Very few Maine movie buffs expected “Birdman” to swoop down and capture the best picture Oscar this year.

It was not a major hit at the box office, and director Alejandro Inarritu’s technique of making the film appear as if it was shot in one take seemed a little too tricky, a little too much like a film student trying to impress his professors.

But win “Birdman” did, and in the process, spoiled many ballots in our annual Readers Pick the Oscars contest.

Only three people this year got a perfect six for six score in the poll. Last year 23 people were able to correctly predict the winners in the six major Oscar categories: picture, director, actor, actress, supporting actress and supporting actor.

And only three people scored five out of six in our poll. In all three of those cases, the one category they picked incorrectly was best picture. The Oscars were handed out Feb. 22 in Los Angeles. A total of 158 people cast votes in the poll.

“I thought ‘Birdman’ would win for director, but because of its sentimentality I thought ‘Boyhood’ would win best picture,” said Christina Brown of Gorham, one of three voters who went five for six. “I thought ‘Birdman’ was one of those that insiders would like a lot, but that ‘Boyhood’ would have broader appeal.”


Besides getting to say they did better than a lot of their neighbors, the people who scored highest in our poll will also get prizes. The three participants with perfect scores and the three who got just one wrong will receive cinema gift cards.

Tom Neufeld of Kennebunkport went five for six; he picked “The Theory of Everything” to win best picture. He thought it would be a close race for best picture between that movie and “Birdman.” But he said “The Theory of Everything,” and the performance of best actor winner Eddie Redmayne, “struck a chord” with him.

“I liked ‘Birdman’ a lot, but the way that (Redmayne) just dropped into his role so effortlessly made me pick that film,” said Neufeld.

Besides “Birdman” for best picture and Redmayne for best actor, the other winners in the major categories were: best actress, Julianne Moore for “Still Alice”; best supporting actor, J.K. Simmons for “Whiplash”; best supporting actress, Patricia Arquette for “Boyhood”; and best director, Inarritu for “Birdman.”

Without a lot of blockbusters among the nominees, this year’s field was a little harder to pick. The predictions of critics and the results of other awards shows were helpful, but it was still a tough year to call the Oscars.

One of our poll takers who got all six right, Susan Baker of Brunswick, said her picks were mostly guesswork. They were also proof that two heads are better than one. She said she and her daughter Caitlyn were both filling out the poll. Baker thought they shouldn’t both fill in the same answers, so she confiscated some of her daughter’s answers for herself.

“My daughter was telling me what to pick; she got the predictions from,” said Baker. “I’m really surprised I got them all right.”

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