The largest voting block is: actors.
Thus, an anti-war film, highest grossing movie ever, with stellar performances and all-around five-star skill put into the movie gets beat by a cheap, flawed, and pro-war movie. How? The pro-war movie kissed actors asses.
It didn't help that the BETTER movie had animation and that threatened the Academy, which has always shied away from SciFi for exactly that reason: They're afraid of technology replacing them.
I have bad news for the Academy. Too late. The Oscars will fade into deserved low-attendance and become an inner-circle ritual. That's my prediction for 2010. By 2020, the Oscars will either cease to be run by the same Academy, or will have embraced technology, or will cease to exist.
Why? Compare them:
1. Movie of the year: 11 Million, 500 theaters, most people didn't really like it.
2. Nominee with no awards: 5 Trillion, 50000 theaters, everyone on Earth loved it.
The money will go away from the Oscars and for the films that do NOT win. Thus, the Oscars have shot themselves in the foot and become irrelevant to film, in exactly the same way that actors have just signed and sealed their doom.
Indie producers such as myself and my friends already avoid, abhor, and have extreme distrust of Union-Card bearing actors who want to work with us. They bring the danger of entanglement, cost overruns, and having an actor tell you how to produce your movie. I've seen this, and it sucks. I never want to work with another SAG actor in my life, and I'll refuse to even where there is money on the table.
When you give in to actors, the producer gets another bomb like the one 'Charly' Theron delivered in Aeon Flux. The freakin' anniversary release of the TV show did better than the motion picture on DVD sales. That's how bad, how disappointing, and how stupid the movie was. Sure, take the main character, and completely reinvent it in a way that diametrically opposes the entire basis of the character, and premise of the film. That's Charred, all right.
I've been on sets to observe actors backtalking producers and directors, and flinch when the director or producer fails to correct them. "Actors are fragile," they say. No, Actors are actors. If they can't act, or won't, replace them.
The Academy that runs the Oscars is run by actors, and so every film that wins awards is basically just an Actor favorite. There's no public vote, no vote across the spectrum of movie production - the grips and lighting techs have no say in the matter. It's not a Democracy. It's an industry-serving process as fake as the Monkees and Hannah Montana.
Money is more important than a gold statue, and will continue to be much more sought-after than the lauding of false praises by soon-to-be unemployed actors.