German celebrity opossum misses one Oscar pick

BERLIN Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:21am EST

An undated handout picture made available to Reuters on February 11, 2011, shows the famous cross-eyed opossum Heidi in Leipzig Zoo. REUTERS/Zoo Leipzig/Handout

An undated handout picture made available to Reuters on February 11, 2011, shows the famous cross-eyed opossum Heidi in Leipzig Zoo.

Credit: Reuters/Zoo Leipzig/Handout

BERLIN (Reuters) - Heidi, Germany's cross-eyed celebrity opossum, came up one pick short of perfectly predicting top awards at the Oscars, incorrectly tipping "127 Hours" to win best picture, which instead went to "The King's Speech."

The 2-1/2-year-old opossum correctly predicted Natalie Portman ("Black Swan") to win best actress and Colin Firth ("The King's Speech") as best actor during a series of appearances on the "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" show on U.S. broadcaster ABC last week.

Heidi, who lives at the Leipzig Zoo in eastern Germany, attempted to duplicate the success of Germany's oracle Octopus Paul, who correctly tipped each of Germany's matches in last year's soccer World Cup, as well as the final between Spain and Netherlands.

"Everything went to plan," zoo spokeswoman Maria Saegebarth said on Monday of Heidi's TV appearances. "She took as long as she needed to predict the winners, sometimes taking naps."

Heidi became a star in Germany when her photo appeared in the mass-circulation newspaper Bild in December, but her international following has blossomed, including a Facebook following of about 320,000.

Heidi predicted winners from her enclosure in Leipzig by placing her paw on an Oscar statuette with the actor's photo. For best picture, Heidi had a choice of grapes laid in front of placards of the nominated films. Portman and Firth were considered front-runners for their awards but "127 Hours," the story of a man trapped for days in a canyon after a climbing accident, was thought to be a long shot.

A German-made plush toy of the marsupial was included in some Oscar gift bags available to high-profile guests.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by John Stonestreet and Paul Casciato)

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