Today is the last day for academy members to vote on Sunday's Oscars: ballots are due in the downtown office of PricewaterhouseCoopers by 5 p.m. In a piece at Zocalo, the former deputy director of New America Foundation’s political reform program analyzes the weighted voting system and makes some conclusions. Since no Best Picture movie is likely to get anywhere close to a majority, It's all about voters' second and third choices. Writes Gautam Dutta:
To name Black Swan best picture would be to say that a vocal minority should have more of a say than a broad majority.... Although King’s Speech probably heads into the polls as the top vote getter, it will fall short of a majority of first place votes (50 percent plus 1) in a crowded field. So Best Picture will come down to whether King’s Speech or Social Network get enough second-choice rankings to push either over 50 percent.
Here’s my take on which of these Oscar favorites would be the second choice of the other seven nominees:
1. King’s Speech – second choice of fans of Toy Story 3, 127 Hours, and Fighter
2. Social Network – second choice of fans of Inception and The Kids Are All Right
3. Black Swan – second choice of fans of True Grit and Winter’s Bone
Based on this lineup, I would give King’s Speech the edge. It is the sort of contestant built for a ranked choice contest, in that it offers something for everyone, and is likely to pile up second-choice and third-choice rankings.
That being said, Social Network is far from being out of the running. Without Ranked Choice Voting, Social Network would not have stood a chance against King’s Speech.
Lack of quotes or italics around the movie titles: theirs! Dutta, by the way, is a fan of the preferential voting method used in San Francisco and Oakland city elections.
Also: Q&A with James Franco and Anne Hathaway — they're hosting the Oscars ceremony — in the new Hollywood Reporter issue.