The success of the Hollywood Reporter’s annual “Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot” feature means that other magazines and websites have started copying the idea. Next Best Picture copied the idea with their piece “Anonymous Oscar Ballots.” It’s basically the exact same thing – they identify which branch the Oscar voter belongs to and they just transcribe his or her feelings about the nominees and how they’re voting and why. NBP did three voters in one post, but only the first two voters said anything of interest. Or maybe that’s because I love that these two voters despised Banshees of Inisherin, the most overrated f–king Best Picture nominee. Here are some highlights from Voter #1, a “voter at large” in AMPAS.
On “Everything Everywhere All At Once”: I saw it at SXSW last year. I didn’t get it initially as a middle-aged white man. I recognized there was certainly a lot of movie in there, but it didn’t resonate with me. And then it was one of the craziest Q&As I’d ever seen. It turned into a sort of group therapy thing with the audience. And then I saw it twice more. And then it wasn’t until the third viewing that it finally clicked. It’s exhilarating to see a generation of films made that are not designed to speak to me as a white guy that I have to work to get into emotionally to appreciate. But I think it’s a fantastic achievement. The ability to put that movie together is something special.
On “The Banshees Of Inisherin”: I actually despise that movie. I got incensed by these two characters I totally disliked. I want to buy some therapy for both of them and call it a day. Maybe I don’t get it because it’s an Irish thing, but they’re both such jerks. I’m glad it worked for others but not for me.
Best Actor: It should be Brendan Fraser. I have some complicated feelings about “The Whale” but not about him. I thought he was extraordinary. And I’m a sucker for a good comeback story.
Best Supporting Actress: My partner and I had the most vehement disagreement over this category. He wants it to go to Stephanie Hsu. I’m voting for Jamie Lee Curtis. We’ve had some heated passionate conversations about this, and I just keep coming back to the fact that Jamie has never won. And he’s like, “How can you vote for this over Jobu Tupaki?!” Watch me! But in all honesty, I’ll be thrilled for any of these five women to win. This may be the toughest category this year.
Best Supporting Actor: It’s not even a race. Ke Huy Quan
Now, I don’t despise Banshees, but I do feel like people are pretending to like it because they want to believe it’s some brilliant allegory. It’s not. It’s just a stupidly overwrought film about Irish blokes. Now, Voter #2 is a member of the Sound Branch of the Academy and they hated Banshees as well. Some highlights:
On All Quiet & Babylon: I watched part of “All Quiet On The Western Front,” and I just decided I didn’t need to see body parts flying around, so I shut it off. “Babylon” was just so over the top, and I don’t like to think of Hollywood when I watch movies. I want to escape.
Banshees: I didn’t understand the love for “The Banshees Of Inisherin.” It was a miserable waste of time and money. Two guys used to be friends, and now they aren’t? What’s the point of that?
On Tar: “Tár” was a great film. It was extremely well done for what it was. But I have to admit; I didn’t like the premise. Cate Blanchett does a great job, as she always does. I wouldn’t say I liked that she was this predatory lesbian. And I read reviews about the real person it’s based on, and she didn’t seem to be like that. It’s engaging but depressing. I appreciated that the music was actually played live.
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett was fantastic, but I’m voting for Michelle Yeoh in “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” Andrea Riseborough is fine in “To Leslie,” but I’m very upset Danielle Deadwyler didn’t get in. I would have voted for her. “Till” was an amazing, nuanced movie that really made you feel a lot. I’m not sure what happened there. The way it handled the violence and bravery of this mother was exemplary, but she isn’t even on the ballot. Ana de Armas is ok. She’s playing a recognizable famous person, and she cries a lot. What else is there?
Best Supporting Actress: Angela Bassett for me. Though I think Jamie Lee Curtis will win. You have to ask…are people voting for the performance or that person’s career?
Best Supporting Actor: I’m voting for Ke Huy Quan. What a great performance and personal story. I also met Brian Tyree Henry, who was so nice. It’s funny how that influences my vote. People complained about Andrea Riseborough’s nomination for soliciting votes but everyone does that.
Love the hate for Ana de Armas’s performance in Blonde! There’s some consistency there – voters across the board are like “why is Ana in this category??” I’m actually dying at “I read reviews about the real person it’s based on, and she didn’t seem to be like that” – Lydia Tar is not a real person and she’s not based on a real person. There is a lesbian conductor working in Europe (who is not a predator) but Todd Field and Cate Blanchett have said repeatedly that Tar is a work of wholly original fiction. It’s bonkers that we’re on the eve of the Oscars and people are still googling “is Lydia Tar real?” and “who is Tar based on?”
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images, promotional images from ‘Tar’ and ‘Banshees’ and ‘Blonde’.