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Playing the Oscar game

Here's your chance to vie with the features editor to see who can predict Academy Award winners.

January 21, 2013|By Michael Miller
  • Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez in "Argo." Featured Editor Michael Miller has picked this film to win Best Picture.
Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez in "Argo." Featured… (Courtesy Claire…)

It's time to play one of our favorite yearly games at Times Community News: Can You Outguess the Features Editor? And no, that's not a rhetorical question. You probably can.

Last year, incurable Oscar junkie that I am, I challenged readers to beat my predictions for the top six categories of the Academy Awards: Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress. Whatever brazen confidence I may have had going in quickly got erased when two readers guessed five out of six winners correctly, trouncing my meager three of six.

As some of my friends know, I'm quite an expert when it comes to Oscar's past. If you stop me on the street and blurt out any year between 1928 and 2011, I can name the film that won that year's Best Picture within five seconds. Or perhaps you'll try a harder one: What was the last film to win the top prize without being nominated for Best Director? Who holds the record for most acting nominations without ever winning?

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The answers, obviously, are "Driving Miss Daisy" and Peter O'Toole. But that photographic memory doesn't always serve me well when predicting Oscar's future. Did I really say in print last year that Melissa McCarthy would win Best Supporting Actress for "Bridesmaids"? And did I really expect "Brokeback Mountain" to top "Crash" for Best Picture in 2005? Wait a minute — everyone expected that. Oscar is full of surprises, some more welcome than others.

But my wounds from the past are healed, and so 2013's contest is officially on. If you think you can predict the winners better than I can, email your picks for each category to michael.miller@latimes.com and include your full name, age and city of residence. If you win, you'll get a mention in the paper after the Feb. 24 ceremony. You'll also get to point and laugh at me if you see me on the street — provided that you beat me, of course.

And so we're off! Here are my (kind of) savvy predictions for each of the top prizes:

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Best Picture

A note, first of all: I really don't care for this new system of nominating more than five movies for the top prize. When the field is stretched that thin, it always comes down to a handful of movies that have a chance and a larger handful ("The Blind Side"?) that don't. Usually, the five films that nab a Best Director nomination can be considered the "real" Best Picture nominees, except....

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