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The Movie Mystic

The Movie Mystic Stephen Simon

I am honored and proud to be a voting member of The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences that nominates and then votes each year for the Oscars. I have said often, however, that I have absolutely no idea how to judge a "best" film or actor or screenplay or anything else. To attempt to do so seems akin to going into the Louvre and picking out the "best" painting. So the Van Gogh is "better" than the Renoir or Gauguin or any other painting? Oh, please!

In addition, movie politics—as compared to Washington politics—always play a role in the selection of Oscar nominees and winners. "Best" very often means "most personally popular" or even "least personally unpopular." In addition, some voters think that commercial success is a sufficient reward in and of itself for a film (Avatar in 2009) and so they steer more toward lesser known fare (The Hurt Locker in 2009); for them, it's more like "best least-known film." Anyway, my point is that I hope we get to a time when the Academy changes "best" to "favorite" so as to more accurately define the process.