The Academy Awards have been fighting low viewership for years and in 2022 attempted to do several different things in order to potentially boost interest. One of those things was to set up a couple of fan polls so that “normal” movie watchers could vote for their favorite moments. Those polls certainly succeeded in showing a disconnect between Oscar winners and other fans, as both polls were won by Zack Snyder movies that were not nominated for other awards. But it seems there is a question as to how many actual people voted in these polls.
The online poll for “Cheer Worthy Moment” was won by Zack Snyder’s Justice League while the poll for “Fan Favorite” went to Army of the Dead, also directed by Snyder. Clearly, Snyder’s fans came out in force to get their favorite director recognized, but according to The Wrap, the use of a hashtag analytics tracking tool reveals that the most active contributors to the online polls came via anonymous web programs that allegedly cast thousands of fake votes for the Snyder films.
I’m not sure it would surprise many people if it were confirmed that bots were used to impact these online polls. That’s certainly happened before and it’s a pitfall of opening up polls like this in the first place. People on the internet messing with online polls is the rule, not the exception. We’re lucky the “cheer worthy moment” at the Oscars wasn’t Boaty McBoatface.
At the same time, it’s far from clear that the poll wasn’t entirely legit. These results came from analyzing the votes that were cast by tracking hashtags. Even if bots were used to cast the votes, it doesn’t mean those votes were counted. The Academy hired an outside firm to run these online polls, and it’s possible the firm was able to recognize the bots and discount those votes. One would certainly hope that the possibility of bots being used was on the radar screens of those involved in the polls. The firm did not comment for the original story.
It’s also unclear from the original story if any of the other top vote getters in these polls saw any potential bot activity. Maybe every film had its own bot army, and if so, maybe it all comes out in the wash?
Many people were certainly ready to call shenanigans at these polls on Oscar night, but the fact that “The Snyder Cut” exists at all is proof that fans of Zack Snyder are capable of mobilizing and making their voices heard, so seeing his movies win these polls shouldn’t have been much of a surprise, legit or otherwise. Online polls aren’t won by the “best” of anything, but by the people able to mobilize their base the best, and we know the Snyder fans can do that.
In the end, I’m not sure it really matters. These were online polls, no gold statues were awarded as part of winning a Twitter poll. Most of us probably forgot these moments even happened after Chris Rock got slapped in the face.