For the first time, the Gazette’s Oscar contest has a repeat winner.
Schenectady resident Cheryl Syta, who won in 2012, has won again.
This is the fifth year of The Gazette’s Oscar contest, where readers try to beat my picks.
None of the entrants had a perfect ballot this year. But Syta correctly guessed eight out of nine categories, tying one other contest participant for the best score. Her name was randomly selected from this final group, and when I saw it, I did a double take.
“She’s won before!” I exclaimed.
For the record, this was not one of my better Oscar contest performances.
I guessed just five of the nine categories correctly. Many of our readers also did poorly, getting just three or four of the categories.
In other words, it was a tougher year than usual, with more surprises. I got tripped up by the screenplay categories, directing and best animated feature film.
Syta’s only miss was in the best original screenplay category.
Syta, 44, enjoys the movies, but credits her husband with being the true film buff in the family.
Though she has three children between the ages of 5 and 11, she tried to see as many of the Oscar nominees as possible.
She said she really enjoyed the best picture winner, “Birdman,” but wasn’t a big fan of “Boyhood,” the other film perceived as a likely best picture winner
“I really didn’t like ‘Boyhood,’” said Syta, a nurse practitioner. “I didn’t understand what the fuss was all about. It felt kind of boring.”
As for “Birdman,” “I thought it was interesting and cool,” Syta said. “I think we can all relate to the main character, especially as we get older.”
Syta and her husband have an Oscar tradition: On the night of the ceremony, they eat a special dinner.
For each of the eight nominees, Syta prepared a dish (or drink) inspired by each best picture nominee.
This year, the special dishes included an Alabama meatloaf in honor of “Selma,” an Iraqi fish curry dish in honor of “American Sniper,” pizza in honor of “Whiplash” (in the film, the young jazz student takes his girlfriend out for pizza on their first date), peas and carrots for “The Imitation Game” and a gin cocktail for “Birdman.”
For the record, the nine categories in the Gazette contest were: Best Picture (“Birdman”), Best Actor (Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”), Best Actress (Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”), Best Supporting Actor (J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”), Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”), Best Director (Alejandro G. Inarritu, “Birdman”), Best Original Screenplay (Inarritu, “Birdman”), Best Adapted Screenplay (Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”) and Best Animated film (“Big Hero Six”).
Congratulations to Cheryl, who wins two tickets to Schenectady’s Bow Tie cinema and a $100 gift certificate to a downton restaurant of her choice (she chose Apertivo). Thanks to all of the participants.
Reach Gazette columnist Sara Foss at [email protected] or 395-3193. Opinions expressed here are her own and not necessarily the newspaper’s. Her blog is at www.dailygazette.com/weblogs/foss.