By GUY D’ASTOLFO
The winner of The Vindicator’s annual pick-the-Oscars contest has some first-hand familiarity with Hollywood.
Bill Baker of Canfield correctly picked 18 of the 20 categories. The only one out of 206 entries to miss only two, Baker stumbled on Film Editing (he picked “Black Swan” instead of “The Social Network”) and Original Score (he picked “The King’s Speech” instead of “The Social Network”).
Baker lived in Los Angeles for 20 years, where he tried to make it as a screenwriter, and also appeared quite often on game shows.
A graduate of Canfield High School and Ohio State University, he married an LA native, and they moved back to Canfield to raise their kids. “We said we’ve got to move somewhere where there are better family values,” said Baker. He and his wife, Kym, have two sons: Brock, 7, and Blake, 5.
Although he never sold a script, Baker did do some camera work, appearing on the game shows “Designated Hitter” and “Debt” (both on ESPN), “Trivial Pursuit,” “Perfect Match” and “Free for All.” He actually walked away a winner from “Free for All.”
Today, Baker works for Gordon Brothers, which installs home water-treatment systems.
He enters the Vindicator’s Oscar contest every year but never picked more than 15 correct until this year.
As for his methods, Baker said he goes with the SAG Awards for the acting categories. “[Screen Actors Guild] makes up 75 percent of Academy voters, so whoever wins that is going to win the Oscars,” he said. “For special effects, you just go with what you feel. ‘Inception’ brought a lot to the party. As for the smaller categories [such as Documentary Feature], I did a lot of reading and saw that ‘Inside Job’ was about the banking industry, so I picked it.”
Baker said movies are big in his house.
Want proof? Baker’s younger son, Blake, submitted a contest ballot with 17 out of 20 correct, tying him for second-place with six other entrants.
In keeping with contest rules, a random drawing determined the second- and third-place winners. Second place was awarded to Kathi Welsh of Boardman, and third place went to Geri Castor of Austintown.
The prize packages for The Vindicator Oscar contest are as follows:
First place: $100 gift certificates from Full Circle Florist, Youngstown; Do-Cut Hardware, Canfield and Warren; The Winner, Sharon, Pa.; Kraynak’s, Sharon, Pa.; and Julia’s Bed and Breakfast, Hubbard.
Second place: a $100 gift certificate from Julia’s, and $50 certificates from Kraynak’s, Full Circle, The Winner and Do-Cut.
Third place: $50 gift certificates from Kraynak’s, Full Circle, The Winner and Do-Cut.