The Malibu Times’ official 2005 Movie Guru

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David Lyons is given a Dolphin Award on Sunday morning and wins The Malibu Times’ Oscar contest that night.

By Jonathan Friedman / Assistant Editor

Former New Malibu Theater manager David Lyons proved he still knows the business as he correctly picked 16 of the 18 selections in The Malibu Times Oscar contest and earned the title of The Malibu Times Movie Guru. The victory came on the same day that the newspaper awarded him with a Dolphin Award for his work with CineMalibu, last summer’s free series of outdoor movie screenings for the public.

“I’ve been involved with the Academy Awards and did various pre-Academy screenings at the Malibu Theater for several years, so I’m pretty in-tune with what voters like and have a good gage on how they vote,” said Lyons, who lives in Calabasas and works as a marketing consultant.

Lyons’ two misses were Best Picture and Best Original Song. Lyons thought the picture award would go to “Brokeback Mountain,” the story of two cowboys struggling with a homosexual relationship, while the nod went to “Crash,” a film with an ensemble cast that deals with racial issues in Los Angeles. Lyons predicted Dolly Parton’s “Travelin’ Thru” from “Transamerica” would win the song award, but that honor went to Three 6 Mafia’s “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from “Hustle & Flow.”

“I haven’t missed a Best Picture winner in about 10 years,” said Lyons, who entered The Malibu Times’ contest for the first time last year and regularly is involved in Oscar office pools. “But I’m happy for the people involved in ‘Crash.’

“It was a great Sunday when I got the Dolphin Award and now it’s starting off as a great Monday. I wonder what will happen next.”

Lyons will receive 10 free passes for films at Mann Movie Theaters.

The newly crowned Movie Guru was with the majority in his incorrect Best Picture pick. Of the 47 people who entered the contest, 31 thought “Brokeback” would win. Eleven people correctly chose “Crash,” while two people selected “Good Night, and Good Luck,” one predicted “Capote” and another person chose not to make a selection.

Of the people who picked “Crash” to win Best Picture, seven of them correctly predicted that its director would not win the award for his category. The Best Director title went to Ang Lee for his work on “Brokeback.”

“I think it’s important that they do that, so they recognize the talent that goes into directing,” said Lyons about the unusual circumstance of a person winning Best Director despite his film not winning the Best Picture award. “Ang Lee is so accomplished and so deserving.”

Thirty-three contestants predicted Lee would take the prize. That was the second most accurately picked winner of the night, only behind the documentary, “March of the Penguins.” Forty-three participants selected the film, which depicts the long and difficult journey Antarctica’s emperor penguins go through to find mates and reproduce.

The contestants were most divided in their predictions for Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Song.

The supporting actor award went to George Clooney for his portrayal of a CIA field agent in “Syriana.” Fourteen people thought he would get the award, another 14 believed it would go to Jake Gyllenhaal for “Brokeback,” five picked Matt Dillon for “Crash” and William Hurt got one vote of support for his role in “A History of Violence.”

Thirteen people chose “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” as the song that would win the Academy Award, while 17 contestants incorrectly thought the winner would be “Travelin’ Thru.” Another 16 people predicted the victory would go to Kathleen York’s “In the Deep” from “Crash.” One person chose not to make a selection.

As for the other acting awards, 25 contestants predicted Reese Witherspoon’s win for her portrayal of June Carter in “Walk the Line,” 31 were on the money with their pick of “Philip Seymour Hoffman” for his role as Truman Capote in “Capote” and 26 people foresaw Rachel Weisz’ victory for her performance in “The Constant Gardner.”

The average contestant was correct on a little under 10 selections. The number of picks correctly chosen ranged from a Serra Retreat resident’s three to Lyons’ 16.