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!

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