Contest Summary and Acceptance Speeches

Tom's 27th Annual Oscar Contest
March 7, 2010

First Place: Marcia Diefendorff
Second Place: David English
Booby Prize (tie): David Hensley
Booby Prize (tie, ineligible): Computer Booby

Contest Summary

Oscar Night 2010 was like a Hollywood soap opera. Would director James Cameron's technological triumph (Avatar) prevail over his ex-wife's war movie (The Hurt Locker)? Most contestants picked Kathryn Bigelow's harrowing drama about the Iraq war, and they were right. When Bigelow won Best Director and The Hurt Locker won Best Picture, the contest was settled.

Marcia Diefendorff led the field for most of the evening, and she finished in First Place with 119 points. Marcia is married to Keith Diefendorff, one of Tom's former colleagues at Microprocessor Report. (And Marcia, like Tom, went to Kent State University.) This is Marcia's first prize in Tom's Oscar Contest.

The Second Place Prize went to David English, a writer, film buff, and former editor at Compute! magazine. He finished with 116 points, only three points behind Marcia. David also won Second Place in 2002. Visit his websites, Filmzoid and Classic Film Preview.

The last-place Booby Prize went to David Hensley, who scored a perfect zero. He was tied by one of the computer-generated contestants, Computer Booby. Both of them narrowly beat Leslie Mizell, a frequent Booby Prize winner. This is David's first prize in Tom's Oscar Contest. (David was a colleague of Tom's at Compute! magazine in the 1980s.)

Acceptance Speeches

Marcia Diefendorff, First Place Winner:

"Speechless...for the first time in my life!"

David English, Second Place Winner:

"It figures. I try to win the Booby Prize, and I come in second place. I can only interpret this strange turn of events as an important life lesson. From now on, every day will be opposite day. I'll eat more and not gain weight. I'll work less and make more money. I'll stay up late and be fully refreshed in the morning. Thanks, Tom. I could never have discovered this on my own."

David Hensley, Booby Prize Winner:

"It feels good to be a winner. After three years of being a runner-up loser, I exercised prudence in avoiding the bombs that would go on to be winners. I want to thank Leslie [Mizell] for yielding to me this year in yet another epic battle. Thanks also to Tom for such a great contest and long standing tradition. I hope to return next year to defend my title and the coveted Booby Prize."

Computer Booby, Last Place (tie):

final private static void makeComputerBooby() {
  // create Computer Booby: reverse mode average of human contestants...
  int index = numBallots + 1; // temp index
  contestant[index] = new OscarEntry(); // create new contestant
  contestant[index].name = "Computer Booby";
  contestant[index].HTMLname = "oscar" + String.valueOf(index) + ".html";
  contestant[index].prizeEligible = false; // can't win a prize
  contestant[index].boobyEligible = false;
  contestant[index].prize = "ineligible";
  int vote = 10000; // initialize to an impossibly high number
  int voteArray[] = {0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0}; // tallies votes by humans
  int categoryCount = 1; // keep track of category number
  for (int cat=1; cat<=numCats; cat++) {
    for (int x=1; x<=numBallots; x++) {
      voteArray[contestant[x].choices[cat]]++; // tally human choices
    for (int y=1; y<11; y++) {
     if (!category[categoryCount].nominee[y].equalsIgnoreCase("BLANK")) {
     if (voteArray[y] <= vote) {
     vote = voteArray[y];
     contestant[index].choices[categoryCount] = y; // set choice
  vote = 10000; // reinitialize to impossibly high number
  for (int z=1; z<11; z++) voteArray[z] = 0;
  numBallots++; // increment ballot total
 } // end of method makeComputerBooby

Return to Tom's Oscar Contest page