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One Ed Rep to Rule Them All

She received 28 out of 32 possible points – total disbelief. I just lost the Oscar Pool. A bet always carries with it the risk of losing, but this year’s Academy Awards seemed more predictable than ever: have you ever heard of an Oscar Pool where 97% of the participants had the same best movie pick? Normally, there are the movies that should win and the movies that will win. This year’s Oscar united everyone on “Return of the King” – and rightfully so. This movie has the grandeur to stand the test of time and the award also recognized the series as a whole, all nine hours of it. The only person in the Kodak Theatre that expected himself to win and didn’t was fan favorite Bill Murray. It is a sad but probably true fact that Murray will never see a script as good as “Lost in Translation” again.

It could have been his night to crown a career spanning from “Saturday Night Live” to “Ghostbusters” to “Rushmore”, but even he didn’t accumulate more than 33% of the votes. Talk about a predictable, and inevitably boring, evening.

If the evening was so predictable, then why did I lose the Oscar Pool you might ask? The answer lies in the most contested, most controversial and in many ways most heart-wrenching category: Documentary Short Subject. It is one of those categories where the off-music starts playing before the award recipients have even reached the stage. But even this category had an obvious choice: Chernobyl Heart. It accumulated 52% of the votes. But wasn’t it too obvious to choose the movie that plays off one of the most tragic catastrophes of all time? Nothing is too obvious for the Academy. Unlike the SAT or GMAT, choosing the simplest answer is always right, no matter how difficult the question. It works for all the categories, movies about Vietnam (“Fog of War” – winner Best Documentary) or dying family members (“The Barbarian Invasions” – winner Best Foreign Language Film) are always more likely to win. It makes you wonder if the Academy actually watches movies…

So who eventually cracked the jackpot? Of course, to my punishment, my section neighbor and Ed Rep – life plays the cruelest jokes. I will have to end it with another all-time Oscar favorite line when I say: “And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next”. At least, when next year comes around I will be a bit smarter when choosing winners, but then there will be no more “Lord of the Rings”. Damn it.

March 8, 2004
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