“In a world of ones and zeroes, you are the absolute master.” So declares the late Dr. Silas Stone (Joe Morton) to his son Victor (Ray Fisher) aka Cyborg in Justice League. Thanks to Silas’s cutting-edge technology and some help from a Mother Box, Cyborg has not only super-strength but also complete control over the internet. “No firewall can stop you, no encryption can defy you,” Silas intones via tape recorder.
While it was Flash entering the Speed Force and not the Cyborg sequence that won the fan-voted “Cheer-worthy Moment” award for Zack Snyder’s Justice League at this year’s Oscar ceremony, reports suggest that advanced technology was at play. According to findings by The Wrap, evidence shows that bots were deployed to automatically vote for Zack Snyder’s Justice League and for Army of the Dead, the Netflix horror movie directed by Snyder. The former took the “Cheer-worthy Moment” award, while the latter was voted “Fan Favorite.”
The Wrap’s claims draw from data reported by Tweetbinder, an analytics tracking tool. According to Tweetbinder, most voters on those polls were automated programs and not human users, allowing them to cast thousands of votes for their preferred movie.
The findings are just the latest black eye in this year’s Oscar program, which has received much criticism. The first sign of trouble occurred when the Academy announced that it would not air the presentation of awards for film editing, makeup and hairstyling, music, and other categories. Later, the Academy revealed that the ceremony would be hosted by three hosts: comedians Wanda Sykes and Amy Schumer, and actor Regina Hall.
But the worst decision may be the addition of fan-favorite categories, which would be decided by using Twitter hashtags. Twitter accounts could use the hashtags #OscarsFanFavorite and #OscarsCheerMoment to cast votes for movies such as Tick, Tick… BOOM! and for scenes such as the meeting of the three Spider-Men in Spider-Man: No Way Home. The wins for Zack Snyder’s Justice League and Army of the Dead were seen by some as vindication for the director’s fandom, but these reports further call into question Snyder’s popularity.
This is hardly the first time that Snyder fans have used the internet to draw attention to their favorite director. Shortly after Justice League was released in 2017, completed by Joss Whedon after a family tragedy forced Snyder to resign, fans launched a campaign to demand that Warner Brothers make Snyder return to production and complete his film. Using the hashtag “Release the Snyder Cut,” supporters flooded social media, sometimes harassing those who disagreed with them.
Supporters got their wish when Warner Bros. released Zack Snyder’s Justice League to the newly launched HBO Max in March 2021. The four-hour film omitted nearly everything that Whedon shot and restored much of Snyder’s material. It also included $70 million in new footage and completed effects. Despite its mixed reception from critics, the movie was one of the most-watched debuts on HBO Max at the time, trailing only behind theatrically-released films The Suicide Squad, Godzilla vs Kong, and Mortal Kombat.