Why Are the Academy Award Nominations So Bad? Three Words: Wrinkly Old Dudes
At any rate, I mention my conservative mother-in-law and her cultural tastes to make a point: She's not too different from the Academy Voters who decide the Oscar nominations, except for the fact that she's a woman (although her husband, who chastises me for not watching enough Fox News, fits the demographic perfectly). Indeed, The Los Angeles Times has identified 5,100 of the 5,700 members of the Academy, and the demographic breakdown looks like this: 94% white, 77% male and a median age of 62 (people under 50 make up just 14% of the academy).
You want to know why Drive wasn't nominated but War Horse was? There's your answer. Why was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close nominated and not Michael Fassbender's performance in Shame? Because it's predominantly wrinkly old dudes who could not care less about the Fasschlong.
Old people love other old people, which helps to explain the consistent presence of Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and even Tom Hanks. To be fair, however, if you've ever attended an art house theater during the day, it's dominated by blue hairs, wheelchairs, and oxygen masks, so maybe they are the appropriate body to determine the quality of films that other older people watch.