Split decision for best pic

Online voters make their opinions known

In the Academy Awards race for best picture, there can be only one winner. But online voters want a split decision.

While many in Hollywood were buzzing that “Traffic” and “Gladiator” were the only true contenders, Oscar polls on the Web told a different story. Or, more accurately, several different stories.

An ABCNews.com survey of 1,024 adults found 31% of respondents favored “Erin Brockovich” to win best pic, while 28% liked “Gladiator.” “Traffic” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” tied with 7%. “Chocolat” brought up the rear with 6%.

According to 9,100 voters on the Internet Movie Data Base (imdb.com), 30% thought “Crouching Tiger” should wear the best pic crown, while 28% liked “Gladiator” and 14% preferred “Traffic.”

At GoldDerby.com, an awards handicapping site hosted by Tom O’Neil, author of “Movie Awards: The Ultimate, Unofficial Guide to the Oscars, Golden Globes, Critics, Guild and Indie Honors,” 50% of those surveyed thought “Gladiator” would prevail on Sunday, with 32% backing “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and 11% picking “Traffic.”

On Moviefone.com, 52% of voters believed the Roman epic would hold hands with Oscar, although only 40% believed it deserved to win. Ten percent thought “Traffic” would take home the best pic prize, with 13% believing the film merited the award.

So what do all these numbers mean? While the 5,722 Academy members have made their decisions, the rest of the world was casting its vote at the box office. The winner to date? “Gladiator” with $451 million in worldwide grosses.

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