Knowing Oscar

College freshman takes home prize in Herald-Mail contest

College freshman takes home prize in Herald-Mail contest

March 02, 2008|By JULIE E. GREENE

Like many of the contestants in The Herald-Mail's fifth Oscar Picks Contest, the female acting categories were a miss for Hagerstown resident Sarah Johnston.

Many people thought Julie Christie would win best actress for her performance as a woman struck with Alzheimer's in "Away From Her." Instead Marion Cotillard won the best actress Oscar for her portrayal of singer Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose."

And several contest participants picked Cate Blanchett, Amy Ryan or Ruby Dee to win over the eventual supporting actress victor, Tilda Swinton. Swinton played a conniving legal executive in "Michael Clayton."

Four of the 54 entries had eight categories correct, out of a total of 10 categories. Johnston's entry number was randomly drawn to become the winner of the Oscar Picks Contest and $100.


"I was a little surprised with the best actress and supporting actress, just based on what the critics had said," said Johnston, 18, a freshman at Hood College in Frederick, Md. Johnston had picked Christie and Blanchett to win.

"There's always a few surprises at the Oscars. That's what makes it interesting," she said.

In making her picks, Johnston said she primarily went with the critics' choices, and then with her gut.

"I haven't seen a lot of the movies, but I'd really like to see them," Johnston said.

However her winnings won't be going toward box office tickets.

Johnston said she plans to put the money in her savings account for college. She's studying English and considering a career as a high school teacher.

During her junior year at North Hagerstown High School, Johnston wrote for The Herald-Mail's Pulse section, the teen section that runs on Tuesdays, and was an intern at the newspaper during her senior year.

Other contest entrants who guessed eight of the 10 categories correctly were Mike Price of Fayetteville, Pa., and Hagerstown-area residents Paula Hurbanis Leaf and Janet Dame.

Oscar winners in the 10 contest categories

1. Best Picture: "No Country for Old Men"

2. Director: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men"

3. Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, "There Will Be Blood"

4. Actress: Marion Cotillard, "La Vie en Rose"

5. Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem, "No Country for Old Men"

6. Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton, "Michael Clayton"

7. Adapted Screenplay: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men"

8. Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody, "Juno"

9. Animated Feature Film: "Ratatouille"

10. Foreign Language Film: "The Counterfeiters," Austria

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