Contest Summary and Acceptance Speeches

Tom's 34th Annual Oscar Contest
February 26, 2017

First Place Prize: Todd Heimarck (118 points)
Second Place Prize: David English (99 points, 1st ballot)
Booby Prize: David Hensley (0 points, tie)
Last Place (tie): Computer Booby (0 points, ineligible)

Contest Summary

What a finish! A massive screw-up on the live Academy Awards show decided the winners and losers in Tom's 34th Annual Oscar Contest. At first, presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announced La La Land as Best Picture. Moments later, in the midst of the acceptance speeches, it was discovered that the actual winner was Moonlight. This mix-up completely upset the final results in Tom's Oscar Contest.

Todd Heimarck won the First Place Prize by scoring 118 points after correctly choosing Moonlight for Best Picture. His contrarian choice over the heavily favored La La Land vaulted him alone into First Place. Until that moment, the contest appeared to be a three-way tie for First Place among David English, Susanne Bergstrom-Null, and Constance Sweeney. Todd's upset victory is his second consecutive First Place Prize in Tom's Oscar Contest. He also won in 2001. Todd is a writer, comedian, and former editor at Compute! Magazine. Read his acceptance speech.

David English won the Second Place Prize. Although two other contestants tied his score of 99 points, he submitted his ballot six days before the other second-place finishers, Susanne Bergstrom-Null and Constance Sweeney. David is a writer, film buff, and former editor at Compute! Magazine. He also won Second Place in 2002, 2010, and 2015, and he won First Place in 2011. Visit his websites, Filmzoid and Classic Film Preview. Read his acceptance speech.

David Hensley won the last-place Booby Prize by scoring zero points. He tied the Computer Booby artificial contestant, which is ineligible to win the prize. David also won the Booby Prize in 2010 and 2013, and he tied for last place in 2015 (losing the Booby Prize to another contestant who submitted an earlier ballot). David is a self-employed business consultant and e-commerce salesperson in High Point, North Carolina. Read his acceptance speech.

Acceptance Speeches

Todd Heimarck, First Place Prize:

"I'd like to thank my parents, my gut instincts, my co-workers at every job I've had (especially Compute!), and the mischievous deity of the Oscars who reached down and screwed up the ending so that for a moment everybody thought La La Land won. That was the weirdest ending to the Oscars ever. I just couldn't believe a musical would win Best Picture, so my heart told me to go with Moonlight."

David English, Second Place Prize:

"Apparently timing is a big deal. In 2015, I lost out on the First Place Prize because I didn't turn in my ballot as early as Rebecca Willingham. This year, I made a point of turning it in early, figuring it might be a tight race, since many of the categories seemed to be locked up. Guess what? I got the Second Place Prize only because I turned in my ballot early. As Woody Allen said, 'Eighty percent of success is just showing up.' Though I find out now—that's not quite the way he originally said it.

"Speaking of showing up, I would like to thank the academy (Tom Halfhill) for putting on this event for an astounding 34 years. Holy cow, that's dedication. Did you host this thing on a BBS in the early 1990s? Or use semaphores back in the 1980s?"

[Tom's note: Originally, the contest was conducted in person at my house in North Carolina, not online. It moved to the web in the 1990s when I relocated to California.]

David Hensley, Booby Prize:

"I am truly and deeply honored. I have to acknowledge my peers in this contest because 'my fellow boobies' is just so confusing. It also may not be politically correct, although I think it may go unnoticed in the current political climate. Leslie Mizell and Amy Johnson have Hall-of-Fame-caliber Oscar-pick careers, and their names line the record books of Tom's Annual Oscar Contest. I am beginning to understand their plight of having to endlessly endure the question, 'Who are you wearing?' Winning at losing can be difficult because Oscar picks are not always easy. Just ask Warren Beatty.

"Where is that music coming from? Okay, this speech is just getting weird, so I should wrap it up, like La La Land. What, too soon?

"My thanks to Tom for his yearly dedication in the pursuit to make the Oscar awards show seem shorter than OJ: Made in America. I hope to see you again next year when I attempt a perfect zero in five out of six years. Wait, there are record books, right?"

Return to Tom's Oscar Contest page