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Arts and Entertainment

Oscar Voter Defends 'Selma' Snubs: We're Not 'Snaggletoothed Hillbillies'

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An Academy Awards voter revealed her Oscar ballot, and she had a bone to pick with the nominated film Selma—especially over the cast's decision to wear "I Can't Breathe" t-shirts to the film's premiere.This year's first entry in a series of anonymous ballots published by The Hollywood Reporter comes from a woman who defended the alleged racial bias in the Oscar 'snubs' by saying the mostly white and male Academy "are not the cast of Deliverance... they're not cretinous, snaggletoothed hillbillies." She also didn't think Selma was all that good in the first place:

First, let me say that I'm tired of all of this talk about "snubs"—I thought for every one of [the snubs] there was a justifiable reason. What no one wants to say out loud is that Selma is a well-crafted movie, but there's no art to it. If the movie had been directed by a 60-year-old white male, I don't think that people would have been carrying on about it to the level that they were. When a movie about black people is good, members vote for it. But if the movie isn't that good, am I supposed to vote for it just because it has black people in it? I've got to tell you, having the cast show up in T-shirts saying "I can't breathe" [at their New York premiere] — I thought that stuff was offensive. Did they want to be known for making the best movie of the year or for stirring up shit?

Her vote for Best Picture instead of Selma? Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game, which she calls the exemplar of "prestige filmmaking" and says "[fifty] years from now, people will still watch and talk about." If her opinion is any indication of who generally votes for the Oscars, then it's no surprise why the term "Oscar bait" exists.

Her mind-boggling thoughts on Selma aside, what this ballot reveals is something we've known all along: that voters don't just vote based on the nominees in a vacuum. Whole careers, legacies, and 'importance' are all taken into consideration. J.K. Simmons gets her vote (for Whiplash) not only because he was the best in the category, but also because "he was in 5,000 episodes of Law & Order." Patricia Arquette gets her vote for throwing away 12 years of her career to work on Boyhood. "If she had had work done during the 12 years, she would not be collecting these statues," said the voter. "It's a bravery reward."

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Another thing we figured all along and was confirmed is that the voters have no idea what the difference between the sound categories are either. "I never vote for these categories because I have no idea what's good sound or bad sound—and believe me, I'm not alone among Academy members."

Other nuggets from her ballot:

- on American Sniper: "[F]or all of us in the movie industry—I don't care what your politics are—it is literally the answer to a prayer for a midrange budget movie directed by an 84-year-old guy [Clint Eastwood] to do this kind of business. It shows that a movie can galvanize America and shows that people will go if you put something out that they want to see."

- on Foxcatcher: "I could have watched my hair grow during Foxcatcher—it was so slow."

- on how much she hated Inherent Vice (which we looooooooved): "I put in the Inherent Vice screener, and it became apparent that it's a terrible, incoherent movie, so I turned it off. I thought it was not possible for me to hate something more than I hated The Master, but I hated this more."

- on the nominees for Best Original Screenplay: "I'm not voting for Nightcrawler—that was really unpleasant. With Foxcatcher, they said seven words in the whole movie and the rest of it was people staring at each other, so I'm not voting for that. I didn't really get the sense of a screenplay with Boyhood—it was more like they just turned on the camera once a year."

- on why she's note voting for Citizenfour for Best Documentary Feature: "[Edward Snowden] is annoying, he has a little bit of a God complex and a lot of what's in there I felt I'd seen in other places."

Each day leading up to the awards, on Sunday, will bring us a new Oscar ballot. THR started the Brutally Honest Oscar Voter Ballot series with last year's awards, where one voter revealed she didn't even see 12 Years A Slave.