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Saint Mary’s Cushwah-Leighton Library hosts Oscars ballot contest

| Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Saint Mary’s Cushwa-Leighton Library finished tallying the votes for this year’s annual spring contest, which focused on the accuracy of students’ predictions for Academy Award winners.

“With our contests, we always do a corresponding exhibit,” said Ula Gaha, a reference and instruction librarian. “Since the Academy Awards fall during Black History Month, we just thought it was a good, natural fit.”

Gaha said it made sense for the library to bring the two together, as Hollywood has been increasing its diversity this year more than ever.

“We wanted to connect the contest to Black History Month to celebrate the achievements made by black people in Hollywood,” Taylor Strong, a junior and library intern, said in an email. “On the display in the library, I made pictures of past winners and had books about African Americans in film.”

Strong said the process for planning the contest began in January, and she enjoyed the opportunity to work directly on creating the contest.

“It was a great opportunity to collaborate with the social media team and create something fun for the student body,” she said. “This was also my first time being in charge of a contest. Before this contest, I would come up with the ideas for it, and Ula would do work to set it up. I learned how to build a contest from the ground up and delegate work to my team, which will be important tools I can use after college.”

Gaha said there were many trends in the 46 submitted student ballots.

“‘A Star is Born’ won for the students’ choice for Best Picture, and ‘Black Panther’ was a really close second. Lady Gaga for Best Actress. Rami Malek blew every other [Best] Actor [nominee] away,” Gaha said. “We had a tie for the animated feature for ‘The Incredibles II’ and ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.’ ‘A Star is Born’ is what was voted as Best Adapted Screenplay. And Best Supporting Actress, Emma Stone, and [Best Supporting] Actor [was] Mahershala Ali for ‘Green Book.’”

Strong said she was pleased with the outcome of the contest but has a few ideas to increase student participation in the future.

“Overall, the contest went really well,” Strong said. “For future contests, I’d love to increase online engagement about the contest by making more Facebook and Instagram Stories.”

The first place prize is a $20 Fandango gift card, the second place prize is a $15 Starbucks gift card and the third place prize is $10 in Munch Money.

Lydia Csaszar, freshman and third-place finisher, said the contest was a fun way to test her film knowledge.

I love it, and I think it was fun. It was also a good five-minute study break where I could put my hobby of following the movie industry to the test,” she said in an email. “I thought, ‘Why not?’ and I love movies anyway.”

Senior Alicia Twisselmann won first place. She said she entered the contest because she had some free time in the library.

“I don’t generally enter library contests, but I was waiting for someone to meet me and figured it was something to do to kill time,” she said in an email.

Twisselmann said it was a fun experience, and she was happy to see her love of movies contribute to her ability to see more.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “I love movies, and the Fandango gift card will be helpful in getting to go see more of them.”

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