Deep inside the Academy’s Headquarters in Beverly Hills, in a cement bunker, located some sixteen floors below street level, each year, just before the nominations are announced, the members of The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, (of which I am a member) get together and decide who will be snubbed that year and who will not.
The dimly-lit secret room is somewhat large, as it must hold 6,000 people. And using a process not unlike that used to choose the Pope, the members vote repeatedly until there is a clear choice about who to snub that year. No one is allowed to leave the bunker, until this task is completed.
Few people are aware that this yearly event actually takes place, as we are all sworn to secrecy about it. But, yes, it’s true, as the press seems to think and report, the members actually get together and make a conscious choice to snub this person because we are jealous of their success, or snub that person because we don’t like how they look.
And if you believe this, I’d like to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge.
The real reason that occasionally movies get nominated for Achievement in Best Picture and the director of the film does not also receive a nomination, is first, because two different groups of people vote for the Best Picture Nomination and for the Best Direction Nomination.
The Academy is divided into Branches, and each Branch nominates their own; the Cinematographer’s Branch nominates the Cinematography candidates, the Editor’s Branch, the Editing nominees, and the Director’s nominate the Director nominees. And so on.
But the entire Academy, the Directors, the Actors, the Cinematographers, etc., ALL nominate the Best Picture candidates. So that means two different groups pick the nominees for those two awards… which is why they are sometimes different.
Moreover, there are only five nominees for Best Director and up to ten for best picture, so it would mean, using simple math, that the directors of half the best picture nominees would not receive a directing nomination.
Many, many times in my voting I have I been faced with having six or seven qualified nominees, and I’ve had to pick five. That means two of my favorites didn’t get nominated. I wasn’t “snubbing” the two I didn’t pick, but rather, I was trying to pick the best five.
Right now, there are five nominees in all the categories; in each category, I will have to pick one that I think represents the best work of the year in that category. In many categories, all candidates nominated are worthy of an Oscar, but still I will have to pick one.
But in my picking one, I am NOT snubbing the other four. Nor is anyone else at the Academy when they vote.