How Did Moonlight Win Best Picture?

Heksagon
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Re: How Did Moonlight Win Best Picture?

Postby Heksagon » Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:51 am

Franz Ferdinand wrote:A nostalgic oral history of Oscar's greatest blunder.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/featu ... co-1087829


My favorite quote from here:

I was watching live and I probably knew what had happened before anybody else — 'cause I saw the panic-stricken look on the producer's face. When he walked out there and snatched that card out of Warren's hand, that's when I knew redemption was mine. I was finally off the hook. Yeah, OK, I had to live that down: "Oh, how could he," "That's a bonehead," "Nobody's ever done that in the history of Miss Universe." But the Oscars is the biggest night in Hollywood, and when they did it, I lit a cigar and drank a glass of scotch and celebrated. I was free! Thank you, God! -Steve Harvey

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Re: How Did Moonlight Win Best Picture?

Postby Franz Ferdinand » Tue Feb 27, 2018 11:16 am

A nostalgic oral history of Oscar's greatest blunder.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/featu ... co-1087829

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Re: How Did Moonlight Win Best Picture?

Postby Sabin » Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:42 pm

Big Magilla wrote
High Noon received its highest praise for editing, song and score and was justly awarded in those categories. It should have been nominated for cinematography and sound recording, but there was nothing special about its art direction and it didn't have a costume designer. It had costumers or wardrobe handlers who picked costumes off a rack somewhere.

That's interesting. I didn't know that about its costumes.

One more incredibly obvious snub: Katy Jurado. I haven't seen all of the nominated performances in the Best Supporting Actress lineup, but Jurado seems like a front-runner to win the Oscar that year. High Noon should've received ten nominations. I think it stopped being the front-runner the morning the nominations came out.

I apologize for highjacking this thread.
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Re: How Did Moonlight Win Best Picture?

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:18 am

Good point about the DGA playing catch-up with Ford.

High Noon received its highest praise for editing, song and score and was justly awarded in those categories. It should have been nominated for cinematography and sound recording, but there was nothing special about its art direction and it didn't have a costume designer. It had costumers or wardrobe handlers who picked costumes off a rack somewhere.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Re: How Did Moonlight Win Best Picture?

Postby Sabin » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:28 am

Big Magilla wrote
I don't know about the Golden Globe. Maybe they were impressed by the film's box office - it was the highest grossing film of the year.

The DGA wasn't an anti-High Noon thing. It was support for John Ford finally getting to realize his long held dream of making The Quiet Man on location in Ireland and doing it well.

Perhaps it was also the fact that the DGA awards weren't in existence during his heyday in the 1930s and 1940s, so this was the best opportunity to honor him.

High Noon's at the 25th Academy Awards is very interesting. It tied The Quiet Man and Moulin Rouge with most nominations, with seven. But it didn't receive nominations for Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design, or Sound Recording. You'd think it would pick up at least two of those, right? I would say evidence of its underperformance began on Oscar morning. I've wondered how it's possible that The Bad and the Beautiful won five Oscars without Picture or Director, but if there was a smear campaign against High Noon's Carl Foreman it makes sense.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: How Did Moonlight Win Best Picture?

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:08 am

Sabin wrote:
Big Magilla wrote
Hedda Hopper's anti-Communist rantings torpedoed High Noon.

I've heard, but High Noon lost the Golden Globe to The Greatest Show on Earth and the DGA to The Quiet Man. I know those awards carried a different weight, but are you saying that the collapse of High Noon began with those awards?

No.

I don't know about the Golden Globe. Maybe they were impressed by the film's box office - it was the highest grossing film of the year.

The DGA wasn't an anti-High Noon thing. It was support for John Ford finally getting to realize his long held dream of making The Quiet Man on location in Ireland and doing it well.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Re: How Did Moonlight Win Best Picture?

Postby Sabin » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:37 am

Big Magilla wrote
Hedda Hopper's anti-Communist rantings torpedoed High Noon.

I've heard, but High Noon lost the Golden Globe to The Greatest Show on Earth and the DGA to The Quiet Man. I know those awards carried a different weight, but are you saying that the collapse of High Noon began with those awards?
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: How Did Moonlight Win Best Picture?

Postby Big Magilla » Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:07 pm

Sabin:

Hedda Hopper's anti-Communist rantings torpedoed High Noon.

Born on the Fourth of July was the favorite, and Stone did win Best Director, but Driving Miss Daisy was also extremely popular and shouldn't have been a big surprise. The real surprise of 1989 was Daniel Day-Lewis winning Best Actor over Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman.

I don't think the new Academy members added last year could have swayed anything on their own.
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Re: How Did Moonlight Win Best Picture?

Postby Sabin » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:53 pm

Mister Tee wrote
We did certainly note, right on Oscar night, that, over and above the monumental envelope screw-up, the Moonlight win was an upset of extremely rare vintage. Sabin wondered that very night if it was the biggest best picture upset of our lifetimes. I said that I thought the Fosse win over Coppola in ’72 was more astonishing, but that to a degree reflected my old-timer’s view that film and director are intrinsically connected prizes (a supposition that may no longer apply). In terms of simply the best film category: there have been other upsets, but very few times when a name was read out that simply hadn’t seemed possible going into the evening. Which is to say, Crash’s win may have been horrifying, but it’s not as if no one had suggested it might win; Shakespeare in Love and Driving Miss Daisy had similarly been seen as possible upsets, though not favorites; and Spotlight last year – along with The Big Short – was viewed by many as just as likely to triumph as The Revenant.

Wasn't Driving Miss Daisy more than a possible upset? It had the most nominations, the highest gross, and despite its lack of a directing nomination it was up for Best Film Editing. I remember reading an old Entertainment Weekly that predicted its victory. I always thought that Born on the Fourth of July was the favorite but it didn't quite catch on fire and there was reticence against honoring Oliver Stone (and condemning Vietnam) again.

The more I look back on other ceremonies, the more it seems like gazing into a different era where the nature of the race was different. It's almost like comparing how political parties picked their nominees before the modern primary system. A similar upset would require a movie to win a similar number of awards as La La Land, and most of them didn't exist in the 1950s. I keep going back farther and farther to find something similar...The Greatest Show on Earth over High Noon? If High Noon couldn't win the DGA over The Quiet Man, it couldn't have been that much of a favorite. An American in Paris over A Place in the Sun? A Place in the Sun wasn't the nomination leader. Was it Casablanca over The Song of Bernadette? Let's put it another way. When was the last time as heavily-favored a front-runner as La La Land underperformed? La La Land was predicted in some corners to tie the record number of wins. It didn't win a single thing for the first two hours of the ceremony, losing Sound Mixing, Film Editing, and Costume Design to Hacksaw Ridge and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I think elsewhere Italiano mentioned Reds as a contender, but that still doesn't track for me. Giant?

But I digress...

Here's my secret hope for how Moonlight won Best Picture...the new membership. We're looking at a new bloc of voters. We have no idea what their taste is. And we lost an old bloc of voters and we can speculate what their taste is. I don't want to get my hopes up but perhaps we're moving into an era where Oscar night is once again a night of surprises, where we can only speculate A Place in the Sun or High Noon.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: How Did Moonlight Win Best Picture?

Postby dws1982 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:07 am

I have my final portfolio of grad school due tomorrow, but once I finish that, I'll try to come up with a longer response.

After thinking on it, I think the "first films eliminated" thing is only going to be important in a very special kind of year: One where there are two movies that are FAR in front of the rest, and where they're relatively close to each other after the first round. (2013 might be such a year, but even then, assuming Philomena, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Her were eliminated early, I don't see any reason why their voters would've preferred 12 Years a Slave over Gravity.)

Otherwise, it's just too hard to use that metric. For example, just assume that Hell Or High Water was eliminated first this year in the Best Picture voting, and it had 400 number ones. Those voters had number twos distributed among eight films. Even if Moonlight was the number two on a plurality of those ballots, it could've still gotten that plurality with as little as 75 votes--maybe even less. If you go along with that method, it's still going to take several rounds.

My bet, just based on some simple numbers, is that it's usually going to take several rounds to get to a winner almost every year.

And I think your scenario checks out, Tee, but I definitely would want to think back over it to make sure I'm understanding it correctly.

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Re: How Did Moonlight Win Best Picture?

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:36 pm

Granted this whole theoretical math thing can get a bit dense for non-eggheads, but I did relatively well in school at this stuff (for a creative type), and I don't see how this theory holds water.

If Moonlight ever gets to a point where it appears ahead of La La Land on 50%+1 of the ballots, it's the winner regardless -- there's no way La La Land could catch up even with 100% of the remaining ballots. I don't see where the order of elimination makes the difference here.

However...

There's one circumstance in which I can see all this being decisive -- that's if, say, the first five/six eliminatees put another (third) film marginally ahead of La La Land at the point when it's down to three films. Let's say it gets down to Moonlight/Manchester/La La, with Manchester a handful of ballots ahead to give it second place. It may be that 80% of the Manchester ballots have La La Land ahead of Moonlight -- that, if it got down to Moonlight vs. La La, La La would win convincingly. But it doesn't matter: in that instance, Manchester being ahead by a hair would eliminate La La Land, making the final run-off between Moonlight and Manchester -- and if the La La ballots simply split evenly between the two, Moonlight's slight lead would be confirmed, and it would be the winner.

dws, I know you have some math background: doesn't this check out?

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Re: How Did Moonlight Win Best Picture?

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:05 am

I'm pretty sure we talked about the preferential ballot in one of the immediate post-Oscar threads.

Moonlight is a film that if not loved by the majority of voters, was certainly respected by them and would likely have appeared closer to the top of most ballots than any of the other nominees including my choice of Manchester by the Sea. What I don't get is this "toss it out" nonsense. If they don't want to give the award to the film with the most number one votes, a simpler method would be to weigh the contenders by giving the highest number of points to everyone's first ballot preference and so on down the line, add them up and that's your winner. In that scenario, say La La Land gets the most number one votes, but Moonlight gets the second most and the most number two votes, putting it ahead.
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Re: How Did Moonlight Win Best Picture?

Postby mlrg » Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:03 am

I think the preferential ballot system is the real explanation here. The Moonlight fan base might have placed La La Land last in the ballot to prevent it from winning.

I've been watching the oscars live since 1992 (Silence of the Lambs year) and for me the biggest upset/surprise in a major category I've experienced still is Steven Soderbergh winning for Traffic.

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Re: How Did Moonlight Win Best Picture?

Postby The Original BJ » Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:16 pm

dws1982 wrote:One podcast I listened to discussed it in more numeric terms, talking about a user who had contacted them with some analysis of the preferential ballot. (I'd be hard-pressed to find it now...most of my driving time is spent listening to podcasts.)


It was Vanity Fair's Little Gold Men podcast, the post-Oscars episode.

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Re: How Did Moonlight Win Best Picture?

Postby dws1982 » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:03 pm

One podcast I listened to discussed it in more numeric terms, talking about a user who had contacted them with some analysis of the preferential ballot. (I'd be hard-pressed to find it now...most of my driving time is spent listening to podcasts.)

His explanation was something like this:
A movie doesn't win Best Picture on the first count unless it gets number ones on half of the ballots. So then they eliminate the movie with the fewest number ones, and look at its number twos, and reallocate. So his idea was that it would be helpful to look at the movies that probably placed the lowest, and then go from there. For example, he said that Fences might have been the first movie eliminated. For people who liked Fences the most, where were they likely to go for their second choice? Same with movies like Hell or High Water and Hidden Figures, which he thought might have gone in the first rounds. His theory was that those three movie deal with racial or social issues and that the voters who preferred them would likely admire Moonlight as well.

He had similar thoughts about how Spotlight might have emerged from the mess in 2015--that Bridge of Spies and Brooklyn likely placed low, and Spotlight might have picked up some of their fans.

Of course, a problem with these retroactive things is that they're retroactive, and they can probably be bent to fit any scenario or explanation. But it might be useful. I don't know.


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