Over at The Hollywood Reporter, Scott Feinberg was invited to the office of one of the 371 members of the Academy's directors branch to sit in his presence while he filled out his ballot for the 2013 Oscars.
I have included the final results at the bottom of this post, but more revealing are some of the reasons he chose not to vote for some nominees and why he chose to vote for others. The results are fascinating, enlightening and, at times, embarrassing. There's no way of knowing if this is how everyone fills out their ballots, but I'm pretty sure a combination of this one voter's decision making "techniques" are utilized by most.
Highlights include his referring to The Hobbit's use of 48 frames per second a "noble, but failed" experiment.
For Best Production Design he dismisses The Hobbit, Life of Pi and Les Miserables then says, "So that leaves Anna Karenina, which is a movie I loathed, and Lincoln. I'm not gonna vote for Lincoln for best picture, but I have a lot of personal respect for Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy and I want to help the film, so when I can throw it a vote, like here, I will."
Referring to "Suddenly" from Les Miserables he calls it "a very boring song and an absolutely blatant attempt to win a best song Oscar." He then adds, "That upsets me."
His comments on the Best Director category are interesting, but I wonder what you'll make of his reasoning for not voting for Michael Haneke (Amour): "Michael Haneke has pissed me off in the past because he's made movies that are so misanthropic. He just hates human beings, and I happen to be a human being and don't like being shit on."
In the end he decides to vote for Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), but adds "[W]hich I don't feel is the best-directed film of the year -- there's nothing innovative about it -- but I'm swept away with the gravity of the subject matter." For the record, he says he would have voted for Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), who was not nominated.
For Best Supporting Actress he says Anne Hathaway is "going to win because she makes you cry and because I find her charming." In the Best Actress category he says, "I also don't vote for anyone whose name I can't pronounce. Quvez---? Quzen---? Quyzenay? Her parents really put her in a hole by giving her that name -- Alphabet Wallis."
When he reaches Best Supporting Actor he says, "Tommy Lee Jones has been such a bitter guy -- all that scowling at the Golden Globes? I’m telling you, people don’t like the guy."
One reason he doesn't vote for Denzel Washington (Flight) for Best Actor is becaue "he's already won two Academy Awards", he's partial to Life of Pi for Best Adapted Screenplay "because we all thought that it was an unfilmable book" and he continues the Haneke hate for Original Screenplay by saying, "Amour is immediately disqualified--it's just a woman dying, and there's no real story, and it made me feel like shit."
And, finally, his thoughts on Best Picture:
This is a preferential system. I'm putting Amour at No. 9 because I'm just pissed off at that film. Beasts of the Southern Wild is a movie that I just didn't understand, so that's my No. 8. Les Miserables goes in seventh place — it's not just the most disappointing film of the year but the most disappointing film in many years. Above that I'm putting Silver Linings Playbook, which is just a "blah" film. Django Unchained will go into my fifth slot — it's a fun movie, but it's basically just Quentin Tarantino masturbating for almost three hours. Next up is Life of Pi because of how unique it is and for holding my attention up until its irritating ending. Argo is gonna go in third place, but I don't want it to win because I don't think it deserves to win and am annoyed that it is on track to win for the wrong reasons. Actually, come to think of it, do we have to put a film in every slot? Because what I want is for my best picture choice to have the best possible shot, so why even give any support to the others? [He has his assistant call the Oscar voting helpline, finds out that voters can leave slots blank and promptly removes all of the aforementioned selections.] I'm basically OK with one of two films winning. Lincoln is going in my second slot; it's a bore, but it's Spielberg, it's well-meaning, and it's important. Zero Dark Thirty is my No 1.
There's much, much more over at the full story which you can read here, but like I said, here are all of his votes.
But please don't leave without adding your voice in the comments below. What do you think of what you've just read? What do you think of the conclusions he came to and why?
BEST SOUND MIXING: Les Miserables
BEST SOUND EDITING: Skyfall
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Life of Pi
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Lincoln
BEST ORIGINAL SONG: "Skyfall" (Skyfall)
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Life of Pi
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING: Les Miserables
BEST FILM EDITING: Zero Dark Thirty
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Searching for Sugar Man
BEST SHORT (ANIMATED): Paperman
BEST SHORT: [Abstained]
BEST SHORT (LIVE ACTION): Curfew
BEST DIRECTING: Lincoln
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Snow White and the Huntsman
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Skyfall
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Wreck-It Ralph
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
BEST ACTRESS: Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
BEST ACTOR: Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Life of Pi
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Zero Dark Thirty
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Kon-Tiki (Norway)
BEST PICTURE: Zero Dark Thirty