This time, it’s personal: The return of the Oscar contest

by | Mar 9, 2022 | Arts and Entertainment | 0 comments

Longtime alert readers may recall that, back in the day, I ran a little contest in which I predicted the results of every Oscar category, from Best Picture all the way down to Live Action Short — and challenged readers of the newspapers where I worked at the time to see if they could top me.

On a typical year, I might log 17 or so correct predictions — good enough to be in the running in most pools, but sometimes not good enough to win: Occasionally, a reader would best me. So, in the last few years of the contest, I’d collect all the entries from readers who had beaten my mark and randomly pick one of them to win a gift certificate to the mid-valley theater of their choice. I would put the bill on the newspapers’ tab — exactly the sort of extravagant newsroom spending that has prompted Alden Global Capital’s hostile bid to purchase Lee Enterprises.

Last year, at about the time that I was launching this website, I listed my predictions for the 2021 Oscars — and, my oh my, I was having a great night. At one point in the proceedings, I was 16 for 16, with just seven categories to go. But you know what they say: Pride goeth before the fall. I went 2 for 7 the rest of the way, finishing with 18 correct predictions out of 23 categories — not a bad night, really, but it left me with a bad taste — and a hankering for redemption. (Cue the movie-preview voice.) This time, it’s personal.

This year, with help from my friends at Darkside Cinema (an essential stop in your Oscar homework), the stakes are higher. If you’re good enough to beat (or even tie) me, you’ve got a shot at winning a gift certificate to the Darkside. I’ll gather all the entries who have bested me, and pick one at random to win. (I’ll go through the same process in the event that no one beats me but we have some ties.) If no one beats or ties me, thanks for playing, but no one gets the gift certificate. I’m not handing out any participation awards, if you get my drift.

Here’s how it works: There’s a link at the bottom of this post that will take you to a Google form where you can list your predictions for who will win all 23 categories in this year’s Oscar ceremony. (If you need a guide to the Oscar nominations, here’s a link to the Academy’s site.) You need not fill every category — but winners are determined by the total number of correct predictions, so there’s no harm in guessing on, say, Documentary Short Subject. (Everybody does that in that category anyway, right?)

Now, to help you (or to lead you astray), I’ll post my Oscar predictions on my blog the Friday before the ceremony on Sunday, March 27. That way, you can assess my selections, determine where I’m way off-base, mark your ballot accordingly and ride to glory.

The one hard-and-fast rule is that you have to have your entries into me by noon Pacific time on Sunday, March 27. That’s especially important this year, because the Academy has this dopey idea to hand out eight of the Oscars, including the three awards for short films and the awards for production design, score, editing, makeup and hairstyling, and sound, an hour before the show begins. The idea is to shorten the ceremony — but the producer nevertheless are adding two fan-chosen awards (not official Oscars) for favorite film and most “cheer-worthy” moment. Kyle Buchanan in The New York Times ably describes all the reasons why all of this is stupid. For you, though, this means I have to strictly enforce the noon deadline on March 27, because they’ll be giving out Oscars starting at around 4 p.m.

Questions? Comments? Trash talk? It’s on! Post a comment below or email me at [email protected]

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