Academy Awards 2011: Our Oscars pool rewards knowledge and risk.

All about the Academy Awards.
Feb. 27 2011 7:19 AM

Slate Has Perfected the Oscars Pool

Arcane knowledge is rewarded! Wild guesswork is penalized! Bold predictions will carry the day! Play now!

Play Slate's Lean/Lock game for the Oscars now! Read on for everything you need to know.

Oscar statue, 2010.

You know this guy: When the office Oscars pool went around last year, he spent five minutes filling out his picks, having seen maybe three movies all year. A month later, he got lucky on a few guesses and walked off with a fistful of cash.

The problem with Oscars pools, March Madness pools, and every other prediction game is that they don't discriminate against laziness. If the chips fall a certain way, players who guess wildly can beat those who actually have a clue. Slate is determined to put an end to this injustice.

We've created the Oscars Lean/Lock game, a spin-off of last year's  election-prediction game. (To jump straight to the game,  click here.) The rules won't prevent the casual moviegoer from participating, but they'll penalize him for guessing incorrectly. Here's how the pool works:


All of the main categories in the  main awards ceremony, from Best Picture to Sound Mixing, are included in the game. You aren't required to pick a winner in every category, and you should choose which categories you compete in wisely: You get points for correctly guessing the winner of a category, but you're docked points if you're wrong.

For each category you decide to play, you can either "lean" or "lock" your nominee. Use the "lean" option if you're pretty sure you know who will take home the little gold man. Use the "lock" option if you're certain of it.

For each correct pick, you'll earn 1 point per lean and 2 points per lock.

But for each incorrect pick, however, you'll lose 1 point per lean and 2 points per lock.

You have until 5 p.m. ET on Feb. 27, the evening of the awards ceremony, to finalize your picks. While the nominees are sipping champagne at the Oscars after parties, we'll be tabulating the results of the game, and we'll salute the player with the highest point total in an article on Slate. Good luck!

Like Slate on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Why Men Can Never Remember Anything

The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Why Men Can Never Remember Anything

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 1:56 PM Scotland’s Attack on the Status Quo Expect more political earthquakes across Europe.
Sept. 19 2014 12:09 PM How Accelerators Have Changed Startup Funding
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Why Men Never Remember Anything
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Sept. 19 2014 2:06 PM The Guest and Fort Bliss How do we tell the stories of soldiers returning home from war?
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 12:38 PM Forward, March! Nine leading climate scientists urge you to attend the People’s Climate March.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 12:13 PM The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola  The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.