The best indicator of who is going to win a particular Oscar is to listen to the buzz. This does not mean that you should listen to astronaut Buzz Aldrin, action figure Buzz Lightyear, or the buzzing of a bumblebee. Rather, you have to get a sense of who's "hot." Take Gwenyth Paltrow in 1998. She started popping up all over the place, and people had great things to say about her movie. She burst into movie stardom. In short, she had the buzz. Compare that to fellow nominee Fernanda Montenegro. Who? Exactly.

So how do you go about figuring out who has the buzz? Well, we suggest the following:

1. Read trade magazines. The Hollywood Reporter and Variety (especially Army Archerd's column) are great resources to see who people are talking and buzzing about. Another great magazine to read (though it's technically not a trade) is Entertainment Weekly. In 1998, EW correctly predicted 68% of the winners.

2. Visit prediction Internet sites. The Internet is a great place to find predictions, because there are a lot of losers out there who have nothing better to do than make elaborate predictions about whether the best Animated Short will be won by a piece of clay or a talking rock. By far, the best site to visit is the Unofficial Academy Awards Discussion Board. On this site, people write in every day and discuss the Academy Awards. Another good site is Zeusefer's Year-Round 2000 Oscar Prediction Charts, which Zeusefer updates at least once a week. It's important to visit these sites, because the people who run them will do the research that you don't want to do yourself. They read all of the articles, watch all the talk shows, and read all the critics' columns. And while they can't get dates, they can predict awards.

3. See who's been winning the pre-Oscar awards. The Academy is not the only organization that recognizes film excellence. There are other groups that give out awards, and they do it way before Oscar time. So by finding out what other groups like, you'll be able to get a sense of what has generally been accepted as "good" and what is a "bomb." Some of the groups that give out awards relatively early (meaning, December) are the Chicago Film Critics, the National Board of Review, the New York Film Critics, and the Los Angeles Film Critics. However, the best indicator (as of recent years) of who will win an Oscar is the Golden Globe Awards. While the people who select the nominees and winners are members of the foreign press, and the group contains less than 100 people, it has nonetheless become eerily accurate in predicting both nominees and winners (regardless of the group's bizarre infatuation with Sharon Stone). To see who's been winning the pre-Oscar awards, periodically check the Internet site Awards Heaven, which keeps a running list of who's gotten what.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW win your oscar pool?