It's hard to get a statistical breakdown of the Academy's membership, but over the years I've formed a mental picture of the Academy's average member. He's male; he's been in show business for decades, usually as an actor; he's wealthy enough to be "liberal"; he's white. He sees the nominated films at home, on screeners, possibly while enjoying a sandwich, instead of in the theater. And he's more inclined to go for a glossy feel-good movie over a grimmer one, or for a sweeping, old-fashioned Hollywood period epic over a gritty drama about actual present day concerns. (See also Forrest Gump vs. Pulp Fiction; Gladiator vs. Traffic.)

In short, Ernest Borgnine.

So, when I try to handicap Oscar picks, I ask: WWEBD? This is often a very different set of films from what I'd like to see win, and the Virtual Borgnine process isn't foolproof (last year, VB went 5/6; in 2006, VB tanked with a record of 3/6, somewhat damaged by my overlooking when Borgnine -- the real one, not the virtual one -- publicly stated he wouldn't see Brokeback Mountain). But, mostly, it's an exercise in looking into the thought process behind the maddening nature of the Oscars. All quotes are, as ever, rough intimations of the Borgnine thought process ...
categories Oscars, Awards, Cinematical