Contest Summary and Acceptance Speeches

Tom's 31st Annual Oscar Contest
March 2, 2014

First Place Prize: Christopher Null (129 points)
Second Place: Computer Average (125 points, ineligible)
Second Place Prize: Allison Hensley (124 points)
Booby Prize: David Hensley (0 points)
Booby (tie): Leslie Mizell (0 points, later ballot)
Booby (tie): Computer Booby (0 points, ineligible)

Contest Summary

Tom's 31st Annual Oscar Contest was decided at the last minute when 12 Years a Slave won Best Picture, upsetting Gravity, which won seven Oscars, including Best Director. This award vaulted Christopher Null into sole possession of First Place with 129 points—the highest score ever achieved in Tom's Oscar Contest.

Chris dethroned Denny Atkin, who won the previous two contests but fell short this year by picking Sandra Bullock over the heavily favored Cate Blanchett for Best Actress. Chris is a technology writer/editor and film buff in San Francisco. He finished in a three-way tie for First Place in 2005 and won the contest alone in 1998.

Finishing second with 125 points was Computer Average, one of the artificial contestants generated by Tom's miracle OscarCalc program. But the computer is ineligible to win, so the Second Place Prize goes to the second-highest human scorer, Allison Hensley. Allison, who scored 124 points, lives in North Carolina and is married to David Hensley, one of the many Compute! Magazine alumni who enter the contest every year. This is Allison's first prize-winning score in Tom's Oscar Contest. Allison and David are film buffs who aspire to see every Oscar-nominated movie every year.

David Hensley tied with two other contestants for last place: Leslie Mizell and Computer Booby. All strove for the worst possible score, and all scored a perfect zero. In accordance with the official rules, however, David wins the Booby Prize because he submitted his ballot one day earlier than Leslie (and because Computer Booby is ineligible). This is David's third Booby Prize in Tom's Oscar Contest, which still leaves him far behind Leslie, who has finished last 15 times. David is a self-employed business consultant and e-commerce salesperson in High Point, North Carolina. Computer Booby is one of the artificial contestants generated by Tom's miracle OscarCalc program, and it has finished in last place 10 times since its inception in 1999.

Acceptance Speeches

Christopher Null, First Place:

"Alright alright alright! Big ups to Spike Jonze for writing Her, to Jim Carrey's Bruce Dern impression, to Lupita Nyong'o's lip balm, to Liza Minelli's blue hair, to Kim Novak's facelift, to The Lady in Number 6, and—in honor of my superfan daughter—to everyone who had anything to do with Frozen. The last time I won Halfhill's Oscar contest solo, I worked at LAN Times magazine. You do the math on that one. Happy Oscar night, y'all, and thanks to Tom for holding this contest year after year."

Allison Hensley, Second Place Prize:

"Wow! It has been a journey. I spent years watching David pore over his Oscar picks. He convinced me to play and then I spent years trying to make it to the top. Year after year of landing in the top ten after agonizing over a risk/reward pick that turns the whole contest and determines the winner. This year that pick for me was for the screenplay Her. I literally changed that pick to American Hustle at the last second while trying to determine which film would get shut out. Those picks are what makes the contest so interesting and fun. Thank you for the opportunity to play each year and continue to try to make it to the top."

David Hensley, Booby Prize:

"I am honored to share the Booby Prize with Leslie Mizell this year. She is the Katherine Hepburn of the Oscar Booby Prize contest. I have to confess the first thing I do once I submit my ballot is to check Leslie's. I was very confident this year and after seeing her picks I knew they were perfectly bad as well. I may always be a asterisk in Oscar contest history but I prefer to focus on the doors that will open to a multiple Academy Award Booby Prize winner!"

Leslie Mizell, Booby (tie, later ballot):

"I thought perhaps I had lost my ability to pick losers, but as my ballot and my personal life will attest, some things are just innate. Sort of like a peanut allergy. With less swelling."

Return to Tom's Oscar Contest page