What Academy Voters Really Think About 'Joker,' 'The Irishman,' and More

Every year, Academy voters anonymously share the breakdown of their ballots. Here's what they had to say about this year's contenders.
Bettina Makalintal
Brooklyn, US
February 5, 2020, 4:42pm

With the big ceremony happening this weekend, Oscars voting has finally ended, and the commentary from Academy voters is starting to trickle out. As of last year, the Academy claimed around 8,000 voting members, most of whom keep mum about their selections. Nonetheless, every year, a few of those Academy voters let their real thoughts slip.

The Hollywood Reporter, IndieWire, and the Los Angeles Times have all recently published responses from anonymous Academy voters on how they actually felt about this year's contenders. Some of those thoughts are indeed "brutally honest," as the Hollywood Reporter put it, and it's clear that not everyone's buying into the same buzz. Here's what some Academy voters really thought about some of the most acclaimed movies of the year.

Ford v. Ferrari

"Ford v. Ferrari was fucking entertaining and I enjoyed and was surprised by it," a member of the directing branch told IndieWire. "The performances were good, it was super-funny, amazingly well-made, but it’s not got the same weight as the others."

The Irishman

"I can't vote for Marty [Scorsese, of The Irishman]—nobody wants to say it, but it's just not that good," a woman in the acting branch told the Hollywood Reporter. Calling the film "boring" and "too long," she added, "I thought the reverse-aging in The Irishman sucked—it was distracting."

Jojo Rabbit

"It’s an ambitious impressive movie that doesn’t have a chance of winning," said the voter in the directing branch.


As a woman in the writing branch told the LA Times, "I thought Joaquin’s performance in Joker was fantastic. Complicated. Upsetting. Moving. But here’s a perhaps strange calculation I’m making. I think that Adam Driver could have played Joker just as well as Joaquin Phoenix, but I don’t think that Phoenix could have played Driver’s character in Marriage Story."

Little Women

"Little Women was badly acted and confusing, and I have no idea why they cast four British actresses to play American girls. And every time they said they were poor, I gagged—they're living in a beautiful two-story house, and they have a cook," the woman in the acting branch said. (As the Hollywood Reporter clarified, Saoirse Ronan is Irish American and Eliza Scanlen is Australian.)

Marriage Story

"Marriage Story was phony: You don't have an off-Broadway director and an off-Broadway actress living in a nice house with no day job—if an off-Broadway actor makes $150 a week, that's a lot," said the woman in the acting branch. "Laura Dern was annoyingly over-the-top. If I was her client in a divorce case, I would have walked out five minutes into her rant and hired Ray Liotta."

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Partially calling out Tarantino's newest film, a woman in the directing branch told the LA Times, "I'm disappointed by a lot of the nominations. The male-centricism is just deeply depressing to me. And I am so tired of women being murdered as a joke (thanks, Quentin!) or women being nearly mute or absent altogether (thanks to many of the male directors!)."


"Parasite is beautifully done, but it didn't hold up the second time, and I don't think foreign films should be nominated with the regular films," said the woman in the acting branch. (That mindset seems to explain a lot.)

Uncut Gems

"I’m very sad I can’t vote for Adam Sandler," said a man in the producing branch. "His performance in Uncut Gems is by far, for me, the best of the year."

There you have it: Not everyone's convinced by The Irishman, and if you're bummed about Uncut Gems' big snub, you're not alone.