Wednesday, January 26

How the nominees for the Goya are voted and an alternative to avoid the usual mess

Last Monday the films that will compete in February at the Goya Awards were presented. What came of the ad were two things. On the one hand, that The good boss had made history with its 20 nominations and, on the other hand, that the Film Academy had fallen into blatant oversights. Does Fernando León de Aranoa’s film deserve such a display of candidacies, including that of special effects? Are there other more modest films that could have stood out in this and other modalities? The only ones capable of solving the doubt are the academics who decided it with their vote.

“Curiously, there is not so much controversy with the winners. You can agree or not. But there is always talk that the same type of films appear in the nominations, that those that already have a reputation are nominated year after year, or not there is a generational change. It is that it is complicated “, recognizes David Pulido, scriptwriter and member of the Academy of Cinema.

From when many movies come out until we vote, not even three weeks go by. Physically it is impossible

David Pulido
Screenwriter and film academic

The winner for Best Original Screenplay in 2016 for Late to anger He explained in a thread the problems of the current voting system, which aggravates inequalities and promotes forgetfulness. It also causes phenomena such as that of The good boss, which is not less unfair because it is “historical”.

The most interesting question about Pulido’s allegation was that academics do not see the 160 candidate films. In case anyone had doubts. “We cannot stay alone in that headline,” he asks in conversation with “Since many of them come out until we vote, not even three weeks pass. Physically it is impossible. We must change the system,” defends the also psychologist. He clarifies that it is not a criticism of the Film Academy, where there are assembly lines, but rather that it aims to “open a debate and offer a proposal.”

For their part, sources from the Academy emphasize that voting is personal and that it depends entirely on academics. However, if an alternative is presented in the assembly, it is voted in favor and debated, they assure that they would have no problem changing it. “In the 36 years of the institution’s life, there have been various voting systems, some more controversial than others, and all of them can be improved,” they acknowledge. Remember that the very bases of the Goya Awards are continually modified. “The assembly is the place where it must be debated and, if the academics so decide, then it will change, period”, these sources affirm.

The voting system has been surrounded by a mysterious aura since the awards were founded 36 years ago. The reality is less enigmatic. Academics, who according to the institution are around 1,800, receive a personal and non-transferable password on election day. Everyone, regardless of their specialty, votes in each of the categories. “There are 28, you click, and a scroll appears with 160 boxes from which you have to choose a maximum of four. You can leave some with less, but at most there are four, and five in Best Picture”, explains the screenwriter.

In the expert’s words, the process is tedious “like when you do a very long multiple choice test and there comes a time when you don’t even read the answers anymore and you respond out of inertia.” All this favors the general over the particular. That is, to the films that have the perfect gear: loose budget, good marketing campaign, big names in the cast or the best dates of the premiere on the billboard. “Yes I loved it The good boss and I see it in the technical categories, the carry-over effect makes me vote there too. Do youThe good boss does it have relevant special effects? Well, maybe not, “says Pulido.

The spam of the producers

As in any campaign, the display of the production companies on their contact list is important. “They send you a lot of emails the day before the vote. You have a lot of mailings, but everything is ‘Vote our movie'”, reveals the screenwriter. For him, those vague messages are a mistake because “we are voting 28 awards, not one.” It is one more element that favors the dragging effect of which the academic speaks and “makes other types of cinema not visible.”

The producers and distributors “ask” for the vote. “Everything legal, there are no briefcases,” jokes David Pulido. In that round of spam, contacts and resources make the difference from one to the other. “The grandmother It is a very great film, but that it has not been released in theaters yet has not favored it, the same as others that were released 5 or 6 months ago “, he explains.” It is not that we academics do it wrong, it is that there are intrinsic things the selection process and the human being that make it difficult. ”

In each of the 28 categories you will see a scroll with 160 boxes, from which you have to choose a maximum of four. It is like a very long test type exam

Another problem is that there are people without training or experience in certain disciplines – often invisible to an inexperienced eye – voting according to their criteria. At the Oscars, for example, each union votes in its category, except for Best Picture, where everyone votes.

“This, too, was proven in Spain and the problem is that the number of academics is so small that it does not offer a representative sample. They continued to encourage them to vote for the most popular or the closest. In Spain, we academics are a fifth of the of the Oscars “, compares the screenwriter. However, he proposes dividing the voting into two rounds – or laps, American style – where professionals can advance their criteria in their field of expertise.

One proposal: double round of voting

In the current system, of the four nominees, two are chosen jointly from among all the academics and another two by specific union. “Although I have more criteria in the script than in the artistic direction, as there are only two boxes, in the end the favorites tend to coincide. It does not make sense,” criticizes the expert. That is why he proposes to do two rounds: a first, in which only the union votes, and a second, in which everyone votes.

“The union should vote between 160 and choose 8 or 10. It is a lot of work, but we would only do it in one category, not in 28. And when it was time for the second vote, that of all academics, we would only have to choose between 8 or 10 “, he recommends. In fact, he has another idea for the finalist producers. “If you attach a small video or sample of what your film has done in makeup, photography or art direction, it is more useful than if you send a thousand emails to the mailbox, right?”

He is convinced that this is how humbler films such as The Substitute, Three or Brave flash. “After having voted, I have met with very great criticism of Holy spirit, but that information had not reached me before, “he laments.

The intention of David Pulido is to initiate the procedures to present it as a proposal at the next assembly of the Film Academy. They are held a couple a year, one in June and one in December. “I am sure we can all win,” he assures.

Tastes and calendar: the other obstacles for the films

Ultimately, the vote is personal, non-transferable and secret. The reasons for academics to choose according to which films are varied. In the case of the screenwriter, “I always try to vote for the work that I liked the most, not the one that has not yet been recognized.” He admits that other things do influence his personal criteria: “Just as you know that this script has taken four years to come out, you know it because of the difficulties it has gone through or if it has had little means”. He sums it up in that “it is taste, it is not objective”.

“Obviously I value a replacement, both for gender and for a brave bet. It is not that I have a filter. I really liked the work that was done in other languages ​​last year and I loved seeing such talented women in the technical categories , but I was not thinking that I was going to vote for them because they were in Basque or had more women, “says Pulido.

I always try to vote for the work that I liked the most, not the one that has not yet been recognized. It is taste, it is not objective

On the other hand, regardless of the criteria of the hundreds of academics, each category has its own requirements. “You cannot be a revelation actor or actress if you have already been proposed at another time for that category,” for example. But beyond the official Goya bases, “the fundamental thing so that a film does not arrive is that it has not been made visible”, the expert emphasizes.

“Yes The grandmother it would have been released two months earlier, it would have had a lot of nominations “, thinks the academic. It is not the only one that is missing, but” the awards are like a wave and if you do not get on time because you do not have resources, for the date of the premiere or for whatever reason, your work will not have the same options. ”