The Oscars are one of the biggest awards of the year, and as you root for your favorite actors, directors, and movies to win, one way to make the night more fun is to make an “Oscars pool” with your friends.
What’s an Oscars pool?
An Oscars pool lets you and your friends bet on who will win each category, either for money, bragging rights, or whatever else you decide. Typically you might collect responses on paper and collect ballot cards from everyone involved, but you can also take things virtual.
There are plenty of betting sites for the Oscars, but that will cost you anywhere from $15 to $500 depending on the number of people involved. Here’s another way to set up an Oscars pool online though, and it’s free.
Pick a money transfer app
Typically in an Oscars pool, everyone buys in a certain amount—say, five dollars—to submit their guesses. The key is having enough people so the winning pot is a sizable amount, so if your buy-in is five dollars and you have 20 people join, one lucky winner would get all $100. You’ll want to agree on a designated money transfer app in advance though to save yourself the chaos of tracking payments, so decide whether you want to use Venmo, PayPal, or whatever app most of your friends are using.
Use a free online survey to make your ballot
Online pools cost money and some look pretty sketchy, so if you want to go the DIY route you can easily use a site like Survey Monkey or Google Forms. On Survey Monkey, for example, just sign up for the free basic account, click to create a survey, choose a free template (or a fancier one if you’re willing to pay a little), or start your own survey from scratch.
Your survey “questions” should be each Oscars category, with multiple choice options for the nominees as the answers. You would do this similarly with Google Forms, but with a bit more control over how the questions are answered, whether they are mandatory, and whether your respondents have the option to “choose all that apply” for their answers. Those extra details are obviously unnecessary, so choose whichever you and your friends are most familiar with.
Once you’re done building the ballot, be sure to limit accessibility to the survey to limit it to those who paid, and just send it out.
When the big day comes on April 25, consider whether you want to keep a live tally to share with a group chat (if you have an enthusiastic bunch of friends) or wait until the Oscars end and go to the their website for the full list of winners (for casual moviegoers who might not even care to watch live). Then, of course, tally up the points (if you want to get fancy, you could assign different point values based on the “importance” of the different awards) and celebrate the winner.