How to Win the Oscar Pool 

Our cheat sheet for picking Hollywood's big winners

Isaac Newton was right, and though he couldn't have dreamed of something like motion pictures--let alone the Oscars--his theory of gravity is spot-on in assessing one of the Motion Picture Academy's favorite films of 2013; the attraction of Gravity, the movie, can't be denied.

In anticipation of the Sunday, March 2, Oscars, our first prediction for Hollywood's biggest night is that Gravity will be a big winner, taking home a rocketship full of technical awards. Rest assured, in the first 90 minutes of the broadcast, you'll be hearing Gravity's technical team being summoned to the stage time and again to pick up Oscars for film editing, sound mixing, sound editing, visual effects and cinematography. Gravity director Alfonso Cuaron is the evening's surest bet to take home the Best Director statuette.

Boise Weekly readers were among the first to feel Gravity's pull: In September 2013, we reported that audiences were stunned at a Toronto International Film Festival premiere.

"It scared me on every single level," Gravity star Sandra Bullock told BW in Toronto, "It unlocks those things that scare you, frustrate you, make you so insecure, and it requires you to dig even deeper."

Up until final ballots were mailed to academy members, 12 Years a Slave was the odds-on favorite to win Best Picture. But take a close look at the past two month's editions of Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, and you'll see a flurry of two-page advertisements pushing academy members to vote for Gravity.

So, here's BW's annual cheat sheet to help you win your office Oscar pool. Keep in mind these three key factors when filling out your ballot: 1.) Trust your gut; 2.) Change at least one of your picks to your second choice (Oscar always like one or two big upsets); 3.) Remember which movie employed the most members of the Academy--Gravity required an unprecedented number of technical wizards.

Best Picture: This is the closest race of the night. It's a push between 12 Years a Slave and Gravity.

Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity. It's a lock.

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club. His should be the best speech of the evening.

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine. Possible upset here; see below.

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club. Another lock.

Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years a Slave. Another possible upset; see below.

Best Documentary: 20 Feet from Stardom.

Best Animated Film: Frozen (which will also take home best song).

Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave.

Best Original Screenplay: Her.

Best Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty.

Now, choose at least one of the above categories and pick an upset winner. We think there's a chance that Sandra Bullock could snag Best Actress and Jennifer Lawrence could stun viewers by winning Best Supporting Actress for her wonderful turn in American Hustle.

Do the Oscars matter? Sure. Does the Academy always get it right? Absolutely not. Consider for a moment some of the fine films denied the Best Picture award: Dr. Strangelove, Jaws, The Killing Fields, Network, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chinatown, Sunset Boulevard, Citizen Kane, The Wizard of Oz and Saving Private Ryan.

If only Issac Newton were here today; he might lend some gravitas to the science wing of the academy... or perhaps some Gravity.

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