The following notes were distilled from a conversation I had with Tim O'Connor. Besides his work in movies, Nevada City resident O'Connor has appeared on literally hundreds of TV shows and dozens of TV series in an acting career that stretches back to the beginnings of television.
Chuck Jaffee: You're a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. How does that happen?
Tim O'Connor: I had done a couple of movies, four or five. I simply applied. You need to know a member who will recommend you. If you have the background, you are welcomed in.
CJ: How long have you been casting Oscar ballots?
TO: An awful long time ... 40 years maybe.
CJ: How do you inform yourself about the Oscar candidates?
TO: The Academy is very good about it. They send you the films, and we watch them at home. There's also the Academy itself in Los Angeles that is the best venue in the world. You get to know the field. You get to know you should see certain films first. I see almost every one of them every time.
CJ: What do you get to vote for?
TO: Everything for the five nominations in all the categories. Then for, say, makeup, the makeup people vote for the winner in the makeup category.
CJ: How do you get past feeling that choosing one actor over another is like comparing apples and oranges?
TO: You never do. You look at the films and you respond to them.
CJ: How do you decide?
TO: You decide on what they do, what they have to do and how they do it. Do you believe it? How powerfully does it come across? The essential things you're looking for are always there. The mechanics of them are the same.
CJ: Your attitude toward film over time ... do you have a different feeling about the films they used to make and the films they make now?
TO: Motion pictures push our culture along. Certainly television does, and so does the theater. Nudging. Nudging all the time. Things are different as they are, and thank heaven they are.
CJ: You've done your voting for this year. Are you allowed to tell us?