Oscar Pool 101

Predicting the Oscars is not that hard, but winning an Oscar pool is almost as difficult as getting one of this little golden men. I may not be able to get you to the top, but follow this advice and I will at least bring you into striking distance.

1. Read those who know

I don't have any special insider knowledge or Academy clairvoyance, but I read people who seem to. First stop for anyone filling out their ballot should be Entertainment Weekly. They predict every category, down to the two sound categories, with surprising accuracy. Yup, there are two sound categories and winning them will help you rise to the top.

Next stop, Film Experience. Nathaniel has a unerring sense of what is going to win and also what is going to be nominated in the first place. His perspective is that of a true film fanatic who is able to look past who he would like to win to who actually will. While neither source is infallible, in the long run you can't beat their track records.

There are a few other sites that can help you through your choices (Awards Daily; The Envelope; Oscar Frenzy) but you can drive yourself crazy trying to keep up with it all.

2. Know what has come before

Academy voters usually belong to another Hollywood group that, more likely than not, has their own award show that precedes the Oscars. These are the folks that get ballots so knowing how they voted will give you a pretty good idea of how the night will progress.

Screen Actors Guild Awards

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Julie Christie – Away From Her

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Javier Bardem – No Country For Old Men

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Ruby Dee – American Gangster

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
No Country For Old Men

Writers Guild of America

Original Screenplay
Juno, Written by Diablo Cody

Adapted Screenplay
No Country For Old Men, Screenplay by Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, Based on the Novel by Cormac McCarthy

Directors Guild of America

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men

Producers Guild of America

Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures
No Country for Old Men

3. Know the odds

You can read the critics lists but realistically they don't really come into play on this night. The critics will pick what they believe is the best film or performance of the lot — which is at it should be — but should win doesn't matter. So go the guys who are in it to win: the Las Vegas Oscar odds.

Pretty much all the online bookmakers are putting out odds, as do the casinos. Here's the line from Bodog on best picture — you can read the rest here.

Odds On: Which film will win the 80th Annual Academy (Oscar) Award for Best Picture?

Atonement: 6/1
Juno : 13/2
Michael Clayton: 25/1
No Country for Old Men: 4/11
There Will Be Blood: 11/2

4. Ignore all the above

Every year there is an unexpected winner that nobody sees coming. So take a chance on a long shot to get an edge over the competition. But you should mostly copy EW. I'll let you know how it worked for me.


  1. lol - you can't take this stuff too seriously. Unless there are bragging rights involved, of course.

  2. can I lay some money on the show being too long?

  3. I can't take bets on sure things.