I may have trounced my Envelope colleague Pete Hammond (Notes on a Season) at predicting the most Oscar nominations last month and, before that, forecasting the most correct wins last year. But Pete just struck his revenge! He just clobbered me at scoring this year's derby 19 to 17. Congrats, Pete! (Click here to see our prediction lists.)
Most impressive: Pete got some of those really tricky Oscar categories right, the ones determined by private screenings like best live action short ("The New Tenants"), animated short ("Logorama") and best foreign film ("Secret in Their Eyes"). I botched those, but topped Pete in predicting those two sound races ("The Hurt Locker").
But, of course, I botched the biggest race of all -- best picture -- sticking stubbornly with "Inglourious Basterds," well, basically because I had to. Early this derby season, I had warned my fellow pundits that it was a top player, but they didn't even have it on their lists as a serious contender. When nominations came out, it had the second most, so, obviously, it was in the mix, especially since no one knew how to size up the weird preferential ballot. It won the SAG ensemble award, which meant that it could really pull off an upset. Then Harvey Weinstein cranked up a blitzkrieg campaign for "Basterds" while "The Hurt Locker" came under attack for accuracy issues and a maverick producer breaking campaign rules. As long as my ship was still afloat, this captain had to remain on board, of course. And, in the end, ah, well, at least I got a good swim.
Photo: Illustration by Tye Wilson