Zack Snyder’s Justice League Oscar win faces allegations of rigging through Twitter bots, Academy defends result

May 15, 2022 11:25 AM IST

A new report has claimed that the Oscar win for Zack Snyder's Justice League may have been aided by rigging through Twitter bots. The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences has defended the result, however.

Days after a news report alleged that the Oscars Best Cheer Moment win for Zack Snyder’s Justice League may have been rigged, the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences has defended the result. This year, the Academy Awards introduced two new categories that were adjudged not by the jury but by fans through online voting on Twitter. A scene from Zack Snyder’s Justice League won the Best Cheer Moment award by amassing the maximum votes. On Friday, a news report that analysed the hashtags for the voting claimed that most of the ‘voters’ were most likely paid bots, implying that the voting was rigged. Also read: Zack Snyder's Justice League review: An exhausting yet exhilarating epic

Ezra Miller in the scene that won the Oscars Best Cheer Moment Award for Zack Snyder's Justice League.
Ezra Miller in the scene that won the Oscars Best Cheer Moment Award for Zack Snyder's Justice League.

The category of Best Cheer Moment included iconic scenes from films from over the years. The nominees included Avengers teaming up in Avengers: Endgame, the iconic bullet scene from The Matrix, and scenes from Dreamgirls and Spider-Man: No Way Home. However, the scene of Flash (Ezra Miller) entering the speed force in the climax of the Zack Snyder film won the award. Many fans and experts had expressed surprise at the scene winning over other more popular and iconic ones.

On Friday, The Wrap published a report in which they used a tool to analyse the hashtag used for voting. Their findings indicated that ‘the most active accounts that contributed to the Oscars' award for fan-favorite movies were likely automated bots.’ This implied that someone bought the bots and rigged the voting in favour of the winner-Zack Snyder’s Justice League. The article did mention, though, that the accounts in question cannot be “definitively declared” bots. Bots are automated fake accounts usually used to mass tweet and amplify campaigns and hashtags, usually tweeting hundreds or thousands of times in a day.

On Saturday, Vanity Fair quoted an Academy source defending the film’s win. As per their report, the source “defended the categories’ merits, maintaining that only 20 votes could be cast per Twitter handle and that accounts less than a day old were banned from voting.” Telescope, the tabulation company hired to oversee the polling, did not respond to the outlet’s requests for comment. A representative for Zack Snyder declined to comment on the story, Vanity Fair reported.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is an extended director’s cut version of the 2017 film Justice League. Zack had started work on the film but left it before completion due to a family tragedy. The film was then completed by Joss Whedon. Many of the film’s stars criticized Joss’ approach and the studio executives’ meddling in the film. They complained the eventual theatrical version was much different from what Zack intended. Fans began a campaign to ‘release the Snyder Cut’, which gained momentum online. Eventually, in 2021, Warner Bros released the 4-hour cut on HBO Max.

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