Time to lay out the rules for the 2013 edition of the "Beat Berardinelli" Oscar prediction contest. Not a lot has changed from last year. For a complete list of my picks (in all categories except the shorts, which I traditionally ignore), click over to this link.
What's the Objective/How to Win: Simple. You accrue points for each correct winner (except the shorts - that makes 21 categories). If your point total exceeds my point total and that of everyone else who enters, you win. In the case of a tie, there are two tiebreakers. In the highly unlikely event that no one beats my total, no one wins. (Please note: when considering my score, the operative term is "beat" - if you tie me, there are no tiebreakers and you do not win.)
To the Victor Go the Spoils: The winner, if he/she has an address in the United States, gets to choose between two options: (1) Any DVD or Blu-Ray valued at less than $30 available directly from Amazon.com. You must have a mailing address that UPS can deliver to, or (2) I'll review a movie of your choice. The only limitation is that the movie has to be available for rent from Netflix (streaming or through-the-mail DVD). In the event that the winner does not live in the United States, only Option #2 is available as the prize.
How to Enter: Fill out the ballot found in the ReelViews forums (see link below) by removing all the titles in each category but the one you choose as the winner. (Refer to the sample, which is my ballot.) Cut and paste your ballot as a follow-up entry in the forum. Important: Your entry must appear in the forum for it to be valid. If you don't have a forum login, you can obtain one by registering. The "register" option will be enabled for the entire duration of the contest. However, since I have to hand approve every registration, there will be a delay between when you register and when the registration is activated. Also, selecting a username that sounds like a "real" username will speed the process. If you provide a name that looks suspiciously like something generated for SPAM purposes, I'll reject it. This year, no entries e-mailed to me will be accepted. You have to enter them yourself into the forum. If you're having trouble registering, send me an e-mail and I'll help you out. Confusing or incomplete ballots will be rejected. The contest link will be "open" from approximately noon EST on Sunday, February 17 until exactly noon EST on Saturday, February 23. You are free to change your selections (by editing your own post) until the deadline when the forum is locked. The winner will be announced in the forum and by e-mail. Hopefully, this will happen on Feb. 25, although it depends how many ballots I have to score.
There is a point system involved, as was the case last year. Awards are grouped into three categories. MAJORS - Picture, Director, Lead & Supporting Actor, Lead & Supporting Actress. MEDIUMS - Adapted & Original Screenplay, Foreign Language Film, Documentary Feature, Animated Feature. MINORS - Everything else (ten total). MAJORS are worth three points each. MEDIUMS are worth two points each. MINORS are worth one point each. Maximum total points: 38.
There are two tiebreakers. The first is simple: If two (or more) entrants are tied in points, the one with the highest total of correct nominations wins. In the event that this doesn't resolve the tie, we move to "Guess the time (EST) when the Best Picture winner is announced." This should appear at the bottom of your ballot. It's optional, but if you don't fill it in and you end up in a tie-breaker, you lose. The time used is the official time per www.time.gov, not the time on your living room clock (unless that's tied to the official time). I'll post the time as part of the live event coverage. My decision is binding. Whoever gets closest to the time wins the tiebreaker. If there are still ties after the second tie-breaker, I'll figure out something - could be multiple winners or I could come up with something devious as a third tiebreaker.
Here's the link to the section of the forum where the ballots can be entered. Please copy-edit the ballot template into a new follow-up post. Also, take a look at the sample ballot for an example of how to fill it out.
Good luck. I feel certain I'll be soundly trounced.