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An interview with the film critic Sasha Stone

January 23, 2013


Abdul Almutairi. Al-Jazirah Daily Newspaper

This is my interview with the film critic Sasha Stone from

The interview going to be published in Al-Jazeerah newspaper (cinema section)

* You have lots of passion every year talking about the Oscar race.When did you start doing all of this?

I started in 1999 after the birth of my baby. I wanted to stay home with her so I came up with a website I thought would make a good business. Took about eight years to make money, though, but it grew in popularity and some might say it started the whole awards watching industry. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time – it probably would have started anyway.

*Do you think that nowadays film critics, and bloggers may have some impacts, or an effects on the oscar nomination?

Yes, I think they absolutely do. The reason is that critics awards influence guild awards which influence Oscar. You just never really know what’s going to capture the buzz in a given year and I still haven’t figured it out after all this time.

* Some people believe that because the majority of the Academy are actors, so that may affect the vote for best film year in a negative way. I mean everyone knows that directors, writers and producers are the smartest guys in the room, but they are the minority? You Agree?

A Best Picture winner has to have broad support throughout all branches, especially since ballots are counted with a preferential system. It might have been easier before 2009 to have a split vote where actors really influenced things but now it seems to me that it’s harder to do since there are nine Best Picture nominees. But we don’t really know how it will turn out in the end.

* Do you think that the current voting system in the Oscar is fair? why and why not?

I think that having online voting makes it a lot easier and thus, we might start to see more surprises happen. I don’t know if it’s “fair” or not – it’s a consensus vote which usually means the lowest common denominator wins. As long as you never forget that Best Picture really means “most popular.” It doesn’t really mean “best.”

* Can the voting governed sometimes by political and social conditions, like Brokeback Maonton year.Everyone knows that Ang Lee film is better than Crash, but I think Academy members were afraid of people reaction if the let a gay film won, also this year Zero Dark, do you agree?

It’s sometimes political and sometimes not. Really it’s just about what people “feel” about a film. No one ever knows who votes for what so people are free to do exactly as they please. What they never seem to do is vote for the film they “should” vote for. They tend to just pick what they like. Many of them didn’t even see Brokeback Mountain and many of them did see Crash. In that case, with only five Best Picture nominees, it was easier for actors to have an impact.

Zero Dark Thirty seems to have lost a good deal of momentum from having a lack of a SAG ensemble nomination, a director nomination plus the controversy.


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