In last year's office pool, for the second year running, I accurately predicted the best-picture Oscar winner. Forget all of the other predictions, which were varying degrees of mistaken; I shoulda been a film critic.Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, despite having the current advantage on various Oscar Prediction websites (e.g. this one) isn't even listed. Perhaps he read the negative review here on JFW and decided it reflected a consensus view among the discerning audience of academy voters. I'm not saying LOTR: ROTK is going to win, but it certainly has better odds than Seabiscuit or The Last Samurai (the latter not even a Golden Globe nominee) and should have been included in the quiz. Which just goes to show how afield of reality Safire has wandered.
9. Best-Picture Oscar: (a) Anthony Minghella's "Cold Mountain"; (b) Edward Zwick's "The Last Samurai"; (c) Clint Eastwood's "Mystic River"; (d) Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation"; (e) Gary Ross's "Seabiscuit." (This is the category I'm good at.)
Update, 1/3: I just looked on Tradesports, my preferred source for market-based probability estimates, and LOTR: ROTK is trading at around 60, meaning that the market sees it as having a better chance of winning the Oscar than all the contenders Safire listed combined.