How To Pick 2014′s Oscar-winner

Academy Award betting pools will give you either one of two things: the smug satisfaction that you picked the Oscar-winners correctly over your co-workers or the smug dissatisfaction that the Academy did not recognise cinematic brilliance on the same high-chair as you. So really, it’s a simple exercise in smugness, and that’s a personality flaw I excel in.

To help you make the right right choice and avoid the wrong right choice. I’ve tested four different Best Film prediction methods against the previous five years of Academy Awards.

USING A DART BOARD

The simplest (and arguably most enjoyable) prediction method is to label different parts of the dart board with Best Film nominees and randomly throw a dart at it. Whatever film you pierce is the one you’re backing for the Best Film Oscar. Sure, it’s never worked as a reliable predictor, but it’s still fun to throw sharp things.

What isn’t fun is working out the area of the circular board and segmenting that into ten equally-sized pieces. Unless you like maths, making it twice as fun for you. Nerd.

Here’s what the dart board predicted over the last five years.

2009: Milk – WRONG

2010: Up in the Air – WRONG

2011: Inception – WRONG

2012: *I hit the wall – it came out of my bond* – WRONG

2013: Zero Dark Thirty – WRONG

This year, the dart board predicts: Nebraska

Yeah… as great as Alexander Payne’s father-son flick is, its chances of winning are three fifths of diddly squat. Stupid dart board.

FOLLOWING YOUR HEART

When predicting via dumb luck fails you, you’ll want to try the next dumbest method: listening to your heart. If you have an intense adoration towards a film, you may feel that’s enough to justify backing your personal favourite film. And when it does win, the feeling is euphoric. Love cannot let you down.

That is, until the Academy announces a different Best Film, crushing your affections with a 12-tonne brick of wrong.

Here’s what my heart told me would win in the past five years.

2009: Slumdog Millionaire – RIGHT

2010: Up – WRONG

2011: The Social Network – WRONG

2012: The Artist – RIGHT

2013: Silver Linings Playbook – WRONG

My heart predicts: Her

I love Spike Jonze’s latest so much and my heart says it will win. But my heart is dumb, and so is yours. Don’t trust it.

CYNICALLY THINKING THE ACADEMY IS RULED BY OLD PATRIOTIC CURMUDGEONS

After the realisation that the Academy doesn’t give two sloppy shits about what you love, you’ll probably want to make some angry generalisation about them. The most popular of those generalisations is that the Academy is dominated by crusty, ‘merica-loving yahoos that prefer to remember the good-ol’-days that reinforce their patriotic beliefs.

Is that a fair assumption? No, but it’s a pretty decent predictor. Plus, the projected hate will make me feel better about them snubbing Monsters University.

Old man Jenkins would have chosen these films in the past five years.

2009: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – WRONG

2010: The Hurt Locker – RIGHT

2011: The King’s Speech – RIGHT

2012: The Artist – RIGHT

2013: Lincoln – WRONG

This year, old man Jenkins would pick: American Hustle

Old man Jenkins ain’t what he used to be, but he loves being reminded of his disco-blazing, weed-smoking, free-love-practising years as a groovy twentysomething. He also loves being reminded of Amy Adams’ chest. Over and over and over again.

GOOGLING IT

Once you realise that you’re being a horrible ageist (you scumbag), you’ll most likely ask for God’s advice. And by God, I obviously mean Google. By typing in “Oscar [Year] Predictions” and clicking on the first link that comes up, you will predict the winner with more reliability than the previous three methods.

You’ll also suck out any fun and sportsmanship that makes an in-office Oscar pool worth doing. But I’m not telling you how to enjoy yourself; I’m telling you how to win and exercise (exorcise?) your inner smug-hole.

2009: Slumdog Millionaire – RIGHT (via Star Pulse)

2010: The Hurt Locker – RIGHT (via Indie Wire)

2011: The King’s Speech – RIGHT (via Screen Rant)

2012: The Artist – RIGHT (via Indie Wire, again)

2013: Argo – RIGHT (…and again)

This year, Google predicts: 12 Years a Slave (via you-know-who)

There you have it; Steve McQueen’s slavery drama will take Best Film. No doubt about it.

Unless they choose Gravity. In which case, I’ll just give up. I never win these stupid office betting things anyway.

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