James Kwong correctly predicated 12 categories of Academy Awards.

Local movie buff wins Bee's Oscar contest

Published: Sunday, Mar. 10, 2013 - 2:00 am | Page 3AANDE
Last Modified: Sunday, Mar. 10, 2013 - 8:34 am

Ben Affleck, Daniel Day-Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence weren't the only ones savoring well-deserved wins after the Academy Awards on Feb. 24. So was Sacramento's James Kwong, winner of The Bee's online Oscar poll.

Kwong, a 56-year-old IT systems administrator for the state of California, picked the winners in 12 categories as well as the correct answer for the tie-breaking bonus question ("How many awards will the movie 'Lincoln' win out of its 12 nominations?") For his efforts, Kwong received a prize bag containing books on cinema, DVDs and movie tickets. The Bee checked in with Kwong, who sees "10 to 16 movies per month at the movie theaters," to ask a few questions about his gold-statue evening.

How did you select who you thought would win for The Bee's Oscar poll?

It was based on several factors: What I thought and felt about the movie after seeing it; the reviews of the movie; the predictions of the winners for the Oscar by news websites such as IndieWire, ABC News and MTV, and what awards the movie already won from the Golden Globe, SAG and New York Film Critics. Taking these factors into consideration, I then made a best educated guess.

If it came down to a difficult choice, than I would ask myself, "What would an Academy member do?" For example I like "Wreck-it-Ralph" better than "Brave," but I thought the Academy members would probably choose a more traditional … animated film like "Brave" so I chose it as my prediction. The same with "Argo" over "Zero Dark Thirty," (a) less controversial choice.

What was the biggest surprise for you on Oscar night?

That "Life of Pi" took home four Oscars and "Zero Dark Thirty" won only one Oscar and it was for sound editing.

What was your favorite movie of the films nominated for best picture?

"Zero Dark Thirty." I found watching (it) fascinating. Here we have the most wanted/hunted man in the world and how the CIA conducted their search to find and kill Osama bin Laden. The "how" part as it unfolded was just riveting for me especially toward the end.

I like the procedural drama of the film. The characters in the movie were all very engaging, and you had to feel some sympathy for the terrorist captive as he was being tortured. I like the clinical way the SEAL team took out their targets at the compound where Osama bin Laden was hiding and didn't have the typical overexaggerated fighting and explosions.

Ten years of searching, information- and intelligence-gathering, trying to piece together the clues, missed opportunities and the use of torture just left me thinking afterward.

What's your favorite movie of all time?

That's a difficult choice. The first movies to come to mind are "Forrest Gump," "Saving Private Ryan," "Gladiator" "Braveheart" and "Titanic." If I had to choose one, it would be "Saving Private Ryan" because of the intense opening battle scene.

Call The Bee's Tim Swanson, (916) 321-1606. Follow him on Twitter @timjswanson.

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