Monday, April 15, 2024

Oscars: Older Members are Concerned About Online Voting


Older members of the motion picture academy are worried about online voting. I spoke to several today at lunch, mostly about which movies they liked etc in my continuing unofficial poll. More on that in a minute. I got a lot of responses about the new online voting, which isn’t difficult and should be a breeze for voters under 60.

But what about the great number of Academy members over 60? In my own life, I know plenty of people 80 and older who use the internet every day and don’t think twice about it. My pal Freddie Ross Hancock, who started BAFTA in the United States and can do just about anything, is a computer whiz.  My mom (who is not yet 80 and refers to DVR as “taping”) loves her desktop, laptop and iPhone.

What I’ve learned recently is that a lot of people who you’d think could do it are very concerned about screwing it up. One actor said to me today: “I’m less worried about who or what I am voting for than the actually voting. The BAFTA ballot is really making me nervous.”

No one wants to make a mistake. A lot of people told me they will use requested paper ballots. I do think the Academy will be getting a lot of Help Requests from members in the next week. Change isn’t easy.

Meantime, my completely strawish poll moves on with a show of hands and basic anecdotes. Sometimes older Academy members like or dislike a movie or performance because it triggers a memory. It’s not often but it’s always interesting. A lot of them remember Frederic March in the original non musical movie of “Les Miserables.” Now they can’t get the songs out of their heads from Tom Hooper’s musical movie. No one has mentioned “too many closeups.” No one. They love the actors, and the songs. Almost all have made it to theatre screenings instead of watching DVDs at home.

“Lincoln” is proving very interesting. East coasters love it. The West coasters dig DDL and Sally Field, always mention Tommy Lee Jones. But they are not excited about the movie itself. Lincoln, of course, never had to raise money in Hollywood.

Today I heard a lot about “The Life of Pi.” When they’ve seen it, they’ve loved it. I heard “Masterpiece” a couple of times.  A new name came up a lot today: Naomi Watts from “The Impossible.” She has a good shot at rounding out the Best Actress list. Joaquin Phoenix’s name is mentioned too. But he should know that Academy members are aware Phoenix bashed the Oscars in an interview– which appeared in print, of course.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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