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By Barry Burch Jr.
Whoever said you needed to watch a movie to determine whether to award it an Oscar or not?
One rumor that stayed around for the days leading up to the 86th annual Academy Awards was that some Oscar voters did not want to watch “12 Years a Slave.” Surprisingly for some and unsurprisingly for others, this rumor seems to be true. According to The Huffington Post, two anonymous members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences never saw the movie directed by Steve McQueen even though he was presented with an award for Best Picture.
The Los Angeles Times broke the story. It reads “All the same, two Oscar voters privately admitted that they didn’t see ’12 Years a Slave,’ thinking it would be upsetting. But they said they voted for it anyway because, given the film’s social relevance, they felt obligated to do so.”
The host of the Oscars, Ellen Degeneres, addressed this type of thinking in her Oscars monologue. “Possibility number one: ’12 Years a Slave’ wins Best Picture. Possibility number two: You’re all racists,” she joked.
Though rumors spread that some Oscar voters had opted out of watching “12 Years a Slave,” this information was not confirmed until after the votes were already in. At an event hosted by Vanity Fair, publicist Peggy Siegal explained that there were voters who were reluctant to give McQueen’s film an opportunity due to its content and subject matter, as reported by The Huffington Post.
Siegal’s claims were supported by an anonymous voter who spoke with The Hollywood Reporter. She said that she refused to watch “12 Years a Slave” because for her it was just “more terrible stuff to keep in my head.” The woman who identified herself as a senior continued, “I have never liked movies that have severe violence.”
It is unclear whether this woman was one of the two anonymous voters polled by the Los Angeles Times. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has more than 6,000 members.
Barry is an award-winning writer and political scientist. His business, “Barry Writes,” provides biographies, speeches, press releases and so forth to individuals and businesses in need of potent and compelling literature. Reach him @ Facebook.com/barrywrites and Twitter.com/barryburchjr