The Oscar contest crowns a new King

If my Oscar ballot were a football team, it would be the New England Patriots, a perennial playoff team and one of the elites.

If a head coach won 75 percent of his games, he’d end his career enshrined in Canton.

But 75 percent isn’t a winner in the Oscar prognostication business.

For at least the fifth straight year, I went 6-2 in my Academy Award predictions in the eight categories included in the Tribune Chronicle’s annual Oscar contest.

It could have been worse.

If I’d stayed with the predictions I made in January, I’d have finished 3-4 (I initially left Best Actress blank). Last week I picked Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress, switched my Best Picture choice to “Argo” and changed my mind in mid-paragraph to switch my Best Director pick from Steven Spielberg to Ang Lee. All three moves were the right call, unlike 2009, when I turned a perfect 8-0 set of predictions into a 6-2 result with last-minute changes.

But I wasn’t the only one who had problems. While there weren’t any shocking results Sunday, there were enough hotly contested races that it was difficult to predict which way every one of them would tilt.

Sure, nearly everyone opted for Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor and Anne Hathaway for Best Supporting Actress. But only about 25 percent of the folks who entered the Tribune contest picked Christoph Waltz to win Best Supporting Actor for “Django Unchained,” and most of them also picked Spielberg. Lee was named by less than 20 percent of the entrants for Best Director, but many who picked him went with “Life of Pi” or “Lincoln” for Best Picture. And while Oscar watchers should know not to bet against Pixar for Best Animated Feature, “Wreck It Ralph” was the consensus front runner going into the ceremony, not “Brave.”

Only one ballot correctly guessed all eight categories. Well, make that one eligible ballot. One online entry got them all right, but it was submitted two days too late.

And the winner is … drum roll, please … Marilyn King of Newton Falls.

This is King’s second win. She was one of 15 people who got every category right in 2009 and one of only two who correctly guessed the tiebreaker.

King said she was surprised to win because she missed the tiebreaker, picking “Argo” to win five Oscars.

“I did it at the last minute,” she said. “I had my son run it to the Tribune before he got his car fixed, and I put the wrong movie for the tiebreaker. I was going to go for ‘Pi.'”

This time it didn’t matter.

King said she saw most of the nominated movies this year, except for “Lincoln” – “My daughter thought it was boring, but her husband liked it.” Not seeing “Lincoln” may have been an advantage, because it might have steered her away from the film in the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor categories, which was the downfall of many ballots.

She did get a little help from her sister when it came to picking Best Animated Feature, because the only one she had seen was “Brave.”

“I talked to my sister in Arizona, because she sees the animated ones. I asked her what she thought would win, and she said ‘Brave.'”

Waltz got her vote for Best Supporting Actor because he had the more substantial role.

“He had a lot of different characters in his character,” King said.

Thanks to all who entered.

Andy Gray is the entertainment writer for the Tribune Chronicle. Write to him at grayareas@