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Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

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Posted: February 28, 2017

When ‘La La Land’ found out it lost, so did 29 entrants in our Oscar poll

But because ‘Moonlight’ actually won, Heather Boyd of Portland emerged as the only contestant to get all six categories right, winning our movie ticket package prize.

Written by: Ray Routhier
 This image released by A24 Films shows Alex Hibbert, left, and Mahershala Ali in a scene from the film, "Moonlight." Photo by David Bornfriend/A24 via AP

This image released by A24 Films shows Alex Hibbert, left, and Mahershala Ali in a scene from the film, “Moonlight.” Photo by David Bornfriend/A24 via AP

When “La La Land” was named best picture at the Oscars Sunday night, by the confused-looking Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, people all over Maine were gasping with excitement. Well, 29 people anyway.

That notorious announcement meant that for a brief moment 29 Mainers had scored a perfect six for six on our annual Oscar poll, giving them a chance to win two dozen tickets to Nickelodeon Cinemas in Portland and no end of bragging rights. But then, after a few agonizing moments of on-stage chaos, it was learned that someone gave Dunaway and Beatty the wrong envelope. The real winners, it turned out, were “Moonlight” for best picture and Heather Boyd of Portland for the Nickelodeon tickets.

Having the Oscar wrenched from the hands of the “La La Land” cast and crew meant that only one entrant in our poll, out of 166 this year, had gone a perfect six for six in naming the winners in the major categories. But Boyd didn’t even know she was perfect until Monday morning. When “La La Land” was announced as the winner she turned off her TV, like millions of other folks, because the show was over and “La La Land” was supposed to win anyway.

“I really liked ‘Moonlight’ and I didn’t need to see another ‘La La Land’ win, so I turned it off,” said Boyd, 33, who works in marketing. “I didn’t know what happened until the next day, it was crazy.”

Other than the best picture category, the Oscars were fairly predictable. At least for those 29 entrants who guessed the other major categories correctly. The winners in those categories were: Casey Affleck, best actor for “Manchester By The Sea”; Emma Stone, best actress for “La La Land”; Mahershala Ali, best supporting actor for “Moonlight”; Viola Davis, best supporting actress for “Fences”; and Damien Chazelle, best director for “La La Land.”

This image released by Lionsgate shows Ryan Gosling, left, and Emma Stone in a scene from, "La La Land." Photo by Dale Robinette/Lionsgate via AP

This image released by Lionsgate shows Ryan Gosling, left, and Emma Stone in a scene from, “La La Land.” Photo by Dale Robinette/Lionsgate via AP

“La La Land” won six Oscars even without the best picture statue, so no one needs to feel sorry for the musical about Hollywood. Who we need to feel sorry for are people like Bob Colby, who was one of the 29 poll entrants who could have notched perfect scores if the first envelope opened for best picture had been correct.

Colby said Tuesday he picked “La La Land” mostly because “it’s a love letter to Hollywood and nobody loves Hollywood more than Hollywood.” If he were an Oscar voter, Colby said he would have been torn between “La La Land,” “Moonlight” and “Manchester by the Sea.” He felt all three were deserving.

Picking the Oscar winners correctly sometimes means thinking like an Oscar voter and not simply voting for the movie or performance you like best. Colby voted for Damien Chazelle of “La La Land” because the “first five minutes” of the movie were so brilliantly filmed. He would have cast his vote, if he were an official voter, for Natalie Portman in “Jackie” for best actress. But because of all the buzz and hype about “La La Land” he picked Emma Stone, and he was right.

But Boyd, our lone winner, won because she went with her heart more than her head. She saw both “La La Land” and “Moonlight,” and she thought “Moonlight” was better. She knew “La La Land” was the perceived favorite and getting a lot more publicity, but she went with the movie she loved best. She flipped her logic around a little bit for best director though. She voted for Chazelle because she felt that the Oscar voters don’t often give the best picture award to the movie that also earned a best director Oscar. So she figured, if “Moonlight” won best picture, Chazelle would win best director. And she was right.

Boyd goes to the movies a couple times a month, she said. Her Oscar voting prowess has earned her two dozen free seats at the Nickelodeon Cinemas, so she can start sizing up next year’s Oscar contenders.


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