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Here's the Inside Scoop on How to Win Our Oscar Contest

Expect the unexpected and beware of the Best Actress/Supporting Actress scam.

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When I was but a lad, I won a contest in which my hometown newspaper asked readers to pick Oscar winners. Somehow, I picked every correct winner and, for that, I won a year-long pass to my local movie theater. Truth be told, I hadn't seen 90 percent of the nominees. I wasn't even old enough to see any of the adult-themed films. How did I pick the winners? It still beats the heck out of me. Here's the point: you have as much chance to win our Red Carpet movie contest as anyone. Give it a try. If you look to the right, you'll see an image of a sample ballot, indicating which films, actors, directors, etc. I'm choosing this year(just in case you're at a total loss). Click here to join the contest. Meanwhile, here are a few inside tips that might increase your chances:

Expect the Unexpected

There's always at least one big upset. This year, don't be surprised if comes in the Best Picture or Best Actor contests. Nearly everyone (including me) is a bit ga-ga for La La Land; and, that alone, should make you skeptical about it winning the top prize. Casey Affleck (Manchester By the Sea) is also heavily favored to take home the Best Actor statuette, but keep in mind that Denzel Washington (Fences) pulled a Best Actor upset win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG membership makes up a huge voting bloc in the Motional Picture Academy).

The Leading Actress/Supporting Actress Scam

There's one sure-fire way to win an Oscar. If you've delivered one of the best performances of the year, convince as many people as possible that you delivered a "supporting performance." That's why, for example, Viola Davis, who gave one of the year's best female lead performances in Fences, will almost assuredly win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar (in spite of the fact that she appears throughout the film). It's a strategy that has proved successful on multiple previous occasions (Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl, Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls, Catherine Zeta-Jones for Chicago).

Writers (Really Good Ones) Win Oscars

Some of history's greatest writers have taken home Hollywood's top prize. Horton Foote, Paddy Chayefsky and William Inge have all picked up Oscars for their screenplays. The Academy takes pride in honoring the work of writers from other mediums. So, this year, it's a pretty good bet two of America's best playwrights, Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester By the Sea) and the late August Wilson (Fences) will win Oscars for the year's Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay, respectively.

The Best Song? Anybody's Guess

The Motion Picture Academy is notoriously tone-deaf when it comes to awarding the best song of the year. Consider the fact that these songs, all written for the screen, weren't even nominated for Oscars: Goldfinger; A Hard Day's Night; Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas; New York, New York; Gangsta's Paradise; Springtime for Hitler. Really, Academy? Really?

So, there's the scoop, dear reader. Register for the Red Carpet Movie Awards at redcarpetballot.boiseweekly.com or text "boiseweekly" to 77948 and we'll send a ballot to your smartphone. This year's contest, sponsored by our friends at The Flicks, promises some great prizes.

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