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Film buff sweeps Oscar picks contest

March 04, 2004|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

Doris Wisler would like to thank the Academy.

The film buff's list of Oscar picks matched winners named by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences during the Academy Awards broadcast on Sunday, Feb. 29 - despite only seeing one of the films nominated in categories ranging from best picture to best visual effects, she said.

"I've been a fan of movies since I was very young, but I only go to the movies once in a blue moon," said Wisler, 66, of Hagerstown. "I wait for them to come out on DVD."

She's yet to see any of the best picture nominees - "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," "Lost in Translation," "Mystic River," "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" and "Seabiscuit" - but Wisler nailed that category and nine others in The Herald-Mail's Oscar Picks contest.

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Her 10 correct Oscar winner choices earned her the contest's $50 prize - cash that might come in handy for Russell Crowe fan Wisler's planned purchase of the "Master and Commander" DVD in late April.

Participants were asked to pick winners in the following categories: Best picture, actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, director, foreign film, adapted screenplay, original screenplay and cinematography. Thirty-eight individuals submitted contest entries, but Wisler was the only person to sweep the nominations with accurate predictions. Five contest entrants scored nine out of 10 picks; six people got eight winners right; four entrants guessed seven winners; five entrants picked six winners; six entrants guessed five winners; five entrants scored four winning answers; three entrants made three correct guesses; and three entrants guessed two category winners correctly.

Though all but three contest participants predicted a best movie win for the final film in the epic "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, the best foreign film, actor and cinematography categories snagged more than a few contest front-runners. Wisler - a retired registered nurse who counts Gary Cooper's "Friendly Persuasion" as her favorite flick - said "Lord of the Rings" was an easy pick for best picture, director and adapted screenplay.

Wisler did see "Cold Mountain" - which was up for awards in the actor, supporting actress, cinematography and original score categories - before the awards broadcast, she said. But she pushed her fondness for "Cold Mountain" star Jude Law aside to pick "Mystic River's" Sean Penn as the year's best actor.

"I picked Sean Penn because of his dramatic effort. He was long overdue," Wisler said. "And (Academy voters) usually don't give the Oscar for a comedy performance."

She also admired the cinematography in "Cold Mountain" but (correctly) believed that "Master and Commander" would command the category. Fifteen other contest entrants picked "Cold Mountain" as the cinematography winner, with the remainder primarily divided between "Seabiscuit" and "Master and Commander."

"That was a difficult one for me to pick. I was letting my feelings get into it," said Wisler, who imagined the difficulty of filming at sea.

She called Charlize Theron and Tim Robbins "shoo-ins" for the best actress and best supporting actor wins. The odds also favored Sofia Coppola for best original screenplay, Wisler said. She had the most difficulty picking the best foreign film - "The Barbarian Invasions" - a challenge she resolved by checking out reviews in movie magazines at a local bookstore, Wisler said. The majority of contest entrants incorrectly picked "The Twilight Samurai" for best foreign film.

Wisler also correctly picked "Master and Commander" to win for cinematography.

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