My latest column for big Variety acknlowedges the grumblings about issues with electronic voting for the Oscars — but argues that the larger issue is the ridiculously early deadline for turning in nomination ballots.
We'll never quantify the impact of the earliest voting deadline in Oscar history on the coming Academy Award nominations, but I'm thinking negative.
With ballots due two days after New Year's, Academy members generally must telescope their moviegoing efforts to the films they've heard have the most awards relevance. That means fewer chances to find and support underdog gems in all categories that otherwise might have been discovered, had there been a deadline equivalent to 2012's Jan. 13 date (let alone a later one).
Rumblings over problems with e-voting -- whether overstated or not -- have only added to the anxiety and pressure.
In what has been celebrated widely as a rich and diverse year in cinema, the result will be greater consolidation of nominations among big-name films -- arguably an Academy version of the 1% gaining ground on the 99% -- the only mystery being how much consolidation. ...