And the Winner Is…(Fantasy League)

    Come one, come all to The Mental Vacation’s equivalent to the Superbowl. It’s our Superbowl. #OurSuperbowl Of course, you should know that I’m referring to The Oscars. This year is the 87th time that actors and actresses, among other industry leaders, parade across a stage and give gold plated statues to other actors, actresses and people of the industry that not only need validation, but crave it. Does this sound absurd? Sure it does. But then again, so does putting on pads and hitting each other as hard as possible for a trophy. This route is much better, but not always safer. 
    By now if you’ve been reading or following along to any type of Oscars coverage or controversy out there, then you are well aware of what’s at stake for some of these films and the stars that were in them. I don’t need to bore you with those stories or statistics, but you do need to know that below the surface of what looks to be an average competition year for films there are quite a few stories brewing. It’s exciting. It’s electric. And I cannot get enough of this!!!! 
   Hopefully, you have been keeping up with our 2015 Oscars coverage through our podcasts (video/vocal) about every single one of the categories (24 to be exact). If not, stop reading this and refresh yourself on the major ones. To sum up the coverage, we have seen every single Oscar nominee except for TWO FILMS. If you’re keeping count at home that’s over 121 nominees. You might be asking yourself….”Why on Earth would they waste their time on that?” Well, to be frank, if you’re asking that….just stop reading because you’ve clearly forgotten what we are here to do. Again, not explaining anything new to our faithful followers, The Mental Vacation tries to turn anything that takes place on television into a fantasy league and with the Oscars upon us, it is our duty to do so. And so, for the second year in a row, I give you….
And the Winner Is… 
aka the OFL (for short)
   Last year, we had a great deal of participation with 7 people signing up and drafting. This year we have been able to expand to 8 dedicated movie-goers. From the very start, there is a large difference from this year’s league to last. One noticeable difference is that these teams are here to win and to make those that don’t pay for it dearly. I must admit I was slightly nervous, due to last year’s controversy over what constitutes the act of crying: tears falling OR eyes simply watering, that we wouldn’t have such a positive response, but people wanted to join and so here we are. Looking at the list below, it would’ve been nice to have a couple ladies be represented, but it’s something to build for next year…
   Meet the Teams:

     Three lucky gents from the OFL  are Rookies. The Birdmen? (Miguel), Enzo the Baker (Lousson) and We Are Groot (James) are all looking to make a strong first impression in this year’s competition and who knows, maybe one of them will be lucky enough to take home the virtual made up trophy that would serve as bragging rights for an entire year. Let’s be honest……there’s no way that’s happening! Nevertheless, each team here is pursuing what can be looked upon as one of the greatest fantasy leagues ever assembled (slight exaggeration).

     Returning champion Luke Walker (I just want to thank the academy…again) is attempting to establish the makings of a fantasy dynasty by nabbing the prize two years in a row. Will this happen? Probably not, but he is living proof that one does not need to see all of the nominees in order to pull out a victory. Infamous for the now mandatory cry rule, Luke was able to secure last year’s trophy by an overwhelming amount of bonus points that helped propel him to the winner’s circle. He is the Tom Brady of the OFL (see the Tuck Rule).

      Contrary to last year’s scoring and draft, this year will feature a number of changes; most notably the way in which each team drafts. They are only required to fill 12 Roster Spots and those can come from any category and are not limited to just one from each category. For example, if I wanted to use all 12 of my picks on the Best Picture and Best Actor nominees, theoretically I could. While that is not a sound draft strategy, it is allowed. This causes for the field to be completely wide open on who is able to draft what and often times can cause more second-guessing on choices than would normally occur. Here is a complete breakdown on the OFL’s rules: 
Draft order will be chosen by random selection prior to the draft.
All players draft in serpentine order to fill out 12 roster spots.
Their choice can be as many as desired from ANY category as many as long as they fill 12 roster spots.
Example: Having more than one selection from Best Director, Actor, Actress, etc.
There are 3 categories:
1) Winning an award20pts go to the nominee that wins a category
***BEST PICTURE*** winner would receive 30pts
2) Positive BonusThese are positive points that are awarded based on certain things that might happen during the ceremony or red carpet (listed below)
3) Negative Bonus – These are negative points that are awarded based on certain things that might happen during the ceremony or red carpet (listed below)
            With the exception of BEST PICTURE and BEST FOREIGN FILM (b/c there usually a lot of people onstage for these awards), understand that when you draft a film from a category, you are drafting specific people tied to that category. Thus, when they accept an award, BONUSES are granted to whomever appears onstage. This could be a singular person (i.e. a cinematographer) or several people (a la Makeup and Hair Design) If you need help knowing who that might be, feel free to look up ANY and ALL Oscar 2015 nominee listings. They are clearly labeled there. An example of what this might look like is listed below…
For example: “Foxcatcher” wins BEST Makeup & Hairstyling and Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard go up to accept the award. One of them tripsand the other person cusses during their speech……that would be +20pts for whomever drafted Foxcatcher-Makeup & Hairstyling.
The only difference in this will be with the BEST PICTUREand BEST FOREIGN FILM categories. The reasoning behind this is that during the acceptance speech for BEST PICTURE there will be a multitude of people from the winning film that will come onstage. However, some of those people could represent nominees from other categories that could still receive bonuses. In this case, BONUS POINTS would be awarded to both the BEST PICTURE WINNER and whoever has the BONUS occur to them.
For Example: “Boyhood” wins BEST PICTURE and everyone involved goes onstage. On the way up, Patricia Arquette trips going to the podium. BONUS POINTS would be awarded to both BOYHOOD – Best Picture and Patricia Arquette – Best Supporting Actress because the bonus takes place with a specific person while under the umbrella of a larger award.
This is the ONLY EXCEPTION to the bonus rule. Everything else will be awarded based on who arrives onstage to accept the award(s).
Positive – each positive bonus will be worth +10pts
– Cussing (during ceremony only)
– Tripping/falling (anytime: red carpet/ceremony)
– Winner tries to exit the stage the wrong way 
– Winner is a 1st time nominee
Negative – each negative bonus will be worth -10pts
– Being played off with music
– Wardrobe malfunction (anytime: red carpet/cermony)
– Mentioning causes (i.e. Ferguson, Charlie Hebdo, etc.) (during ceremony only)
– Winner pulls out notes
– Winner cries
– Winner says, “I didn’t prepare a speech”
* -2pts for EVERYONE when someone mentions The Interview film*
       Those rules serve as a way of keeping the OFL in order because if we didn’t have those, it would just be a zoo. Sure, we could have probably gone into greater detail on some of the scoring methods and provided even more opportunities for bonus points, but to be honest, we would like to enjoy watching the show too and not just sit there with clipboards judging each and every thing that goes on that night. That’s a little much and this way it serves as a fun way to watch the ceremony without having to stay glued to it. Trust me, last year we included the Red Carpet in the bonus scoring and unbeknownst to us until it was too late, the Red Carpet lasted FOUR HOURS!!!!!! #neveragain

     So with all of that information being dumped on you, here is a look at the first round of this year’s draft. There were some givens and definitely some surprises. Take a look for yourself…

– Supporting Actor – JK Simmons –
– Best Actress – Julianne Moore
– Supporting Actress – Patricia Arquette

      All three of these nominees are a lock to win their respective categories. There is no one else close to even attempting to chase them. 

– Best Actor- Michael Keaton
– Best Actor – Eddie Redmayne
– Best Picture- Boyhood

      These nominees could go either way. At one point, Keaton was the odds on favorite, but now history is on Redmayne’s side after scoring both the Golden Globe and BAFTA for his role. Boyhood winning Best Picture used to be a sure thing also, but lately Birdman has had a strong finish to its Oscar race causing enough second-guessing where Boyhood could see itself on the outside looking in. 

– Original Score- Interstellar
– Animated Feature – How To Train Your Dragon 2

    The Michels Bros. round out the Wild Card category by making by using their first round picks to make crazy choices. Interstellar is not a guarantee to win any category it’s nominated for and that is a risky thing when trying to draft it with confidence. How To Train Your Dragon 2 (HTTYD2) did pull the Golden Globe for animated feature, however, it is almost the least talked about animated film going into this awards ceremony. In fact, it has been Big Hero 6 that has stolen all the press and if you’ve spent your 1st pick on HTTYD2, that definitely counts as a risky play. 

     The draft is still going on right up until the Red Carpet begins. Here’s the progress so far:

    So there you have it, the 2015 Oscars Fantasy League in all its glory. We actually didn’t get to finish the complete draft because we reached the 4pm deadline. You’d think that in the span of four days we all could make this happen, but some (who will remain nameless) chose to drag their feet on their selections. There will be one winner among 7 losers for bragging rights. Join us this Sunday night during the Oscars as we do our best to LIVE TWEET the Oscars while simultaneously keeping score for the OFL. This is #OurSuperbowl.


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