Everyone’s a critic.

And we mean that in a good way.

It seems that moviegoers are more savvy about the machinations of Hollywood then ever before. There is strong evidence supporting this theory in the results of this year’s annual Readers Pick the Oscars contest.

Press Herald readers were asked to pick the winners in the six major Oscar categories: picture, actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress and director. Twenty-three folks, out of 325 who took the poll, went six for six.

That’s a total of 7 percent who got a perfect score. In only a few of the past 15 years of the poll has anybody gotten a perfect score, and typically no more than six people do in a single year.

So what’s happening? Have the Oscar voters been posting their voting criteria online? Or, have the Academy Awards just become predictable?


“This was an easy year to pick winners,” said Edward Lorusso of Belgrade, a retired education outreach manager for the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. “This year’s acting winners were pretty much set, what with earlier awards and reviews. The only real toss-up was best film – ‘12 Years a Slave’ versus ‘Gravity.’ All other things being equal, the academy will almost always choose the uplifting drama over a tekkie film.”

Lorusso added that the race for best actor would have been closer if Robert Redford had been nominated for “All Is Lost.” But he wasn’t.

The Oscars were doled out last Sunday, live on ABC television. The winners in the six major categories: “12 Years a Slave” for best picture; Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club” for best actor; Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine” for best actress; Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club” for supporting actor; Lupita Nyong’o in “12 Years a Slave” for supporting actress; and Alfonso Cuaron for directing “Gravity.”

Lorusso and others who went six for six in our poll said the big key to picking winners is to try to think like an academy voter.

So instead of just saying, “I think that movie was the best,” Oscar predictors need to think about what kinds of films the voters like, what kinds of actors they like, and who might be overdue for an award.

“I made my choices based on guesses and my sense of the politics of the Academy Awards,” said Alice Persons of Westbrook, who works in radiology at Maine Medical Center in Portland and runs the poetry press Moon Pie Press. “For me, the easiest picks were best actor and best supporting actor, since the academy loves performances where actors transform themselves physically, not to say that the awards weren’t deserved.”


Persons went six for six without seeing all the films that had nominations. Bob Colby, a freelance writer and editor from Portland, said he did see all the movies involved in the six categories.

Still, his six correct choices were based on what he thought the academy would like, not the films he liked best or found most watchable.

“‘12 Years a Slave’ deserved to win best picture, but I don’t know if I’ll ever watch it again. It was wrenching and disturbing,” said Colby. “It’s just something I don’t think I’ll want to revisit. On the other hand, I’ve watched ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ and ‘American Hustle’ twice already.”

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


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