We mentioned earlier how critics' list deliberations are often contentious and complicated affairs, where the dominant members of the pack have been known to stalk and surround its weaker members, savagely cannibalizing whichever lone voice might have found Helen Mirren's The Queen performance to be "nuanced and accomplished, yes, but hardly the year's best, you bunch of shit-for-brains!" The ScreenGrab blog claims to have had an all-access insider present at this year's powwow, and they share several interesting anecdotes, including one about how Observer critic Andrew Sarris literally flushed away his vote for best animated film:
Actually, even closer was the vote for Best Animated Film, which wound up going to HAPPY FEET on what amounts to a technical foul. Miller's penguin-fest beat out A SCANNER DARKLY by a mere two points, but no sooner had this result been announced than Andrew Sarris, who has taken a bathroom break a few minutes earlier, revealed that (1) he had neglected to submit his ballot for this round of voting, and (2) he would have cast his top vote for the Linklater, giving it the victory. [...]
Sarris confirmed that he was giving A SCANNER DARKLY three points. When asked what his second choice was, he answered FLUSHED AWAY, which wasn't in the running...Owen Gleiberman complained that he felt Sarris was casting a vote for the sole purpose of altering the winner. Others made noises of assent, and Fine changed his ruling (with Sarris' blessing), saying the original point totals would stand and HAPPY FEET would receive the prize.
Whether or not their default decision to celebrate the vaudevillian talents of flightless sea birds over a rotoscoped mindfuck will have any bearing on how the Academy chooses to recognize either movie remains to be seen, though it can certainly be no comfort to Richard Linklater knowing that his project would have been named the New York critics' best animated film if not for a poorly timed piss break, leaving him to curse the urine-decelerating effects of an octogenarian critic's enlarged prostate for his misfortune.