EW.com readers voice their Oscar picks

By Josh Wolk
Updated March 24, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST

Hollywood may control the world of state-of-the-art special effects, but it lags behind EW readers in high-tech Oscar voting. While Academy voters waited at home for the mail to arrive with their oh-so-’90s paper ballots, more than 3,700 (at press time) of our readers simply logged on to their computers for the third annual Entertainment Weekly Online Oscar Poll and registered their picks, all in less time than it takes to pry a rottweiler’s teeth out of a postman’s arm.

We should have called our site http://www.goamericanbeauty.com, judging from the categories that DreamWorks’ dark comedy dominated. Kevin Spacey commandeered 55% of the Best Actor vote, with Denzel Washington (29%) and Russell Crowe (10%) his closest runners-up. For Best Director, first-time feature director Sam Mendes (49%) overpowered The Sixth Sense‘s M. Night Shyamalan (27%) and fellow neophyte Spike Jonze (15%) of Being John Malkovich. But it was in the Best Picture category that American Beauty‘s rose really bloomed: With a whopping 61% of the vote, it trounced Sense (20%) and The Green Mile (10%), and proved that Miramax’s clout doesn’t reach Web surfers, since The Cider House Rules garnered only 5%.

But there the Beauty contest winners end. Annette Bening had to settle for second in the Best Actress race with 35% — thanks to a victory by Boys Don’t Cry‘s Hilary Swank (49%). In the supporting categories, Beauty had no nominees, opening the races wider. For Best Supporting Actor, a spooked child shall lead them: Sense‘s Haley Joel Osment won with 38%, barely beating a ranting Tom Cruise from Magnolia (32%). As for supporting actress, voters were crazy for Girl, Interrupted‘s Angelina Jolie (49%), who beat out Sense‘s Toni Collette (22%) and Malkovich‘s Catherine Keener (14%).

That’s all fine for those showing up on Oscar night, but voters also let us know who they thought should have been on the ballot, choosing from a list of non-nominees assembled by EW‘s online staff. For Best Actor, surfers sided with the Golden Globes, favoring Man on the Moon‘s Jim Carrey (44%), who won nearly double the votes of runner-up Matt Damon (25%); only 9% could work up voting loyalty for The Green Mile‘s Oscar mainstay Tom Hanks. Election‘s dedicated fans belied the film’s low grosses, giving Reese Witherspoon a powerful 49% hold over Best Actress, with Girl‘s Winona Ryder a distant second (18%). Magnolia took root in two tight races: Paul Thomas Anderson was neck and neck with The Talented Mr. Ripley‘s Anthony Minghella with 28% for Best Director; and Julianne Moore‘s 29% just outscored Malkovich‘s Cameron Diaz (27%) for Best Supporting Actress. (Diaz’s costar John Malkovich validated his Being by winning Best Supporting Actor with 35%, over Wes Bentley’s 28%.) But Magnolia wilted in the Best Picture race, settling for third place with 19%, behind big winner The Talented Mr. Ripley (26%) and Malkovich (24%).

Not happy with the results? You webheads can still help change that by voting right up until Oscar day. And after the last trophy has been awarded, move to a chat room and brag about how your picks were better — while those out-of-touch Academy members do it on their primitive ”phones.”