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The Fifth Annual Pajiba Academy Award Telecast Quiz and Contest

By C. Robert Dimitri | Miscellaneous | February 21, 2015 |

By C. Robert Dimitri | Miscellaneous | February 21, 2015 |

From the depths of the Valley on the other side of the hill from Hollywood and Highland, I have emerged once again to deliver to you Pajiba’s annual test of your Academy Award predictive abilities. Yes, it’s Oscar time once again, movie fans. As is the tradition, you’ll be picking some of the winners, but I’m also mixing it up with a little outside-the-box speculation.

To show you exactly what a grand tradition this competition has, I give you the Pajiba Academy Award Prediction Hall of Fame — the full list of our past champions:

2011 Margrete
2012 =DocDoom=
2013 Robert
2014 cox

Yes, these folks were commenters just like you, but now they are immortalized as winners of the highest honor!

As always, if you are the winner and can find your own way to Los Angeles, I offer you the prize of treating you to one of those guided tours of the Dolby Theatre. (As of yet, no one has taken me up on this.) To sweeten the stakes, the website has also agreed to award the winner $100.

We’re doing this the low-tech way. Leave your answers as letters in the comments section, and I’ll score them. (If a ludicrous number of people participate, I request that you be extremely patient.)

If you have insider knowledge of the Oscar ceremony that applies to these questions, you are ineligible to win. Make sure you post your entry by the end of the day this Saturday, February 21st, as the thread will be closing on Sunday morning several hours before the ceremony.

1. All-around showman Neil Patrick Harris has seemed like a natural pick for this gig for a while, and he finally has his shot at hosting. There’s little question he’ll give us song and dance, but - true or false - he’ll also incorporate his skills as a magician.

A) True
B) False

2. This year’s memorable appearance in Gone Girl aside, Neil Patrick Harris is best known for non-movie work. At some point in the evening, will he (or anyone else) make mention or reference to notable projects from his past Doogie Howser, M.D., Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, or How I Met Your Mother?

A) No mention of any of them. This is the Oscars! Television and Internet must be resisted. Box office opening weekends must be honored.
B) Mention of one and only one. I’d bet on a Barney Stinson reference, but perhaps it could be a nod to his humble Doogie beginnings.
C) Mention of exactly two of them.
D) Mention of all three! Never underestimate the influence of Bad Horse, the Thoroughbred of Sin. Where’s that Dr. Horrible sequel, Joss?

3. Three of the acting categories this year appear to be mortal locks. Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons, and Julianne Moore have repeatedly won earlier award shows, and Vegas oddsmakers make them overwhelming favorites in their categories. There could always be an upset, though, right?

A) No, all three of them win.
B) Exactly one of them will lose.
C) Exactly two of them will lose.
D) Craziest Oscar upset night ever — all three lose.

4. Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel might not be a favorite in the biggest categories, but with nine nominations it is favored in Costume Design, Production Design, and Makeup. Of these three categories, Grand Budapest Hotel will prevail in…

A) none of them
B) exactly one of them
C) exactly two of them
D) all three of them

5. What wins Documentary Feature?

A) Citizenfour
B) Finding Vivian Maier
C) Last Days in Vietnam
D) The Salt of the Earth
E) Virunga

6. At least a partial list of the presenters have been announced, and per the acting award tradition we know which ones Cate Blanchett, Matthew McConaughey, Lupita Nyong’o, and Jared Leto probably will be handing out. However, the others are more of a mystery. Take a guess at which of these announced Academy Award presenters will have the honor of announcing the Best Picture. In recent history this honor has usually gone to a previous winner, but that is not always the case.

A) Nicole Kidman
B) Liam Neeson
C) Gwyneth Paltrow
D) Ben Affleck
E) Scarlett Johansson
F) Eddie Murphy
G) Zoe Saldana
H) Chris Pine
I) Meryl Streep
J) John Travolta
K) Oprah Winfrey
L) someone else

7. Another presenter question: which of these announced folks will fulfill his or her presenting duties at the latest point in the ceremony?

A) Marion Cotillard
B) Benedict Cumberbatch
C) Jennifer Lopez
D) David Oyelowo
E) Kerry Washington

8. Whether it occur in the opening monologue or elsewhere, sometimes people on the Academy Awards stage highlight current events or make political commentary. Which of these will be referenced? For the purposes of this question, recorded clips and song lyrics do not count.

B) Ferguson
C) vaccinations
D) more than one of these
E) none of these

9. Taking the dresses of the following ten ladies (all acting nominees) into account, which of the colors in the choices below will be the most frequent color (including its shades) worn on Oscar night: Marion Cotillard, Felicity Jones, Julianne Moore, Rosamund Pike, Reese Witherspoon, Patricia Arquette, Laura Dern, Keira Knightley, Emma Stone, and Meryl Streep? Note: my rudimentary skills at color distinction will be the final arbiter on determining the color of any given dress. Dresses with more than one of these colors will be disqualified from consideration. If any of the colors below tie for the lead, the leaders all will be counted as correct.

A) Green
B) Blue
C) Red
D) Pink
E) Black
F) Yellow
G) White

10. I have gotten a particular kick out of the recent Birdman advertisements in which Inarritu tells us that “we all have a Birdman.” True or false: at some point during the evening someone on stage will express that universally relatable sentiment in those or similar words.

A) True
B) False

11. Yes, I know it’s still unlikely, but I’m never going to take this question out of the quiz. True or false: at some point during the ceremony, someone who is not scheduled to be on stage will pull some sort of publicity stunt and make an appearance. (For the purposes of this question, the proxy appearance of Sacheen Littlefeather for Marlon Brando when he refused his Best Actor Oscar would have counted. An incident in the Kanye West / Taylor Swift ballpark counts. An obviously staged “interruption” within the show does not count.)

A) True
B) False

12. Which film takes the prize for Best Foreign Language Film?

A) Ida, Poland
B) Leviathan, Russia
C) Tangerines, Estonia
D) Timbuktu, Mauritania
E) Wild Tales, Argentina

13. Original Score this year is a tough call. Alexandre Desplat has the honor of double nominations, but will this split his support enough to give the Oscar to someone else? Which takes the prize?

A) The Grand Budapest Hotel, Alexandre Desplat
B) The Imitation Game, Alexandre Desplat
C) Interstellar, Hans Zimmer
D) Mr. Turner, Gary Yershon
E) The Theory of Everything, Johann Johannsson

14. Remember when Jennifer Lawrence tripped going up the steps to accept her Oscar a couple years ago, thus furthering our adoration of her down-to-earth humility? True 0r false: someone will trip on the way up to the podium to accept an award this year as well.

A) True
B) False

15. What combination of Sound Editing and Sound Mixing wins occurs?

A) American Sniper wins both awards.
B) Birdman wins both awards.
C) Interstellar wins both awards.
D) Whiplash wins Sound Mixing, and either American Sniper or Interstellar wins Sound Editing.
E) Some other combination of wins takes place.

16. Best Live Action Short Film goes to…

A) Aya
B) Boogaloo and Graham
C) Butter Lamp
D) Parvaneh
E) The Phone Call

17. Best Animated Short Film goes to…

A) The Bigger Picture
B) The Dam Keeper
C) Feast
D) Me and My Moulton
E) A Single Life

18. Who wins for Best Original Screenplay?

A) , Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., & Armando Bo
B) , Boyhood, Richard Linklater
C) , Foxcatcher, E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
D) , The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
E) , Nighcrawler, Dan Gilroy

19. Julianne Moore is a strong favorite for Best Actress, but regardless of who is making the speech, how long will the Best Actress’ speech be: over or under 150 seconds? (As a frame of reference, 150 seconds was the approximate length of Natalie Portman’s speech four years ago. Meryl Streep commanded the stage for 146 seconds three years ago. Jennifer Lawrence’s speech two years ago was substantially shorter. However, Cate Blanchett’s speech last year exceeded the three-minute mark.) I’ll be running the stopwatch.


20. Best Director looks like a close race between the two favorites. Choose one of those two or take a shot at the big upset.

A) Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Alejandro G. Inarritu
B) Boyhood, Richard Linklater
C) Foxcatcher, Bennett Miller
D) The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson
E) The Imitation Game, Morten Tyldum

21. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) and The Grand Budapest Hotel lead the way with nine nominations apiece, but it’s unlikely that either will win all of those. At evening’s end, what single movie will have earned the most Oscar wins, and how many wins will that be?

A) Birdman alone leads with four or more
B) The Grand Budapest Hotel alone leads with four or more
C) Boyhood alone leads with four or more
D) A movie other than those three leads the way.
E) One of those three alone leads the way but does so with three or fewer wins, or two or more films tie for the lead regardless of the total.

22. Who is this year’s Best Actor?

A) Steve Carell, Foxcatcher - Playing a role based on a real guy…with the help of a prosthetic nose.
B) Bradley Cooper, American Sniper - Playing a role based on a real guy…who didn’t actually face that arch-nemesis Syrian gold medalist sniper repeatedly on the field of battle.
C) Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game - Playing a role based on a real guy…who is largely to thank for that contraption on which you are now typing.
D) Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything - Playing a role based on a real guy…who has compared his voice to that of a Dalek.
E) Michael Keaton, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) - Playing a role not based on a real guy…but in that funny meta-artistic way playing a role that reminds you of the guy playing the guy.

23. What will win Best Picture?

A) American Sniper - Clint Eastwood just keeps the hits coming.
B) Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) - That’s a pretty swell camera trick they pulled.
C) Boyhood - No camera tricks here. Just patience, faith, and a willingness to let a lot of time pass.
D) The Grand Budapest Hotel - My third favorite Wes Anderson film…and I love the top two quite a bit.
E) Any of the other four Best Picture nominees! Yes, you get the rest of the field with this choice: The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash.

24. The tried and true tiebreaker: to the nearest minute, how long will this broadcast monstrosity run?

If this thing is still tied after that, we go to a random drawing. Good luck, movie fans, and thanks for participating!

C. Robert Dimitri does not care about Oscar snubs, who wins, and who loses. However, he does enjoy the ceremony and loves the dialogue about film that the Academy Awards inspire this time of year. He wishes you a fun viewing and thanks you for your participation in this trivial contest!

To assist in answering the above quiz, you can copy/paste the question numbers into your comment: