Contest Summary and Acceptance Speeches

Tom's 33rd Annual Oscar Contest
February 28, 2016

First Place Prize: Todd Heimarck (95 points)
Second Place: Computer Average (94 points, ineligible)
Second Place Prize: Christopher Null (93 points, 1st ballot)
Booby Prize: Denny Atkin (1 point)
Last Place (tie): Computer Booby (1 point, ineligible)

Contest Summary

A single point decided Tom's 33rd Annual Oscar Contest—despite a last-minute upset for Best Picture. And a four-way tie for the Second Place Prize was broken because one contestant submitted his ballot earlier than the others.

Todd Heimarck won the First Place Prize by scoring 95 points, despite picking The Revenant for Best Picture. (Spotlight won, in an upset.) After clinging to a scant one-point lead for much of the night, Todd squeezed out his victory when all the other leaders who were close behind him also picked The Revenant. Although the second-highest score of 94 points was achieved by Computer Average, one of the artificial contestants created by Tom's OscarCalc program, the computer is ineligible to win a prize. As a result, Christopher Null won the Second Place Prize by scoring 93 points. Three other contestants made the same score, but Chris submitted his ballot three to six days earlier than theirs, which broke the four-way tie.

Todd Heimarck is a writer, comedian, and former editor at Compute! Magazine. He also won the contest in 2001. Read his acceptance speech.

Christopher Null is a San Francisco tech writer, screen writer, and film reviewer. He also won the First Place Prize in 2014, 2005 (three-way tie), and 1998, and he won the Second Place Prize in 2000 (two-way tie) and 1999. Read his acceptance speech.

Denny Atkin won the last-place Booby Prize by scoring only one point. He tied the Computer Booby artificial contestant, which is ineligible to win the prize. Denny works at Microsoft and won the First Place Prize in 2012 and 2013. Read his acceptance speech.

Acceptance Speeches

Todd Heimarck, First Place Prize:

"I'd like to thank my parents and my friends and everyone who wrote articles predicting who might win the Oscars. I'd also like to thank Sylvester Stallone and Mark Rylance. When I saw that a couple of pundits said Stallone would win, I just couldn't bring myself to predict him. I went with Rylance. And it worked out.

"Finally, thanks to Tom for hosting this contest for all these years. It makes the Oscar show more fun to watch. I even remember the old days when sometimes the Oscars were on the same night as the final game of March Madness and we'd furiously switch channels back and forth. My winnings will go toward a nice dinner with my lovely girlfriend Katie."

Christopher Null, Second Place Prize:

"With so many upsets this year, I'm surprised I pulled out a second-place finish. Thanks to Hollywood for producing a well above-average year of movies, but thanks especially to Tom for continuing to host this competition, which has become a mini tradition in my household, with three of us now fighting tooth and nail for the glory on the leaderboard every year. See you in 2017!"

Denny Atkin, Booby Prize:

"In years past, I spent hours researching who might win each category, leading to back-to-back wins in 2012 and 2013. I was so swamped this year I started filling out my Oscar ballot 25 minutes before the final deadline, necessitating going for the Booby Prize with absolutely no research. The learning from this is that, from a time-spent-per-prize-dollar perspective, losing is winning! I'd like to thank my ignorance of this year's candidates, and of course, a huge thanks to Tom."

Return to Tom's Oscar Contest page