OSCAR
By Professor Spellbinder

The Academy Awards come once a year, but interest in the awards is a year-round thing, and you can bring a Mental Magic version into your shows with nothing more than some imitation Golden Guy awards, some envelopes, and a certain something to make your prediction come true.

Effect: After making some introductory reference to the Academy Awards, announce to the audience that the fairest way of deciding on who gets the Awards would be to ask ordinary moviegoers for their opinions. You say that you would be willing to bet the outcome would be much different. To prove it, you will hold your own little Academy Awards ceremony.

First, you unroll a red carpet for your helpers to stand on. Then you set out the Golden Guy awards (made from male plastic dolls spray painted gold, if you can’t find imitations of the “real thing.”).

As you bring your helpers forward, you have sitting audience members hold spotlights (flashlights) on them, and make a big deal about interviewing them as they “step from their limousines” to assist in the show.

You hand each of three helpers a sealed envelope and a “commemorative Awards Show pen.” These are your predictions about the winners, to be opened during the “show.” Each helper signs his or her name across the envelope flap, after certifying that it is sealed. The envelopes are collected and placed against the Golden Guy award statue, as pictured above. On the front of the envelopes, in large letters, is printed the category- Best Movie, Best Actor, Best Actress.

Now each helper is given a pad to write down the list of five nominees from each category. Members of the audience are asked to raise their hands and call out the name of their favorite movie to put in nomination for the award. You take an instant audience vote on the movie called out- thumbs up or thumbs down. If the movie gets a lot of thumbs up votes, the name of the movie is written down on Helper One’s Pad until he or she has collected five movie names.

The same is done for movie actors, and movie actresses. If you want a shorter routine, just vote for the movie and skip the actors and actresses. If you want a longer routine, add more categories.

Now you hand each helper a red marking pen so they can circle the winners in each category. Once again you call out the five names collected and the audience has a final vote, but they can only vote FOR their favorite movie and for only ONE favorite movie (don’t worry if they cheat…make jokes about it!). This time the hold up their hand if voting for their ONE favorite movie of the five nominees. When the winner is determined, the helper circles the winner’s name with the red marker.

Now, the envelopes please! After a bit of ceremony, the envelopes are handed to each of the helpers to open and read your predictions. Your predictions read something like this:

For the Best Movie of the Year, there are five nominations. They are:
Bambi, The Chain-Saw Murders, Bride of Frankenstein, Gone With the Wind, and I Was a Teen-Age Werewolf. And the winner is…. Bride of Frankenstein!

Anyway, you have correctly predicted all of the nominees and the one chosen as the winner by the audience.

On the back of the card in the envelope, you have your contact information printed, and the helper goes home with the card, the envelope, and the Golden Guy Award (if you can afford all that! – otherwise they just get the envelope and card to keep as a souvenir). You might want to have each helper make an acceptance speech as he or she receives the award.

WJ12-01

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