

    I saw "Avatar" and I really didn't like it. I just hope the computer doesn't win over an actual story.

    March 5, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  165. guest

    @ everett

    opening:
    avatar: $22,313 average per screen
    hurt locker: $36,338 average per screen
    - boxofficemojo stats

    if money is what you believe should be the main consideration for which movie is the best, look at the facts. put hurt locker onto as many screens as avatar was, and change avatar to a rated-r movie so that the same demographic is available - i would be very surprised to see avatar come out on top. you're looking at ridiculously skewed data.

    March 5, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  166. Six Pack Joe

    It's not as if there aren't aesthetic standards. Some folks have better skills at judging what deserves merit and what doesn't–in the same way that some folks are better able to discern what is ethical behavior and what is not. Experience and training add depth (beyond mere box office glory) to the faculty of judging film. a flick is complex creation with a wide range of variables. The "Best" movie is the one that excels in all the parts that make up a flick. That simple fact alone should have kept Avatar off the list of nominees.

    Anyone with cinema experience and/or training will agree with this simple conclusions. To those who think its simply a matter of personal like or dislike I suggest thinking in terms of an ethical analogy: Is it simply a matter of personal like or dislike to state that needlessly inflicting pain on someone is wrong? I don't think so–and neither do you, in so far as you have an ethical capacity.

    Avatar is visually interesting and deserves some "special visual effects" recognition–and that's all it deserves.

    March 5, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  167. Joe

    The truth is, in many years the Academy's choice for best picture has been ridiculous. (Case in point, 1998: Titanic wins best picture and ten other Oscars despite a ridiculous script.) The truth also is that the only reason the Academy increased the number of nominees from five to ten was to increase ticket sales for the industry: five more films that can add, "Nominated for Best Picture" to their advertising campaigns.

    That said, those who say that Hurt Locker was boring or who said it doesn't have a story need to actually study the film. Sure, it's more episodic than a more conventionally structured film (Avatar, for example) and so takes a little more work by someone watching it. But it's a brilliantly structured, ambitious film that has far more tension and suspense than does Avatar.

    March 5, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  168. Nina

    I have never seen a "criteria" for an Academy Award for best picture. How do they pick that?

    If I were picking.. I would choose a film that moves me, who's story is compelling (great writing) that is a visually beautiful, the acting is dead on .. Great editing, direction.. Music.. all that in one place.. in one film

    It seems instead what we get is and event that is more about who wore the best outfit.. And "oh yeah.. we give some awards to crap we think was nice and more so to promote our own industry"

    .... So I agree with those who think it is a bit of a joke...
    For example:
    Avatar was a nice film.. but it was as shallow as it was visually amazing Meaning all eye candy no substance .. Trite story line, characters, rife with stereotypes.. ugh.. come on...

    Hollywood... give us something good.. And Academy.. some little indie films are much more meaning full than all the junk they make on the big budget.....Work with us here!!! ( off soapbox now) my 2 cents

    March 5, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  169. ginny

    Okay, here's why I go to a movie. I want to be entertained, I want to feel something and I want to leave the theatre saying "WOW". There have been a limited number of movies that have done that to me over the years, "Silence Of The Lambs"; "Kill Bill II"; "Pulp Fiction"; "Apocalypse Now", to name a few. "Avatar" did that to me this year.

    March 5, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  170. Kim

    It's interesting to me that the voting has changed this year and that the same method may be used in political races. Understanding the intricacies of this is a real help. This is what I call journalism. Informing the public instead of just regurgitating reactionary blather to whatever various stars have done.

    There are a lot of emotional comments and even personal attacks flying back and forth here. There usually are on most places where the general public can comment. I've never understood that and
    I don't think any of us really need that. Is it improving our knowledge of how things work? Does it make a positive difference to attack someone, and usually someone you have never met? We all have our opinions and our favorites. The People's Choice Awards are the ones the public choose. This is the Oscars. Yes, it's the industry patting itself on the back but every industry has that. I've been to enough corporate pep rallies to know. The difference is the Academy Awards are broadcast to the world while most corporate awards are not.

    People generally pay attention to a broad variety of subjects, even if they are not interested in them or even disagree with them. It's called a broad based knowledge and it's fairly rare these days. So I really enjoyed hearing the variety of well thought out, rather than reactionary responses here. A good blog always prompts many posts. And I think this was a good topic. I'll hear and see enough about the dresses and the internal fighting on Sunday... and Monday.... etc.

    March 5, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  171. What's award about

    After reading the comments, I can help thinking about the annual baseball discussion about who should be MVP. Is the award for the player that had the best statistics or the player that helped his team the most to win games. Here the question is the Best Picture the one the grossed the most dollars, was creatively/artisticaly put together best or what.

    If you don't agree on what the award stands for, it is no wonder you can't agree on which flick should get it.

    March 5, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  172. Ralpher

    Several comments.
    First, why do we make movies? Seriously, think about that question. I go to escape; to be entertained; to have fun. I have absolutely no interest in movies like "Precious" that are both uninteresting and depressing. Life is bad enough; I want to have an escape.
    Second, does a movie that no one sees merit recognition? Isnt the public a far better judge than the critics? I think so. "Hurt Locker" may or may not be wonderful, but no one saw it; so, does it merit an award?
    Lastly, should the industry insiders be voting for awards for themselves? Doesnt the Peoples Choice awards really serve as a better indicator of what the public wants to see? Actually, doesnt ticket sales serve as a better indicator? Now, yes, you can trash junk movies as being really poor quality, but if the public enjoys them, then that is the test of how entertainment is being judged.
    Critics tend to love movies with a "message". The public tends to love movies that bring them, for a few moments, away from the harsh world around them.
    Movies like "Avator" deserve recognition for what they do achieve – they makes people smile for two hours; they bring fun to our lives. For that, those who produce them should be thanked.

    March 5, 2010 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  173. Jerry

    I agree this shouldn't be based solely on popularity. Precious is Phenomenal! The Hurt Locker Amazing! The Blind Side Great! A film must meat many qualifications to really be considered The Best Picture. Style, Script, Acting, Sets, Costumes, Score, all of these must play an key part other wise the movie is only partially complete.

    But again what is popular is just that what the consumer wants to see. And that holds a lot of value when you are in the business of trying to make money off of entertaining people.

    I don't think the oscars should have added 5 to the Best picture, I think they should have added a Most Popular Category and allowed the consumers to vote.

    This way the peers can rate the Best Picture on measurable standards while the masses could feel involved by voicing what they like.

    March 5, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  174. Jerry

    Excellent explanation of the election process. Thank you.

    March 5, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  175. Kevin

    Lets be honest, any award show now days is a joke. I use to respect the awards given out, until I began to see a slow change in the "best movie" category from "What is the best movie" to "what is the most artsy/political/underdog movie we can find?" This change coincided with a change in critics reviews, and yet, the public didn't change. Year after year the public shows, time and time again, that they are not interested in the same things the elite in hollywood, or the artsy/pansy critics, are interested in.

    As an example, a few years back there was 3 or 4 blockbuster movies that came out in about 1 months time. Each and every one of them was given mostly blah or negative reviews by critics. Yet each and every one of them did very well in theatre ticket sales, public review, and later DVD sales. This year, Avatar is above and beyond the pack. Never before has a movie seemed to garner so many repeat viewings as this one. The public is not just saying "yeah, I liked it" but "yeah, I liked it, and I've seen it 3 times" This is normally reserved for a previously installed fan base (think Lord of the Rings, Twilight, or even Star Wars) something Avatar did not have.

    This method of voting (and I am familiar with it since my state does a similar thing for voting) has been designed to handicap the top films. I mean, to take the losers votes, and use them to decide the winner?

    March 5, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  176. Jerry

    I no longer care who wins Best Picture after reading this story.

    That is so sad. For decades I have cared. I certainly haven't always agreed with the pick but I always cared.

    If the top vote getter doesn't win then the entire thing is COMPLETELY MEANINGLESS.

    March 5, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  177. Nick

    Avatar, while visually stunning and extremely successful, should not win best picture. With a subpar dialogue and subpar storyline, it does not have all of the qualities of best picture of the year.

    @WMSCOTT: Ticket sales should have nothing to do with this award. Just because a film is successful and popular does not mean that it is the best film. If these were the only factor, than the twilight series, the harry potter series, etc. would always have a movie nominated. While many people enjoy these movies, they are in no way, shape, or form able to be considered as one of the best movies of the year.

    I just hope that the Oscars do not eventually turn into the grammy's. This years grammy awards was the BIGGEST joke of an awards ceremony that I have ever seen. ever.

    March 5, 2010 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  178. Steven

    All I can comment is this, Sandra Bullock has been in the film industry for a long time and she displayed a very powerfull roll this year for the Blind Side, She deserves to win this one. I know she is going up against Meryl who again is a goddess in the film industry. But she has 2 oscars already

    March 5, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  179. S

    This is for Everett, and many more out there who are attributing ticket sales to the worthiness of a film. You have to look at several factors 1) star driven or not, 2) budget, 3) studio backed or not re: advertising and marketing, and most of all, 4) distribution. In the case of Hurt Locker, it was a tiny movie with an extremely limited release, which, against all odds, spoke to critics and movie goers alike. It was only scheduled to be out for a few months and played in very few cities under these limited parameters. As someone close to this picture, I respect anyone's opinion to like or dislike a film; that's what filmmaking is all about. To equivocate the worthiness to take home an award, based solely on how many individuals saw it , is a bit naive. Respectfully, one needs to be perhaps a little bit more knowledgeable about about the "business" part of the movie business.

    March 5, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  180. LJ

    10 nominees for best picture is too many (there aren't 10 nominees for best actress, etc) and this years voting system, as described makes no sense. More to the point, my problem with the Academy Awards is that it is Hollywood patting itself on the back. What about the opinions of the public who pay their exorbitant salaries via movie tickets? Same comments on self congratulations go for all the award shows.

    March 5, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  181. Brad

    Avatar is one of the best movies ever made. There is absolutely no question it should be nominated (especially with 10 nominees). You don't have to pick it (although I would), but it should definitely be nominated.

    I'll never understand why people comment on a story just to say they don't like the subject matter. Why in the world would you even bother with it, then? Oh, and Brokeback Mountain was very average. It definitely did not deserve to win Best Picture.

    March 5, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  182. Amulya

    if Avatar not a winner then Academy will loose the credibility for ever, Acadamy is loosing since slumdog

    March 5, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  183. DanS

    With this type of system they will have to rename the category to 'The Most Consistent Picture.' The winner will be the one that 'averages out' the best in the voting.

    Best picture has always been subjective and the academy has gotten it wrong more than once. I will say though that I'm glad they went to ten. I've seen six of the ten and thought they were all pretty darn good movies even if the subject wasn't something that moved me. I will be dissapointed if Avatar wins because I thought it was the weakest of the six I've seen. Personal favorite: District 9

    March 5, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  184. rgw

    popularity at the time of voting....all a joke

    March 5, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  185. wm scot

    The best picture award should be awarded to the one that has the highest amount of tickets sales ! Period end of story !

    March 5, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  186. Everett

    I agree with Jim, Hurt locker was boring.

    March 5, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  187. Babs

    @JohnQSoldier – I also loved the Hurt Locker, but I think you missed what it's about. It was not a patriotic movie...nor was it antiwar. It was all about how "war is a drug" for the bomb squad. That's what made the movie great, there was no political pretext.

    March 5, 2010 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  188. Kent

    I LIKE THE NEW VOTING SYSTEM AND THE INCLUSION OF 10 BEST PICTURE NOMINEES !

    March 5, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  189. Everett

    Avatar wins BEST Picture hands down. Hurt Locker only made 16 million in 3 months so nobody was interested in that movie at all. Avatar dominanted the World with its awesome special effects, great story line and messages galore. Avatar is closing in on the 3 billion dollar mark and Cameron and company deserve every award that's out there. I guess the producer from Hurt Locker is trying to steal votes via emails but he won't succeed. Avatar will make history Sunday night!!!!!!

    March 5, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  190. fattmerris

    10 nominees for Best Picture is flat out rediculous. It's hard enough to find 1 great movie released each year, let alone 5. Now they expect us to believe there are 10 movies worthy of the Best Picture award? No Way! The only reason for this is to boost lackluster sales. Now they can slap "Nominated for Best Picture" on advertising. This greatly reduces the power and meaning of "Winner of Best Picture".

    March 5, 2010 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  191. PJ

    Hurt Locker deserves best picture but Cameron deserves best director for the years and years of work he put in. And there's no need to comment if all you do is bash the movie industry

    March 5, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  192. Mike

    Oscars & Movie Stars ..... we don't have any movie stars anymore. There used to be Bogart, Gable, Cooper, Gardner ... these were movie stars that didn't need their picture on TV every day to be known. They were movie stars ....

    Now we have Jolie, Aniston, Kutcher, Hilton, Richie ...... what jokes when it comes to stars these days. I'm surprised "Punked" didn't get nominated as best picture and Kutcher as best male actor.

    March 5, 2010 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  193. VAVoter

    Avatar was clearly the best picture. Anyone who says otherwise is just a person who is "pro-underdog" no matter what and likes to beat up on the smart kid/frontrunner. It was an excellent film, a trendsetter, and a money-maker and it deserves to win best picture. period....and by the way, the fact that you "pooh-poohed" the concept of "I see you" lets me know that you just don't have it in you. Its no surprise that you didn't like the movie.

    March 5, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  194. Barbara

    I agree with Mark J. I've become disenchanted with the Academy Awards ever since they did not give Brokeback Mountain best picure. I know there will be many of you who will disagree with me on that one, but best picture should go to a film that is remembered years later. I remember Brokeback Mountain but only have a vague recollection of Crash which actually received the award that year.

    March 5, 2010 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  195. JohnQSoldier

    "Jim" your an idiot... Great Movie! Very realistic and shows the American people exactly what our troops do for our great nation...

    Thank You Troops!!!!!

    March 5, 2010 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  196. Bubba

    Jim and Tom are SOOOOO cool....they dont like the academy awards and every movie sucked this year....What the hell do you two do with your life that is so great?

    March 5, 2010 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  197. Mark J

    I don't think Best Pictures should be voted on based on how much you personally loved the film. A Best Picture should be a film where all the pieces came together very well, acting, directing, editing, writing, filming style, etc. They seem to pick too many films based on popularity. The smaller film festivals are much more accurate as far as picking the better "Best Pictures."

    March 5, 2010 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  198. Seanzy

    Sure, Avatar made a lot of money, but it is not worthy in the least to be nominated for best picture. It may have been a fun movie to watch, but so were other better movies. Think about it; the acting was average, the storyline wasn't surprising, and the dialogue was below average. "I see you." HAH what a joke. A failed attempt at another "I'll never let go."

    March 5, 2010 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  199. Sin Amor

    Inglorious Basterds! Oh, and the system is flawed, mathematically. Why must this all be so complicated? Vote for a movie for best picture; whichever gets the most votes wins, even if it's close. It's likely a GOOD thing that the vote be close, signaling some quality films in contention (at least in the eyes of the Academy). What's the big deal if it's close? I don't get it. Vote. Count. Declare. End of story.

    March 5, 2010 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  200. Bob

    It's all about how big each movie's industry 'machine' is. Avatar will win because Cameron has clout.

    March 5, 2010 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  201. Jim

    Hurt locker is such a nonsense film: no storyline nothing. But every other film is hackneyed junk (with minor/dumb twists if need be). No picture should be awarded anything this year: a total disappointment.

    March 5, 2010 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  202. kghj

    @ Tom: Could I ask why you bothered to read the article and comment, then?

    March 5, 2010 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  203. Tom

    Who really cares? The Academy Awards are a joke, anyway.

    March 5, 2010 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |

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