From the very beginning of this awards season, it was clear that this year's Oscars was going to be one to remember - just not in the way its organisers would have liked.
There was a laundry list of problems going in. There was the Best Popular Film category debacle, which lasted all of a couple of weeks. Then came the Kevin Hart debacle, the Best Original Song exclusions, taking out four categories from the live broadcast. All of that, it seems, was fine and was either back-pedalled by the organisers or dealt with on the night.
No, where the Oscars went decidedly wrong was in how it handled the actual voting process. Let's be clear - there was never going to be an outright favourite to win Best Picture at this year's ceremony. The category was replete with potential front runners like 'The Favourite', 'Roma', 'A Star Is Born', and there were plenty of snubs like 'If Beale Street Could Talk' and 'Tully' in the process.
That a movie as mediocre as 'Green Book' won out on the night doesn't just speak to how flat the voting process is, but how it actively rewards mediocrity when there's no obvious winner in the race. To understand it, you have to know a little about voting tactics.
The nominees are decided by STV, or single-transferable votes, whilst the winner is decided by plurality voting. There's an entire Wikipedia article devoted to how plurality voting is among the easiest type of voting systems to compromise through tactics and we've written an in-depth piece explaining the actual voting process, but essentially, it boils down to this.
Voting for movies less likely to win bolsters the chances of broader appeal movies winning out. In other words, when there's no clear consensus on who's going to win, second and third choices come to the fore.
That's how 'Green Book' won.
Not because it was the best movie on the night, but simply because it won through tactics and a less-than-efficient voting system.
Does that mean the Oscar system needs to be drastically overhauled? Most definitely. For one, the Academy Awards are supposed to be about finding the most exceptional and artistically gifted movies and rewarding them - not one that has the best campaign, or wins through massaged voting systems. It's how 'Shakespeare In Love' won instead of 'Saving Private Ryan', and how the very definition of Oscar-bait has come into being.
Bland, safe, predictable Oscar movies have been trotted out, year in and year out. You can spot them mile off. It'll most likely be a biopic. It'll feature one or two central performances from well-known actors, but not those in the realm of super-stardom. It'll be set in America, probably during a period of civil unrest and strife. There will be funny moments. And, most likely, it'll be forgotten after the awards season ends, discussed only in passing terms and be far outweighed by other movies released in that year.
That's the way Best Picture winners have gone for the past 40-odd years, and 'Green Book' is one in the same in this regard. Nobody is going to be talking about it after today, and if they are, it'll be in the context of the controversy surrounding how it won.
There's more to the story than just dry mathematics and statistics, however. Leaving this aside, the reasons why 'Green Book' is such an unpopular winner for Best Picture are legion. There's the fact that the family of Dr. Don Shirley were never consulted during the writing process, and subsequently derided the movie as a fabrication.
It didn't help matters when one of its screenwriters, Nick Vallelonga, repeated and supported Donald Trump's false claims that Muslims cheered when 9/11 happened. It also didn't help that Peter Farrelly had to apologise for exposing his penis - as a joke, he claimed - to Cameron Diaz on the set of 'There's Something About Mary'. That 'Green Book' won with all of this in the background - a year after the revelations surrounding Harvey Weinstein, the Time's Up initiative, and the #MeToo Movement - just adds to the confusion, disappointment and other sentiments today.
It also didn't help that 'Green Book' was paired next to 'Blackkklansman', 'The Favourite' and 'Roma' - movies that were markedly different from the obvious, middle-of-the-road message that it was offering up. That 'Green Book' was as milquetoast as it was, and still won, tells you that diversifying the Oscars' voting pool wasn't enough. There need to be deeper reforms if the Oscars are to survive and maintain some kind of relevancy.
Compare it to the Independent Spirit Awards, which had a far wider variety of winners, a more enjoyable ceremony, and they even had a dog on stage at one point.
Why can't the Oscars be like that?