Contest Summary and Acceptance Speeches

Tom's 29th Annual Oscar Contest
February 26, 2012

First Place: Denny Atkin (118 points)
Second Place (tie): Julia Vosper (108 points)
Second Place (tie): Kathy Yakal (108 points)
Second Place (tie): Tim Midkiff (108 points)
Second Place (tie): Computer Average (108 points)
Booby Prize (tie): Amy Johnson (0 points)
Booby Prize (tie): Leslie Mizell (0 points)
Booby Prize (tie): Computer Booby (0 points)


Contest Summary

Oscar Night 2012 had one big surprise: Meryl Streep. Twenty-nine years after her last Best Actress award for Sophie's Choice, she finally won again—this time for her spot-on portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady. Her victory surprised most folks who entered Tom's Oscar Contest, too, because it knocked three people and a computer-generated contestant out of first place, vaulting Denny Atkin into the top position with 118 points.

The result was an unprecedented four-way tie for Second Place: Julia Vosper, Kathy Yakal, Tim Midkiff, and Computer Average (a virtual contestant created by Tom's OscarCalc program) all finished with 108 points.

At the bottom of the scoreboard was another crowd—a three-way tie for the last-place Booby Prize. Amy Johnson, Leslie Mizell, and Computer Booby (another computer-generated contestant) all finished with a perfect zero score.

Denny Atkin is a Compute! Magazine alumnus, having joined the magazine too late to engage Tom in heated Amiga versus Atari ST debates. Nowadays he manages the Xbox website for Microsoft, despite having written things like "As the Magic 8-Ball said, 'Outlook not so good'" in his days as a technology journalist. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife Dawn and son Carter, who is looking forward to being nominated for Best Supporting Actor sometime in the early 2020s.

Amy Johnson, a freelance writer in Seattle, won the Booby Prize in 2011, 2007, and 2008 and finished second in 2001. Amy has also appeared on TV's Jeopardy.

Leslie Mizell, a writer in Greensboro, North Carolina, has won or tied for the Booby Prize in 2012, 2009, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2001, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1992, 1991, and 1989. (She has also won First Place twice.)


Acceptance Speeches

Denny Atkin, First Place:

"Well, they do say the 20th time is the charm. Back in Greensboro, my disappointment in my inability to make accurate Oscar predictions was tempered by the fun of sitting with an awesome group of friends in Tom's living room to watch the awards. As we all scattered around the country and the contest moved onto the Intarwebs, I kept playing, usually landing smack dab in the middle of the pack, even the time I tried for the Booby Prize. But hey, it was at least a chance to keep doing something fun with some old friends. So imagine my surprise when I checked the standings for the second time around 8:25 and saw I was in the lead going into Best Picture.

"So I have to thank the Academy for finally tossing another statue at Meryl Streep, which probably put me over the top, and I have to thank my nine-year-old son Carter, not because he actually helped me pick the winners, but because he was so excited that I'd actually won something that he ran over and hugged me, and then insisted that I thank him publicly in my acceptance speech. Yes, my young actor already understands the value of publicity.

"And a huge thanks to Tom and the evil AI known as OscarCalc for keeping this contest going year after year! It's always a blast, even though I never win. Oh, wait!"

Amy Johnson, Booby Prize (tie):

"The only thing better than sharing last place with Leslie Mizell is beating Leslie Mizell for the Booby Prize. She's the Iron Lady of losing; the Artist of mis-prognostication. Hugo, grrrl!"

Leslie Mizell, Booby Prize (tie):

"Amy. Always Amy. She's the Voldemort to my Harry. The Nurse Ratched to my McMurphy. The Juror #3 to my Juror #8. But as Nietzsche said in that movie with JoBeth Williams and Tom Conti, 'What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.' And so Amy makes me spend hours trying to decide between Real in Rio and Man or Muppet. Hours."


Return to Tom's Oscar Contest page