Goddard para-educator wins Oscar contest, is headed to Hollywood

The winner of The Eagle Oscar Ballot contest, Madeleine Farid, is taking a friend with her to Hollywood in June, a grand prize made possible by Warren Theatres owner Bill Warren. (Mar.17, 2014)
The winner of The Eagle Oscar Ballot contest, Madeleine Farid, is taking a friend with her to Hollywood in June, a grand prize made possible by Warren Theatres owner Bill Warren. (Mar.17, 2014) The Wichita Eagle

“Mr. Hublot” tripped her up.

But the Academy Award winner for best animated short film was the only miss for Madeleine Farid in The Wichita Eagle’s Oscar Ballot Contest.

Farid, a 26-year-old para-educator at Goddard High School, picked the correct winners in 23 of the 24 Oscar categories in the contest.

More than 1,400 people entered the contest. No one got all 24 categories right. Three other entrants also missed only one, but Farid’s name was picked in a drawing among the four.

That earned her the grand prize from Warren Theatres, the contest promotional partner, of a four-day, three-night trip for two to Hollywood that will include airfare, meals and lodging at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the site of the first Academy Awards in 1929.

The prize also includes VIP tours of studios and stops at famous Hollywood landmarks, such as the TCL Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The trip is valued at $3,500.

Farid called the prize “too good to be true.”

“As long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in movies. Always. Being in a movie would be a dream for me,” she said. “Especially standing up in front of the academy and accepting an Oscar. That’s a little too good to be true, I think.”

For now, she just hopes to see some movie stars on her trip.

Farid plans to go to Hollywood in June. She will take a friend, Rachel Juby, and they will be escorted by Larry Robertson and his wife, Barbara. Robertson is director of projectors and sound for Warren Theatres and a Hollywood historian.

Theaters owner Bill Warren said he wanted to come up with a prize that was unique and cool.

“I just think someone who really likes film, going to Hollywood is like going to Mecca, so why not?” he said. “I just thought that would be something that would create a lot of buzz, and why not promote the movies that way? What’s the old saying: ‘Go big, or go home.’ ”

Contestants filled out an online Oscars ballot, which was posted Jan. 19 on The Eagle’s website, They had until 4 p.m. on March 2, the day the Academy Awards were broadcast on ABC, to make their choices. Second- and third-place winners won Warren Theatres gift certificates.

Nicholas Ojile of Andale finished second to win $200 in gift certificates. Doug Crawford of Wichita was third and won $100 in certificates.

Contestants ages 13 to 20 were able to fill out a 10-category ballot in a separate contest and win Warren gift certificates. Nineteen correctly guessed the winners in all 10 categories, so contest winners were chosen by a drawing.

Tucker Benson of Valley Center won $150 in certificates as the first-place winner. Camille Mitchell of Wichita won $100 in certificates for second place, and Christian Ramos of Olathe won $50 in certificates for third place.

The hardest question in the contest was the same one Farid missed. Only 13 percent of the contestants correctly guessed “Mr. Hublot” as the winner in the animated shorts category.

Farid picked the Disney short “Get a Horse.”

“I didn’t really get a chance to see any of the shorts,” she said.

She previewed some of the nominees on YouTube, she said, and thought all were good.

Farid knew “Gravity” would win for best direction and visual and sound effects.

She also felt certain about “12 Years a Slave” as best picture.

But she struggled to decide between Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o in the best supporting actress category. Lawrence seemed a popular choice and was good in “American Hustle,” Farid said, but Nyong’o, who won, also was good in “12 Years a Slave.”

Farid said she also had a difficult time picking between Cate Blanchett and Amy Adams in the best actress category, which went to Blanchett.

“That was a close one. I was really unsure about that as well,” Farid said.

How did she make her final choices in those categories?

“I just took a guess,” she said.