When it comes to this year’s major Oscar races, Maine can claim a big piece of the “Pi.”

Mainers don’t always have a rooting interest in the Academy Awards. But this year, they do, thanks to Steven Callahan of Lamoine, a small town near Ellsworth.

Callahan, a shipwreck survivor and marine designer, was a key consultant on Ang Lee’s epic “Life of Pi.” Callahan was uniquely suited to consult on every aspect of living adrift after a shipwreck, since he did just that for two and a half months in 1982, and later wrote the best-selling book, “Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea.”

“Life of Pi” is one of nine films nominated for Best Picture this year. But it’s in a crowded field that includes “Lincoln,” “Les Miserables” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Still, you never know, Mainers, so root hard. Even though Callahan is not a named nominee, his advice and help touched much of that film.

But don’t just root; remember also to give the Oscar races plenty of thought before registering your picks.

Yes, it’s that time of year again, when we let our readers pick the Oscars in our cleverly named Readers Pick the Oscars contest.

We ask readers to predict the winners in the six major Oscar categories: Picture, actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress and director. Remember, you need to pick whom the Oscar will go to, not which performance or film you liked best.

So while you may have loved Hugh Jackman in “Les Miserables,” you have to consider whether he can really beat out Daniel Day-Lewis’ title performance in “Lincoln” in the eyes of Oscar voters. After all, Day-Lewis pretty much only takes a role if he thinks it’s Oscar-worthy. At least it seems that way.

Who do you pick for best actress, where there doesn’t seem to be a favorite? Or in the supporting actor category, where it’s a who’s who of veteran character actors, including Alan Arkin, Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Tommy Lee Jones?

So start thinking about this now. But don’t worry, you’ve got time.

Just fill out our ballot, either in print or online, and make sure it gets to us by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22. See the full ballot and contest rules above.

And in case you need incentive, we will be giving out prizes – movie tickets. We will pick the prize winners randomly from those ballots that have the most correct answers.

The Oscars will be given out Feb. 24, with television coverage on ABC beginning at 7 p.m. Then we will print the results — including who among your neighbors got the most correct picks — in the Audience section on March 3.

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

[email protected]