St. Petersburg Times: Weekend

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Nice detective work

A crime scene analyst from Clearwater correctly picks nine of 10 Oscar winners.

By STEVE PERSALL, Times Film Critic

© St. Petersburg Times
published March 28, 2002

By day, Kathleen Perry works for the Clearwater Police Department as a crime scene analyst, a civilian post requiring her to sort through police records looking for trends in criminal activity.

Sunday night, Perry, 38, used her deductive skills and a little luck to correctly pick 9 of 10 Academy Award winners in categories selected for the annual Times Oscar Contest -- good enough to be this year's grand prize winner. Perry's efforts earned her a JVC digital camcorder with a built-in digital still camera, plus a collectible 74th annual Academy Awards poster.

"I didn't get to the theater too much this year," said Perry earlier this week. "I rented a lot of stuff. Maybe (my police experience) helped a little in an indirect way. But I think the Oscar thing was just a lot of luck."

Perry's only mistake in the contest was predicting Ben Kingsley would win best supporting actor for Sexy Beast. Instead, Jim Broadbent of Iris won the Oscar.

Two runners-up, Jeffrey L. Shannon of St. Petersburg and June Lagueux of Treasure Island, tied Perry with nine correct predictions. Both believed Sissy Spacek would win best actress for In the Bedroom, a prize won by Halle Berry (Monster's Ball). Perry was named the contest winner by a random computer drawing.

A total of 1,163 Times readers entered the contest. Shannon and Lagueux lead a list of 25 runners-up who won copies of that Academy Awards poster and four tickets to Muvico theaters.

Sixteen runners-up tied with eight correct guesses, then the computer selected the remaining winners among 61 contestants with seven correct predictions each.

Those 54 entrants who got seven categories right but didn't win posters can be satisfied with picking as accurately as a certain Times film critic, and better than at least one member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Yours truly posted seven correct predictions in the 10 categories, missing wins by Berry, Broadbent and original song (Randy Newman's If I Didn't Have You from Monsters, Inc.). Times marketing director Ed. Cassidy, an Oscar voter and a big Moulin Rouge fan, broke even at 5-5.

Cassidy's overall Oscar tally was also at 50 percent (12 out of the 24 categories) while mine was slightly better at 15-for-24. But the showings by Perry, Shannon and Lagueux make any interoffice bragging rights seem hollow.

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