Friday, March 7, 2014
By Ray Routhier firstname.lastname@example.org
Nobody could accuse Oscar of being overly predictable this year.
The movie industry's biggest awards were given out last Sunday, with some major Academy Awards going to folks very few people would have bet on.
The fickleness of Oscar this year could be seen in the results of our annual Readers Pick the Oscars poll. Out of the 579 ballots sent in -- online and via the mail -- only two of them correctly picked the winners in all six categories.
And just 17 people had at least five correct. Four voters had no correct answers at all. None.
We asked voters to pick the winners in the six major Oscar categories -- picture, director, actor, actress, supporting actor and supporting actress. It's never an easy task figuring out how members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will vote, but this year, it seemed tougher than usual.
One big trouble spot for our poll voters seemed to be in the Best Supporting Actor category, where Austrian-born actor Christoph Waltz beat out four veteran Hollywood stars -- Alan Arkin, Robert De Niro, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Tommy Lee Jones -- for his role as a bounty hunter in Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained."
Lynne Stoddard, a retired office manager from Scarborough, got every category correct except for Best Supporting Actor. She picked Hoffman because she loved his performance in "The Master."
Conversely, she didn't see "Django Unchained," and is more apt to vote for movies she saw.
"I see as many of the films as I can, but I just wasn't that interested in seeing ('Django Unchained')," she said. "But now I am."
The Best Director win by Ang Lee, for "Life of Pi," seemed to stump a lot of our voters as well.
Bonnie McGarvey, a retired nurse from Portland, picked David O. Russell of "Silver Linings Playbook" to win Best Director, which was her only incorrect pick.
McGarvey said she picked Russell because she was "so taken" with his film. She thought Steven Spielberg might win for "Lincoln" based on his legendary status and the buzz about that film. Plus, she hadn't heard anyone predicting Lee.
One of our two voters who had perfect scores -- online reader Lisa Bayes of Las Vegas -- said she chose Waltz for supporting actor when others didn't mostly because she knew he had won the award before: In 2010 for Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" (in fact, all the actors in that category had won Oscars before).
And while Lee was a surprise as Best Director to some people, Bayes used her own special system for deducing that he would win.
"My daughter said that ('Life of Pi') was an amazing movie, and so I figured it had to win something," said Bayes.
Because we always award prizes to the folks who do best in our poll, Bayes will get a movie theater gift card.
The other person who went six for six in our poll -- Arthur Thomas of Los Angeles -- will get a copy of "Roger Ebert's Movie Yearbook 2013."
And by the way, for all you movie buffs who study the Oscars rigorously, Bayes didn't see any of the movies she voted for. She read stuff, she heard predictions on TV and radio -- and she guessed.
Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: