When Colin Firth introduced the Best Actress nominees at the Oscars show on Sunday night, he said that watching Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher caused him to experience "a mysterious thrill in the hair follicles."
First reaction: Ewww.
Second reaction: I wonder if 10 of the Mid-South's most expert Oscar prognosticators will experience a similar thrill when they discover they Beat Beifuss?
Like the 84th annual presentation of the Academy Awards, the 16th annual "Beat Beifuss at the Oscars" contest is history.
This year, I was a disappointing 8-2 in my predictions in the contest, which asks readers to outguess me in 10 top Oscar categories.
As a result, 103 of the 910 readers who entered the contest beat Beifuss, including 10 with perfect scores.
Out of the 103 Beifuss beaters, we picked at random 10 winners, each of whom will receive 20 passes to Malco movie theaters.
This year's winners are:
Rick Bishop of Cordova.
Joseph Carson of Memphis.
Sylvia Feldbaum of Memphis.
Suzanne Friedman of Memphis.
Jackie Johns of Memphis.
Elizabeth McGrath of Cordova.
Jed Pruett of Germantown.
Sid Stein of Cordova. (Also a winner last year!)
Jason Thomas of Olive Branch.
John Zeanah of Memphis.
Winners, here's how you collect: Call us at (901) 529-2508, and leave daytime and nighttime phone numbers so we can make arrangements for you to receive your prizes. Winners must make an appointment to pick up the tickets within 30 days.
I have to admit, I outsmarted myself this year. I decided to pick George Clooney instead of perceived frontrunner Jean Dujardin for the tightly contested Best Actor race, simply because I thought the contest would be more fun if I chose a semi-underdog.
When Clooney lost, I wasn't disappointed, because I figured I'd still be a very respectable 9-1 -- just like last year, when I perversely picked underdog Hailee Steinfeld over Melissa Leo for Best Supporting Actress.
But then Streep beat out Viola Davis for Best Actress. Davis had all but been given the award by pundits in the days leading up to the ceremony, so -- for possibly the first time in her life -- Streep was a real underdog. Her surprise victory dropped me to 8-2 -- and taught me a lesson: Next year, dear readers, the gloves are off!
Anyway, readers agreed with me about Davis. Fifty-seven percent of Beat Beifuss players chose "The Help" star, while 29.9 percent picked "The Iron Lady" to win.
In the Best Actor category, 44.2 percent chose Clooney for "The Descendants," while 42.7 percent picked the star of "The Artist," Jean Dujardin.
Despite dissing Dujardin, Mid-Southerners were smart enough to pick "The Artist" over "The Help" for Best Picture by a margin of 66.3 percent to 13.6 percent, leaving the other seven nominees to squabble over the paltry remaining 20 percent.
In my favorite statistic, four entrants didn't pick a single winner, while 25 would-be Beifuss beaters made only one accurate prediction.
Even cheaters didn't prosper. According to Tom McDaniel, support staff manager for The Commercial Appeal and CA Media, one person submitted eight entries, even though contest rules state that people submitting more than one ballot will be disqualified.
Even so, the fraudster "still didn't manage to get more than five picks right on any one of them," he said.