10 Tips to hustle your Oscars pool — and win
1. Win the Best Director category
2. Win the Best Makeup and Hairstyling categoryThe Academy has to choose between the work done on the prestigious Dallas Buyers Club, the critically panned Lone Ranger and the lowbrow Bad Grandpa.
The last two are the most showy, but if you look to the past you can see that Johnny Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean makeup lost to both The Lord of the Rings (2004) and La Vie en Rose (2007). Lesson learned: go with the prestigious film, not the Jackass.
3. Win the Best Sound Editing categoryNo need to vote for the prestige film here. The loudest movie takes Best Sound Editing, period. Speed, Pearl Harbor and Bourne Ultimatum have all won Oscars, for real.
4. Win the Best Foreign Language Film categoryThe foreign film that was playing at the Angelika Dallas during the month of the Oscars has won Best Foreign Language Film for eight of the past nine years.
5. Win the Visual Effects categoryHistorically, a Best Visual Effects nominee that also has a Best Picture nomination will always win. This is bad news for The Hobbit. Also noteworthy, for seven of the past 10 VES Awards, the winner for Outstanding VFX has gone on to win the Visual Effects Oscar.
6. Win the Best Costume categoryPeriod movies have won Best Costume for 19 of the past 21 years. Exceptions were Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Dracula and Alice in Wonderland. Last year, Anna Karenina won even though it was not even nominated for Best Picture.
7. Win the show’s-running-time tiebreaker.In 2002, the show ran four hours and 23 minutes. Whew! But just like its ratings, the show has been getting smaller ever since (except for last year’s much maligned show).
Here are the timings on the past five years:2008: 3 hours, 21 minutes
2009: 3 hours, 30 minutes
2010: 3 hours, 37 minutes
2011: 3 hours, 15 minutes
2012: 3 hours, 14 minutes
2013: 3 hours, 35 minutes
8. Win Best Documentary and Best Short SubjectForget how folks have won for the past few decades in these categories. Beginning in 2013, ALL members of the Academy (not just category peers) can pick the winners of:
Best Documentary Feature
Best Animated Short Subject
Best Live Action Short Subject
That means everyone from actors to musicians will have a say instead of just documentarians. For Best Animated Short Subject, vote on something with a cute animal or, for Documentary, maybe one that speaks to struggling actors, just saying.
9. Win the Best Actor categoriesThe SAG voters are all actors and are the largest block of voters for the Academy Award. Choose the SAG winners and you’re guaranteed three out of four (and likely four out of four).
10. Win the Best Picture categoryGo with the SAG winner, right? Not so fast, American Hustle. The movie that wins Best Cast (not Best Picture) at the SAG Awards has just a 52.1 percent chance of winning the corresponding Oscar for Best Picture.
Turns out, The Producers Guild of America most consistently predicts Oscar Night success in the Best Picture category. This year, the Producers Guild of America chose both 12 Years a Slave and Gravity in a tied win. Oh. Oh.
Will there be a tie? Well, Gravity has three problems. Not only is a big award for that film going to the director, but only two films in the last 57 years have won best picture without a Best Screenplay nomination, the most recent being Titanic (1997). And lastly, people respect 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, but not many love them. Good news for American Hustle, it’s a three-horse race.So darn, only nine tips out of 10 will give you a solid hustle on your ballot.
Go with your gut for Best Picture — and good luck!