Pulling the Curtain Back on Oscar

Actor Ken Swofford is a member of the Academy

You might think the Academy Awards are given based on public opinion. The truth is that 6,000 members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences vote to decide who wins.  Members are the top artists in their field and only vote in their area of expertise. My grandfather, actor Ken Swofford, is one of them.

Mr. Swofford acted in many movies and television shows in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. He was a character actor who played a lot of policemen and crooks. He’s retired now and most of his work was done between 1962 and 2004. The movies he appeared in include “Annie,” “Thelma and Louise” and “The Andromeda Strain.” He appeared in dozens of television shows including “Murder She Wrote,” “Fame,” “Columbo,” and many others your parents and grandparents would remember.  “I have never worked a day in my life,” he always says.

Members are the top artists in their field and only vote in their area of expertise. My grandfather, actor Ken Swofford, is one of them.

— Paige Reynolds

Eventually he joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences after being nominated by three very famous Oscar winning actors, Charlton Heston, James Garner and Walter Pidgeon. In addition to the three nominations, one must have experience in their line of expertise (his is acting) and be accepted by the board. It took only a month for my grandfather to hear that he had been accepted into the Academy. Now he votes every year for the best actors and actresses. He has to watch each movie in order to vote for the films in that category. The academy provides him with copies of the movies and a special DVD player. Even though the awards are not until March, my grandfather let me know that he voted for Cate Blanchett as Best Actress for her role in “Blue Jasmine” and Christian Bale as Best Actor for his role in “American Hustle.