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Woodbridge Man Wins
Grand Prize in Contest

By Matt Slovick Staff

The movie "Titanic" beat the competition 11 times at the recent Academy Awards. Robert "Spike" Souders of Woodbridge, Va., beat more than 10,000 participants to win's Pick the Winners Contest for the Oscars.

Souders won round-trip airfare for two to New York City on Continental Airlines, two nights at the Essex House hotel and two passes to see the premiere of TriStar's "Godzilla."

The second-place prize – a "Godzilla" jacket – goes to Brian Casentini of West Hollywood, Calif.

Souders was one of 135 people who correctly selected the eight categories, and one of 11 who then guessed that "Titanic" would take home 11 Oscars. He ultimately won because his entry arrived before the others.

A big movie fan, Soulders says his family is, too. "My son won the prize in his high school drama class because he saw more of the nominated films than anyone else in his class. That's because we go to the movies a lot."

Soulders is married and has two children. One attends college in Massachusetts; the other is a sophomore in high school. Retired from the Navy, Soulders works at what he calls one of the many federally funded research and development corporations in the area. The family moved to Virginia from Washington state in 1993.

Soulders has seen most of the films that received nominations, but has yet to catch "Boogie Nights" and "The Full Monty." "But I plan to rectify that," he says.

His entry arrived just a week after the nominations were announced. That's long before the "experts" start making their predictions and handicapping the Oscars. How did he do it?

"I went with the performances I liked and my understanding of the way I think the Academy votes for things," he discloses.

Soulders says he didn't enter any other Academy Awards contests on the Web. "I check out everyday and it seemed like I had a decent shot at this one, so I entered," he says.

Casentini, our runner-up, is a 33-year-old television development executive at the new Fox Family Channel, which launches in August.

"I love film, and the Oscars are my version of the Super Bowl," Casentini says. "I like doing a bit of research around Oscar time, and it usually pays off." He also won $350 in his office pool this year.

The other nine people who were perfect in this contest will receive caps. They are: Tom Syta, Blasdell, N.Y.; Katerina Charalambous, Hoboken, N.J.; Karen Collins, Arlington; Roy Geiger, Galesburg, Mich.; Erika Grams, Chapel Hill, N.C.; Melissa Kingsley, Silver Spring; Robert Marvin, Palatine, Ill.; Gary Salem, Los Angeles; and Elaine Valmonte, Washington, D.C.

The 50 winners of "Godzilla" posters who were selected at random are:

Sean Allen, Fairfax; Lynn P. Anderson, Topanga, Calif.; Bradley Boring, Grosse Pointe, Mich.; Reni Deheza, Arlington; Patricia Denno, Springfield; Sylvia DeVore, Centreville; Merryl DiBartolo, East Windsor, N.J.; Carlos J. Espinoza, Washington, D.C.; Scot J. Farrell, Bellaire, Tex.; Samuel Ferriss, Seattle;

Steven D. Fought, Arlington; Karen Greiman, Montgomery Village, Md.; Vickie Henry, Alexandria; Kristin Heyer, Washington, D.C.; Theodore Johnson, Hampton, Va.; Wojciech Kasprzak, Frederick; Jason King, Potomac; Robin Koretsky, Dallas, Tex.; Jessica Krcek, Meherrin, Va.; Greg Lane, Olympia, Wash.;

Rubin Macmas, Monterrey, Mexico; Massoud Marzban, Bethesda; Kevin Matthews, Arlington; Rachel Mandelman, Washington, D.C.; Carolyn McClellan, Norman, Okla.; D.T. McIlwain, Alexandria; Dave McKechnie, Washington D.C.; Erika Mendoza, Rockville; Angela Merino, Fairfax; Stan Ostern, Santa Barbara, Calif.;

Mike Platt, Alexandria; Rob Ploger, Gaithersburg; Mehrdad Rahmani, Bowie; Bob Reed, Spring Valley, Calif.; Pat Robinson, Eugene, Ore.; Daniel Rothfeld, Boca Raton, Fla.; Marcelino Ruiz, Silver Spring; Ed Sanderson, Toronto; Mary Shaw, Arlington; Erika Shugart, Silver Spring;

Bill Spensley, Orleans, Mass.; Rebecca Steiner, Atlanta; Rosetta Stewart, Bowie; Tia Subramanian, Bethesda; Ira Tattelman, Washington, D.C.; Nadia Titarchuk, Cambridge, Mass.; Pei Wang, Rockville; Mark Webster, Vienna; Omer Zaim, Washington D.C.; Stephen Ziobro, Alexandria.

This year's contest attracted 10,025 entries from the District, all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and 55 other countries.

Here are the official rules.

ACADEMY AWARDS, OSCAR(S) and the OSCAR statuette are the copyrighted property of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This site is neither endorsed by nor affiliated with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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