So You Want to Win an Oscar (Pool)

Head here for 2008's version of
winning an Oscar Pool.
Despite what the media is trying to tell you, the Oscars are likely to be a dull affair, at least in terms of the mystery of who the big winners will be. The top categories have been set for weeks, with big wins at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild awards, BAFTAs and all the other guilds and associations. But there is a vested interest in making people believe there could be an upset, otherwise why would anyone watch or read all the lead up?

Of course I will be watching and needed to fill out my ballot for the party. So I’ve decided to share my process, for what it’s worth. The two best places for top-notch Oscar picks are Film Experience – which has the best in-depth analysis of how the votes will go – and Entertainment Weekly, which has an unerring ability to pick the winners. I’ve also checked in on Roger Ebert’s picks and the latest Las Vegas odds on the show. All are below, with quotes and my picks at the end. Share and enjoy!

Best Picture
Film Experience: The Departed
“on account of its solid performance in each quadrant of success: box office + critics + media support + precursors.”
Entertainment Weekly: The Departed
Vegas Odds: The Departed (Odds: 5-2)
Roger Ebert: Babel
Me: The Departed
“I haven’t had a chance to see Iwo Jima and The Queen doesn’t interest me in the latest, so of the other three I’m going with The Departed. Sunshine was fun and I’d chose Babel to win, but this feels like Scorsese’s year.

FE: Martin Scorsese
EW: Martin Scorsese
“Whatever happens in Best Picture, this one is in the bag.”
Vegas: Martin Scorsese (Odds: 5-1)
Ebert: Martin Scorsese
Me: Martin Scorsese
“Looks like the Academy is going to make up for years of snubs, both picture and director with this one, even though it wasn’t his best. ‘Tis the way of Oscar.

FE: Forest Whitaker
Forest Whitaker's long lead will pay off on Oscar night.
EW: Forest Whitaker
Vegas: Forest Whitaker (Odds: 2-5)
“Run Forest Run! It looks like Whitaker can start walking now with the lead he has built.”
Ebert: Forest Whitaker
“Oscar voters love it when actors remove themselves from the typecasting game and play a totally original character.”
Me: Forest Whitaker
“A great transformation – Whitaker always loses himself in the role and this was no exception.”

FE: Helen Mirren
Exactly as expected by everyone and their mother and their friends and their dog and their dogs fleas.
EW: Helen Mirren
Vegas: Helen Mirren (Odds: 1-15)
“With all due respect to the other nominees, I just can't see Helen on the canvas”
Ebert: Helen Mirren
Me: Helen Mirren
“The only mystery here is why anyone would write down another name on their ballot.”

Supporting Actor
FE: Eddie Murphy
EW: Eddie Murphy
Vegas: Eddie Murphy (Odds: 4-5)
Ebert: Eddie Murphy
“It would be an upset if anyone else wins this category.”
Me: Eddie Murphy
“Who am I to argue with such prognostication?”

Supporting Actress
FE: Jennifer Hudson
EW: Jennifer Hudson
Vegas: Jennifer Hudson (Odds: 3-5)
“I still believe Jennifer is going to grab a victory, but if there is a surprise in the four top acting categories, it's this one.”
Ebert: Jennifer Hudson
“Hudson's story is the kind beloved by movie audiences”
Me: Jennifer Hudson
“See above – these categories have been set in stone.”

Original Screenply
FE: Little Miss Sunshine
EW: Little Miss Sunshine
Ebert: Babel
“The academy will honor "Babel," not only because of its complex achievement, but also because of the thought and care that went into it.”
Me: Little Miss Sunshine
“After all the talk of Little Miss Sunshine being the Best Picture dark horse, this will be the consolation prize.”

Adapted Screenplay
FE: The Departed
EW: The Departed
“Monahans fast-paced, talky script touches every base: suspense, intrigue and unexpected humour.”
Me: The Departed

Foreign Film
FE: Lives of Others
EW: Pan’s Labyrinth
Ebert: Pan’s Labyrinth
"Pan's Labyrinth" is fresh and innovative, and was rumored to be in the running for a best picture nomination. It is the one to beat.”
Me: Pan’s Labyrinth
“I would like to say Water, but opinion is leaning heavily to Pan’s Labyrinth, so I will too.”

Animated Film
FE: Cars
EW: Cars
“People love penguins. But probably not enough for Happy Feet to outpace the actor-friendly Cars.
Ebert: Cars
Me: Cars
“Never bet against Pixar.”

Documentary Feature
FE: An Inconvenient Truth
EW: An Inconvenient Truth
Ebert: An Inconvenient Truth
“I have only once in my almost 40 years as a film critic written these words: "You owe it to yourself to see this film." That was the power of Al Gore's movie about global warming.”
Me: An Inconvenient Truth
“Hollywood can’t say no to an issue, and they still feel bad that Al isn’t President, so they’ll give him the best thing they have.”

FE: Children of Men
EW: Children of Men
“Everyone who sees Children of Men comes out raving about those tracking shots, it will probably win.”
Me: Children of Men

Art Direction
FE: Pan's Labyinrth
EW: Dreamgirls
“Dreamgirls eye-popping stage sequences and meticulous ‘60s re-creations will take the prize.”
Me: Pan's Labyinrth

Costume Design
FE: Dreamgirls
“I’m predicting Dreamgirls by a hair or maybe a sequin. Voters do prefer musicals in this category.”
EW: Marie Antoinette
Me: Marie Antoinette

FE: Babel
EW: United 93
“The showier United has the edge.”
Me: Babel

FE: Pan's Labyinrth
EW: The Queen
“So give this prize to The Queen’s Alexandre Desplat.”
Me: The Queen

Sound Mixing
FE: Dreamgirls
EW: Dreamgirls
“The Academy often goes for music-oriented films. So stay tuned for a Dreamgirls win.”
Me: Dreamgirls

Sound Editing
FE: Pirates 2
“I’m thinking this goes to Pirates of the Caribbean with ease. The winner of this category is usually big, loud, and actioney”
EW: Pirates 2
Me: Pirates 2

FE: I Need to Wake Up – Inconvenient Truth
“I’ve always loved Melissa Etheridge and I think her power anthem “I Need To Wake Up” is a terrific straightforward match for the movie that houses it”
EW: Listen - Dreamgirls
Me: Listen - Dreamgirls

Visual FX
FE: Pirates 2
EW: Pirates 2
“Yo, ho, ho there’s no contest here.”
Me: Pirates 2

Make Up
FE: Pan's Labyrinth
“Pan's Labyrinth had stunning makeup effects. And they LOVE prosthetics when it comes to this prize.”
EW: Pan’s Labyrinth
Me: Pan's Labyrinth
Animated Short
FE: The Little Match Girl
EW: The Little Match Girl
Me: The Little Match Girl

Live Action Short
FE: Binta & The Great Idea
EW: Eramos Pocos
Me: Eramos Pocos

Documentary Short
FE: Blood of Yingzhou District
EW: Two Hands
Me: Recycled Life
“Because I need to go out on my own on something.”


  1. Thanks for this great post! Just what I was looking for.

  2. Hope it helped - it didn't for me. I came in third in my pool, 5/6 for the top categories, 13/24 overall. More on that later.

  3. Not only was it dull, it just straight-up sucked!

  4. I did pretty good

    16 out of 24.....