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Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Ultimate Academy Awards Preview

Today we bring you the Ultimate Academy Awards Preveiw.  For each category, we’ll tell you the favorites to win, and give you our pick for who we think is likely to go home with the award.  

Best Performance in a Championship Role
Scandalously dominant. Was Frank Underwood behind this?
The Favorites: Team USA (World Games); Scandal, Drag’n Thrust, Revolver
Our Pick: Scandal
Team USA was dominant, and Revolver reminded everyone of how truly outstanding they are.  But we have to go with Scandal.  The ladies from DC not only upset Fury to end San Francisco's unprecedented run of titles, but absolutely destroyed the seven-time-defending champs.  Seriously, they doubled them up 14-7. 

Best Performance in a Semifinal Role
The Favorites: Wild Card, The Ghosts, Sockeye, Scandal (Again)
Our Pick: The Ghosts
Sockeye was excellent, Scandal steamrolled, and the sentimental pick is probably Wild Card (a second-year team that made it to semis!).  But the huge rally the Ghosts put up in the semis deserves recognition—they went from down 13-7 to down 14-13 before Drag’n Thrust closed the door.  That takes some crazy undead focus powers, and if The Ghosts take home the Tosscar, Jeff Graham should give the acceptance speech.

Best Dramatic Roster Move
The Favorites: Beau Kittredge (to San Jose Spiders), Peter Prial (to DC Current), Lindsey Hack (to Chicago Nemesis). 
Our Pick:  Hack.  
The knee-jerk reaction is probably to say Beau, since he's widely recognized as the best player in the game.  But MLU works on one-year deals, so it’s not that weird.  We’re going with the shocking, mid-season transfer of Raleigh Phoenix founder (and Captain) Lindsey Hack to Chicago Nemesis. Even if people put on nice faces to the public, you know it would have made one heck of a TLC reality show behind the scenes. 

Best Performance in a Comedic Role
The Favorites: MLU Jesus, UltiWhirled, USU Altimate; Sludge.  
Our Pick: UltiWhirled.
Nepotism is a bitch. Good luck next year, guys.

Best Performance in an Unintentionally Comedic Role
The Favorites: Rhino (Chasing Frisco), Blackbird (Back in Black), The Philly Spinners (Screw You Guys, We're Going Home)
Our Pick: Rhino
Rhino faces tough competition in this category from the Philly Spinners, who in 2013 went off to start their own pro league (MLU) after demolishing the 2012 AUDL…only to finish in last place against better competition (pretty darn funny, if you ask us).  But, in the end, we think Rhino’s epic end-of-season saga will prove too much to overcome.  A last-second change to Score Reporter to snag Streetgang’s bid, only to have Furious George play a questionable last-second ‘tournament’ against Voodoo to become Series-eligible…and ultimately steal Rhino’s bid.  That’s some dark, ironic comedy right there.

Best Performance in a Leading Troll
The Favorites: Ultiwhirled (The Mercy Rule); Brandon Malecek (Muffingate); NexGen (A League of Their Own).
Our Pick: Malecek
We were pretty proud of ourselves for getting the AUDL to respond seriously to a fake tweet, but even we acknowledge that we fell short of the masters.  When Muffingate swept smartphones across the country, most people took Malecek’s criticism of the Pulsar at face value.  Behind closed doors, however, Muffin actually loves the Pulsar. The entire blog-post explosion and subsequent suspension was just a ruse to get publicity for the league, team, and new Innova disc.  A flawless performance by Malecek, with a strong supporting performance by Jeff Snader and the MLU.

Best Bureaucratic Clusterfuck:
The Favorites: USAU (The Nationals Format Change); MLU (Muffingate); The AUDL (36 Teams LOL)
Our Pick: USAU
Although MLU and the AUDL each had some compelling cases this year, we’re still going with the last-minute USAU Club Championships format changes.  USAU (also nominated in this category for The Northwest Bid Allocation Disaster) managed to deliver an astounding performance in this category this year, despite an overall well-managed first TCT season.

Best Animated Short:
We're thinking Julia Roberts as Ng
The Favorites: Josh Markette (Ironside/Whitecaps); Brett Matzuka (Ring of Fire); Michelle Ng (Phoenix); Allison Maddux (Scandal)
Our Pick: Michelle Ng
Matzuka's quick, precise on-field performance is almost as amazing as his Charlie White-like hair.  But Michelle Ng brings the balance of on-field awesomeness and off-field activism better than anyone else.  She travels the country making the world better for women ultimate players.  This story just shouts Academy Award. 

Best Gender Mixing:
The Favorites: Team USA (all of them)
Our Pick: Team USA
This award isn't really in doubt. The US went undefeated in all three gender-divisions of U23 Worlds, as well as in the mixed-only World Games. Who cares if we suck at hockey? 

Best Original Score:
The Favorites: Tyler Kinley (Sockeye); Lisa Pitcaithley (U23 Worlds); Jeff Graham (Whitecaps); Cara Crouch (Showdown)
Our Pick: Pitcaithley 
Crouch did great to land hands-first, and Graham gets some serious bonus points for making SportsCenter. But we’re going with Pitcaithley all the way.  It's an international-competition layout grab through contact with a closing defender. Dang.

Best Visual Effects:
The Favorites: ESPN/Delrico Johnson (Superman); Sludge Ultimate (Logo Re-designs); USAU (NationalsTXEvent Guide)
Our Pick: ESPN/Johnson 
Johnson got his own segment on ESPN, without jokes about hippies or dogs, and they gave him a graphical overhaul to boot.  That’s hard to beat.   (Note: Sludge has done a lot of logo redraws this year.  Flip through the blog and twitter for them).

In Memoriam: Southpaw; New Jersey Hammerheads; MLU Jesus (for now); NexGen Tour; Nexgen League; Score Reporter; Fury’s Championship Streak; and Your Team’s Chances of Making Regionals since Alex Broke her Wrist Playing IM Basketball.

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