10 Tips To Code-break Your Oscar Night Pool
1. Win the Best Director category
2. Win the Best Supporting Actress category
Don't bet on Meryl Streep; the odds are against you. She may have been a wickedly perfect Supporting Actress in Into The Woods, but she's been nominated 19 times with just (ha!) three wins.
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. If there is a war movie, pick it.
4. Win the Best Foreign Language Film category
The 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 ten years. Note: Documentaries' new home with On Demand and Netflix may change this trick starting this year.
5. Win the Visual Effects category
Historically, a Best Visual Effects nominee that also has a Best Picture nomination will always win. This year there are no crossover Best Picture nominees so try this trick: for eight of the past 11 VES Awards, the winner for Outstanding VFX has gone on to win the Visual Effects Oscar.
6. Win the Best Costume category
True to life period movies (versus creative or modern ones) have won Best Costume for 20 of the past 22 years. Exceptions were Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Dracula and Alice in Wonderland. Last year, The Great Gatsby won.
7. Win the show’s-running-time tiebreaker.
In 2002, the show ran four hours and 23 minutes. Whew! The show trended shorter, but the past two years (with the same producers this year), have been consistently close to three and a half hours.
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
2014: 3 hours, 30 minutes
8. Win Best Documentary and Best Short Subject
Beginning just two years ago, 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, so dumb it down a bit when making your picks.
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 category
Go with the SAG winner, right? Don't fly up to the podium just yet, Birdman. 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 winner most consistently predicts Oscar Night success in the Best Picture category. That win for Birdman counts.
There are only three exceptions since the PGA Awards were started a quarter-century ago: Brokeback Mountain, Saving Private Ryan and Apollo 13. Bad news for Boyhood...unless voters are saving one prestige win for the Big Show.