This image was lost some time after publication.

Can you taste it in the air? Feel the excitement swirling around you? Oh, you know what it is, kids: The National Magazine Awards will be presented next Tuesday night, and New York has a bad case of Ellie fever. It's the biggest night of the year for the industry, and all around town mag stars are bursting with anticipation. They're picking up their borrowed jewelry from Harry Winston, they're getting final fittings on couture gowns from Armani, they're getting ready to face Joan and Melissa Rivers as they walk down that famous National Magazine Awards red carpet on their way into the show.

To help build anticipation, we've introduced our first-ever High-Stakes Ellies pool. It's an invitation-only Ellies pool for the city's mag wags — the people who spend their days pontificating about magazines. We've invited 15 players: Tom Scocca and Gabe Sherman from the Observer, Jeff Bercovici and Sara James from WWD, Lisa Granatstein and Stephanie Smith from Mediaweek, New York's Carl Swanson, the Post's Keith Kelly, BusinessWeek's Jon Fine, Dylan Stableford from Mediabistro, Jon Friedman from MarketWatch, Nat Ives from Ad Age, and media men about town Simon Dumenco, Michael Wolff, and Greg Lindsay. (Did we miss you? Nudge us.) And we've promised gentle mocking of those who won't participate. Winner gets title of Most Accuratest Magazine Pundit in New York, credit on Gawker for the accomplishment, and some kind of actual memento we haven't yet figured out. (Lunch, maybe? A plaque?)

A play-along-at-home tally of players' picks will be available when we have it, and the complete invitation email is after the jump. It's Ellie time, baby! Oh yeah!

From: Gawker
To: Swanson, Carl ; Simon Dumenco ; Dylan Stableford ; Greg Lindsay ; Gabe Sherman ; Jeff Bercovici; Friedman, Jon ; Fine, Jon ; Kelly, Keith ; Lisa Granatstein ; Michael Wolff ; Nat Ives ; Sara James ; Stephanie D Smith ; Tom Scocca
Sent: Thursday, May 04, 2006 2:03 PM
Subject: The High-Stakes Ellies Pool

Gentlemen and ladies:

The National Magazine Awards will be presented next Tuesday night, as you undoubtedly know. As Ellie fever overtakes the nation, Gawker is introducing its first-ever High-Stakes Ellies Pool. Entrance is both free and by invitation only, and all the usual suspects are invited. (Did I forget anyone? Let me know.) The entry form is attached, and the deadline is Monday, May 8, at 5 p.m. What are the high stakes? Winner gets bragging rights as the very bestest magazine pundit, the rare gift of praise on Gawker for accomplishing the feat, and an as-yet-undetermined actual, physical prize, which will likely be elephantine in nature.

We do hope you'll enter. (And we reserve the right to mock — ever so slightly, and good-naturedly — those who do not.)

May the best wag win.