The 2022 Academy Awards made headlines for an array of reasons this year, and it looks like one of the ceremony's most contentious moments is now being called into question. A new report from The Wrap alleges that the Oscars' inaugural "Fan Favorite" and "Cheer Moment" awards — which were awarded to Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead and Zack Snyder's Justice League, respectively — may have fallen victim to rigged voting. Both awards, which were given out during interstitials of the 2022 ceremony, were chosen via a Twitter poll conducted by The Academy prior to the event, and The Wrap's reporting claims that the polls were rigged by automated online bot accounts voting in favor of Snyder's films.
The report cites two findings from the hashtag analytics tracking tool Tweetbinder, which determined that the most active contributors to both polls were autonomous web programs which seemingly cast thousands of fake votes for Army of the Dead and Zack Snyder's Justice League. This seemingly resulted in some surprising trends, such as a single-day spike on February 27th where over 25,000 votes were cast, as opposed to the usual daily average of between 4,000 and 15,000 votes. David Kirsch, a University of Maryland professor who is cited in the article, also argues that the activities of the accounts voting for Snyder "certainly do not look like they were generated by a human user."
According to an insider quoted in the report, the polls, which were conducted by the tabulation firm Telescope, were limited to 20 votes per Twitter handle, and did not allow accounts that were less than 24 hours old to vote. The final vote for the Fan Favorite award also included a public poll conducted on the Oscars' website, which also showed Army of the Dead as the winner.
Snyder fans are no strangers to showcasing their love for the director on social media, with the HBO Max release of Zack Snyder's Justice League, which brought to life Snyder's intended cut for the film after he stepped away from the original production due to a family tragedy, ultimately coming after a years-long campaign from fans. Similarly, fans have advocated for the restoration of the "SnyderVerse", which would hypothetically allow for Snyder to make his previously-planned sequels to the film, as well as for Warner Bros. to make Ben Affleck's spinoff Batman solo movie, which was previously in development before Affleck walked away from directing, writing, and starring in the film.
Army of the Dead is now streaming exclusively on Netflix, while Zack Snyder's Justice League is streaming exclusively on HBO Max.