The keys to winning an Oscar

March 4, 2010 3:16:07 PM PST
Oscar ballots have all been cast and now it's time to count them. The campaign for the Academy Awards featured intense lobbying of academy voters by various nominees.

It got so heated one of those up for an Academy Award was told he wasn't welcome at the Oscar show.

The "Hurt Locker" remains one of the favorites to win best picture.

But now those responsible for the movie about a U.S. bomb squad in Iraq had to defuse a controversy, after one of the producers sent an e-mail asking academy members to vote against a "$500 million film" - a clear reference to another favorite, "Avatar".

Such lobbying is not permitted under Academy rules.

"You don't attack another person's art," Tom Sherak, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President, said.

The "Hurt Locker" producer later apologized, but this indicates how the Oscar race can become a battle for the hearts and minds of Academy voters.

The outcome depends on the pictures, but also on the personalities who made them.

"So it's very difficult I think if you're not popular, if they don't like you, if you're difficult to work with or if you've got a bad reputation. It's very difficult to win an Academy Award," said Oscar historian Robert Osborne.

This is kind of like high school where the popular kids prevail.

"I know I'm a sentimental voter in many ways," actor Andy Garcia said.

Garcia told me he votes with his had and his heart.

"There is a side of me that wants an actor to be recognized because of his body of work - not only for his great performance but like 'hey, it's time for this guy,'" Garcia said.

His former co-star, Al Pacino's time came not for the "Godfather" or other great movies, but for "Scent of a Woman".

This year seems to be this guy's time -- Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake.

He earned his first Oscar nomination in his early 20's. There have been a total of four through the years. Now at the age of 60, Jeff Bridges is the heavy favorite to win for "Crazy Heart."

"It's great to be acknowledged by the guys who do what you do and say 'atta boy'. You know, that feels great," Bridges said.

It's that kind of charm that's put Bridges in the lead.

His performance is terrific. He's a beloved figure and he's overdue for recognition. All those factors combine to make him the favorite.