We won't officially know who the Oscar winners are until Sunday night, but that hasn't stopped a few anonymous Academy members from talking to the press about their supposedly secret ballots. And wow, one of them is a bit crabby.
Both The Hollywood Reporter and The Daily Beast convinced voting members to spill some secrets, against the Academy's wishes. The Hollywood Reporter is publishing a series of five "brutally honest" Oscar ballots leading up to the awards, and as of Friday, had published three of them. The Daily Beast has also published one.
The Hollywood Reporter's first ballot is also its crankiest and most controversial. It comes from a director who bluntly admits to "no interest whatsoever" in animated features and admits to being "completely ignorant" of everything in the best-picture nominee "Her." (What exactly does that mean? Ignorant of computers? Of love? Of Scarlett Johansson?)
This member calls Julia Roberts' "August: Osage County" performance "horrendous," says Meryl Streep does a "bottom-drawer" job in the same film, and sneers that "Gravity" isn't as good as things he/she has seen at a planetarium.
The director also finds all of the nominated musical scores and songs "inferior" and abstained from voting in those categories. He/she also doesn't care to watch the nominated shorts, even though some are just a few minutes long, saying, "if I don't know anybody who made one of them, I just don't vote."
For the main categories, the director goes along with some of the picks that are expected to win, choosing "12 Years a Slave" as best picture and Cate Blanchett as best actress. But he/she also has a jones for "American Hustle," picking Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence to win over the favored Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong'o.
"Lupita was very good, but a lot of the commotion over her is attributable to people's tremendous empathy with and sympathy for the role she's playing," the anonymous voter said of the "12 Years a Slave" star, who plays a slave who's frequently raped and beaten.
The Hollywood Reporter's second ballot comes from a member of the Academy's sound branch, and he/she is a lot less crabby and seems to enjoy films a little more than the director. This member also picks "12 Years a Slave" as best picture, though hilariously refers to nominee "Philomena" as "Willamena." He/she then sticks to the favored big four acting choices — McConaughey, Blanchett, Leto and Nyong'o. This member also abstained from voting for the short films (does anyone watch them?), and admits to voting for friends in the film editing and original score categories, though also says their work holds up.
This Academy member doesn't share the director's distaste for songs, choosing "Let It Go" from "Frozen," though he/she admits to not seeing all the animated feature nominees, and thus abstaining in that category.
The site's anonymous third voter, whose thoughts were posted Friday, comes from the Academy's executives branch, and is perhaps the most polite (and yes, a little boring) about his or her votes. The executive picks "Gravity" over "12 Years a Slave" for best picture, is fond of "Philomena" and "Frozen," and gives the supporting actor nod to Barkhad Abdi, the Somali limo driver who menaces Tom Hanks in "Captain Phillips." Give this voter credit for taking his or her responsibility seriously — no abstentions, not even in the shorts categories.
The Daily Beast doesn't say if their anonymous Academy voter is a director, actor, or from another film field, dubbing him/her "Pat" to keep the gender unknown. But male or female,"Pat" makes a weird digression on the looks of two "American Hustle" stars, calling Jennifer Lawrence a "hot young girl" and criticizing Amy Adams for "having no boobs."
"Pat" makes some unorthodox picks, choosing Barkhad Abdi for best supporting actor, and Bruce Dern of "Nebraska" as best lead actor. "Pat" voted for Judi Dench of "Philomena" as best supporting actress, but admits Lupita Nyong'o will likely win.
And don't snub "Pat" at Academy functions. He relays a time when "Prisoners" star Hugh Jackman blew off other members at an event, and says "if he’d been seriously a nominee, that’s where my vote would have tilted — because somebody relayed an attitude that you’re beneath them."