The 89th Academy Awards Voted by Students

The 89th Academy Awards was notable for two things: Moonlight‘s Best Picture win upset and La La Land won the top prize first. It was very memorable because of the snafu during the Best Picture announcement. La La Land was first awarded the Best Picture award, but it turns out that Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope. Moonlight became the actual winner. In other words, the Academy’s best film of 2016 is Barry Jenkins’ LGBT-themed independent film about the three defining chapters in the life of a young black man named Chiron.

The Academy is consists of thousands of members from the film industry. They are the ones who decide on who will win the Academy Awards which also means that the results are based on what the industry likes. It’s not decided by a group of movie-goers. It is decided by thousands of professionals in the industry. This answers why films like The Avengers are not winning the Best Picture prize even though they are the number one blockbuster films.

Because of the instances, I decided to conduct an experiment in which I have to find out what if the 89th Academy Awards was voted by a group of students, specifically college students who are taking Communication. What if it’s not the industry? What if the awards are decided by a group of students who are currently a movie-goer and will be part of the industry someday? I decided to make Communication students as the participants of the experiment since they have knowledge about the media industry and they are the most qualified group of people who might give interesting results. They might not be part of the industry or aspiring to be part of it, they are still ordinary citizens who love to watch movies.

The locale of this experiment is De La Salle University-Dasmarinas in the Philippines since it’s the only convenient place for me as I currently study there and I’m also a Communication student as well. The participants are my fellow Communication students in the university. They all have seen some of the nominees and they are gracious enough to participate in my survey. I surveyed them online using Google Forms. Before I share the results of my experiment, you may take a look here on the actual winners of the 89th Academy Awards just to refresh your memory.

Now, let me introduce to you all the results of the 89th Academy Awards voted by students. You may notice that it is very different from the actual winners.

  • Best Picture – La La Land
  • Best Director – Damian Chazelle (La La Land)
  • Best Actor – Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
  • Best Actress – Emma Stone (La La Land)
  • Best Supporting Actor – Dev Patel (Lion)
  • Best Supporting Actress – Viola Davis (Fences)
  • Best Original Screenplay – La La Land
  • Best Adapted Screenplay – Moonlight
  • Best Animated Feature Film – Moana
  • Best Original Score – La La Land
  • Best Original Song – “How Far I’ll Go” (Moana)
  • Best Sound Editing – La La Land
  • Best Sound Mixing – La La Land
  • Best Production Design – La La Land
  • Best Cinematography – La La Land
  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling – Suicide Squad
  • Best Costume Design – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Best Film Editing – La La Land
  • Best Visual Effects – Doctor Strange

As you can see, if the 89th Academy Awards was voted by this group of students, the results will be very different. La La Land would have earn 11 Oscars. Moonlight might have only win one award. Moana could have win two. It really makes a difference if the Academy Awards was voted by students. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. Only nine categories have a match between this and the actual winners.

Anyways, another experiment should be done in we should see what if the Academy Awards was voted by the public. I’m planning to do another experiment in which what if the upcoming 90th Academy Awards is decided by the public. That would be a fun experiment. I might possibly do it once the nominations are out so that we can compare wit with the actual winners. I’m expecting the results to be very different there as well.


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