Data Driven Oscar Predictions 2017

Oscars 2017

I am back to try to predict the unpredictable. Can I guess tonight’s Oscar winners using just an Excel spreadsheet, some questionable mathematics, and seventeen years of award winners? In the past I vary from getting just over half right to getting nearly all predictions right. With that kind of accuracy it’s no wonder I haven’t yet made a fortune at the bookies.

For anyone with no more time to spare my predictions are below and for people who like the nitty-gritty I go into more detail afterwards.

Category
Predicted Winner
BEST PICTURE
La La Land
DIRECTING
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Isabelle Huppert – Elle
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Viola Davis – Fences
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Manchester by the Sea
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Arrival
ANIMATED FEATURE
Zootopia
FOREIGN FILM
Toni Erdmann
DOCUMENTARY
OJ Made in America

To make my predictions I will be using 14 other awards ceremonies and looking back at how often the winners they chose have overlapped with the eventual Oscar winners since the year 2000. Using this I can see which awards are good at predicting the Oscars in which category and using the award winners so far this year I can see who will win on Sunday night.

DISCLAIMER: I’ve tried this three times before getting 10/11 right the first time, 6/11 the second, and 8/11 right the third; place your bets accordingly.

Best Picture

La La Land

Often a tricky one to predict with so many contenders in the race, this year the task isn’t so hard. La La Land has won a massive six predictor awards including the Producers’ Guild Award which has the highest accuracy at 59%. Moonlight is a distant second.

Chance of winning: 13%
Runner up: Moonlight (14%)
 

Best Director

Damien Chazelle
La La Land

The race for best director was a lot closer before I noticed a mistake in my spreadsheet. Now I see hat Damien Chazelle is well in the lead with Moonlight‘s Barry Jenkins again taking silver. The Directors’ Guold award is right 81% of the time and it went to Chazelle this year.

Chance of winning: 50%
Runner up: Barry Jenkins – Moonlight(30%)
 

Actor in a Leading Role

Casey Affleck
Manchester by the Sea

The most predictable award of the evening goes to the younger Affleck brother. He’s won 8 of my predictor awards including three strong predictors. Nobody else is getting a look in.

Chance of winning: 79%
Runner up: Denzel Washington – Fences (8%)
 

Actress in a Leading Role

Isabelle Huppert
Elle

It all comes down to the Golden Globes. Huppert and Emma Stone both won best actress but Huppert won for drama and Stone for comedy. Drama lines up with the Oscar winner 69% of the time, and comedy just 19%. That said, I will be surprised if this prediction is right.

Chance of winning: 41%
Runner up: Emma Stone – La La Land (29%)
 

Actor in a Supporting Role

Mahershala Ali
Moonlight

A much safer bet her for supporting actor. Mahershala Ali has won a handful of strong predictor award while two of his rivals have won one award each, and the remaining two have nothing.

Chance of winning: 61%
Runner up: Dev Patel – Lion (30%)
 

Actress in a Supporting Role

Viola Davis
Fences

I got this wrong last year but am convinced that Davis’ four wins at strong predictor ceremonies gives her a strong lead. He main contender is Naomie Harris who only has two wins and neither of those are strong predictors.

Chance of winning: 59%
Runner up: Naomie Harris – Moonlight (13%)
 

Original Screenplay

Manchester by the Sea

With six awards already above the fire I think the drama about grief will beat out the musical about love. None of the six awards are particularly predictive by their combined weight give this script the edge.

Chance of winning: 44%
Runner up: La La Land (22%)
 

Adapted Screenplay

Arrival

This is a bit of a guess more than anything as lots of award ceremonies only have one screenplay award and they gave their prize to Manchester by the Sea. Essentially I am lacking in data. That said Arrival did win the Writers’ Guild award which is right 75% of the time.

Chance of winning: 33%
Runner up: Lion (21%)
 

Animated Feature

Zootopia

A year with no Pixar nominee opens up this race a bit. Not a lot, but a bit. Zootopia has won five predictor awards putting it in first place but did not win the most predictive award of all; the BAFTA. Kubo and the Two Strings won the BAFTA and that is right 90% of the time.

Chance of winning: 65%
Runner up: Kubo and the Two Strings (18%)
 

Foreign Film

Toni Erdmann

Until last night this was almost too close to call but a win at the Spirit Awards has allowed Toni Erdmann to pull into a more confident first place.

Chance of Winning: 30%
Runner up: The Salesman (21%)
 

Documentary

OJ Made in America

This eight hour documentary about an American hero turned accused killer is set to take home a golden statue thanks to five predictor award wins. If you have the stamina this epic is available now on BBC iPlayer.

Chance of winning: 37%
Runner up: 13th (19%)
 

Data Driven Oscar Predictions 2016

Oscars 2016

How do you predict the Oscar winners? Do you watch all the nominees and weigh up their relative merits? Nothing so simple or subjective here at Mild Concern. We gather data, we analyse it, and then we stay up all night to see if our predictions were right and if Leo and Kate recreate their Titanic pose holding matching statuettes onstage.

Why try to guess when you have maths on your side? According to the BBC it is all the rage these days.

For anyone with no more time to spare my predictions are below and for aspiring data nerds I go into more detail afterwards.

Category
Predicted Winner
BEST PICTURE
The Revenant
DIRECTING
Alejandro G Inarritu – The Revenant
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Brie Larson – Room
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Sylvester Stallone – Creed
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Spotlight
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Big Short
ANIMATED FEATURE
Inside Out
FOREIGN FILM
Son of Saul
DOCUMENTARY
Amy

To make my predictions I will be using 14 other awards ceremonies and looking back at how often the winners they chose have overlapped with the eventual Oscar winners since the year 2000. Using this I can see which awards are good at predicting the Oscars in which category and using the award winners so far this year I can see who will win on Sunday night. Simple!

DISCLAIMER: I’ve tried this twice before getting 10/11 right the first time and 6/11 the second; place your bets accordingly.

Best Picture

The Revenant

This is one of the trickiest categories to predict with a variety of films winning predictor awards. Until a few weeks ago Spotlight was in the lead having won three awards but The Revenant jumped into the lead having won the BAFTA which matches the Oscar winner 63% of the time.

Chance of winning: 19%
Runner up: Spotlight (18%)
 image026

Best Director

Alejandro G Inarritu
The Revenant

This is another award that was previously veering another direction. Mad Max: Fury Road was cleaning up at various critic’s choice awards but The Revenant stormed into the lead after grabbing the Director’s Guild Award which predicts the Oscar a massive 80% of the time.

Chance of winning: 39%
Runner up: George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road(30%)
 image027

Actor in a Leading Role

Leonardo DiCaprio
The Revenant

There is no real competition here. DiCaprio has won four predictor awards including the SAG and Critics’ Choice awards which each overlapping with the Oscars 73% of the time.

Chance of winning: 61%
Runner up: Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs (12%)
 image028

Actress in a Leading Role

Brie Larson
Room

Brie Larson accepts no defeat in her victory-heavy journey to the Oscars. Her chance of going home with the Oscar is even more certain that Leo’s having won a total of five predictor awards for Room. If you haven’t seen the film yet then please do, and take some tissues.

Chance of winning: 62%
Runner up: Charlotte Rampling (15%)
 image029

Actor in a Supporting Role

Sylvester Stallone
Creed

A close call here with the eternal Rocky star winning three awards to Mark Rylance’s four victories. Luckily Stallone got his hands on the Golden Globe which has a solid 87% overlap with the Oscars.

Chance of winning: 39%
Runner up: Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies (30%)
 image030

Actress in a Supporting Role

Kate Winslet
Steve Jobs

Alicia Vikander has received a lot of love this awards season but her nominations have been spread between The Danish Girl and her far superior performance in Ex Machina. Winslet has remained focussed and has three predictor awards with 60+% Oscar overlap.

Chance of winning: 43%
Runner up: Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl (27%)
 image031

Original Screenplay

Spotlight

As the only nominee to win any of my predictor awards there is no competition outside of pure fluke. Not that the Oscars are immune to pure flukes… That said Spotlight has won a total of 5 awards so this is far from a token win.

Chance of winning: 53%
 image032

Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short

A more mixed field for adapted screenplay but The Big Short walked away with the Writers’ Guild Award which is right 73% of the time.

Chance of winning: 40%
Runner up: The Martian (18%)
 image033

Animated Feature

Inside Out

Putting The Good Dinosaur firmly behind them Disney Pixar will still win an Academy award on Sunday as Inside Out has won almost all of my predictors including the animation specific Annie Award. This is the award that I feel most confident about.

Chance of winning: 88%
Runner up: Anomalisa (4%)
 image034

Foreign Film

Son of Saul

Time to pretend you’ve heard of any of the nominees! Hungarian critical darling Son of Saul is all over this.

Chance of Winning: 43%
 image035

Documentary

Amy

This tragic British documentary about Amy Winehouse is set to take home a golden statue despite the protestations of her father. Having won all but one of the key awards nobody else comes close.

Chance of winning: 66%
 image036

Oscar Predictions 2015 – Breaking the Enigma with Data, Maths, and Educated Guesswork

Oscars 2015

Last year I used maths to successfully predict 10 out of 11 key Oscar winners and now want to try it again to take all the glory for me and my calculator. I’ve had to leave it relatively late in the day to share my findings as the Independent Spirit awards can be key Oscar predictors and only take place the day before the Academy awards. Below I will take you through my methods, my predictions, and make clear where the data, and my sanity, has let me down.

If at anytime the heady mix of maths and popular culture becomes too much excitement for you to bear please close your browser, have a ten minute nap, and then come back and resume reading.

For each category I will be showing three predictions for each category; they have each been worked out in a different way to help me decide the best method to use going forward. The methods are as follows…

Statistical Method 1: This is the same method used last year. Every award a nominee wins leading up to the Oscars increases their chance of winning on the night. How accurate each award has been since the year 2000 in predicting the Oscar winner affects the amount it increases the nominees chances. If the BAFTA matches the Oscar 80% of the time it has greater weight than an Independent Spirit Award that agrees with the Oscars 24% of the time. Make sense? Good stuff. All maths here is performed in trusty Excel.

Statistical Method 2: In order to get a little more statistically robust this year I built a second set of predictive models using stepwise regression in R. This might be a good point to look away if you’re feeling faint. For each category I am looking at which other awards Oscar nominees win before the Academy awards and throwing Box Office and Rotten Tomatoes data into the mix too. I have built a model that only takes into account factors that have statistically significant correlation with Oscar winners, leaving some data points null and void, and allows for the fact that some awards might actually have been seen to have a negative impact on Oscar chances. Pretty sexy stuff.

Statistical Method 3: I emailed Adam Richmond from the late and great film podcast Out of the Canon and asked who he thought would win. One of the simpler techniques I’ve used.

Enough bad explanations of statistics. On with the guesswork!

 

Best Picture

Picture 1Picture 2Picture 3

 

Most commentators seem to have Birdman down as taking the top award but both my statistical models have settled on Boyhood while Adam has selected Selma. Adam is clearly delusional and my regression model (Method 2) is very healthy for this category and ranks Birdman in second to last position so I think it is Boyhood‘s to lose.

Prediction: Boyhood

 

Directing

Director 1Director 2Director 3

 

The old Excel technique gives Richard Linklater a clear lead for Boyhood but the newer model ignores a lot of the data and fixates on the DGA award which went to Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman. Adam agrees with this prediction so statistical significance and film knowledge win this round.

Prediction: Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman

 

Actress in a Leading Role

Actress 1Actress 2Actress 3

 

Having won endless awards Julianne Moore has bamboozled both my models into giving her an insurmountable lead for her performance in Still Alice. Interestingly a lower Rotten Tomatoes critics score here actually makes you more likely to win the Oscar. Make of that what you will. Adam has gone for Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything which I would love but is a complete fantasy.

Prediction: Julianne Moore for Still Alice

 

Actor in a Leading Role

Actor 1Actor 2Actor 3

 

What can I say? Michael Keaton, Michael Keaton, Michael Keaton. Consensus feels like it is behind Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything but he only takes second place in my old method whereas the regression analysis and Adam give it to Michael Keaton in Birdman easily. For this award a good Rotten Tomatoes audience score helps you win suggesting there is definitely something going on with the reception of films and the gender of their lead actors. Analysis for another time perhaps.

Prediction: Michael Keaton for Birdman

 

Actress in a Supporting Role

Supporting Actress 1Supporting Actress 2Supporting Actress 3

 

Another hat trick of predictions here for Patricia Arquette in Boyhood. In model 1 you need as many awards as possible. Done. In model 2 you just need the BAFTA and SAG awards. Done. In model 3 you need Adam’s blessing. Done. Nobody else has a chance.

Prediction: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood

 

Actor in a Supporting Role

Suporting Actor 1Suporting Actor 2Suporting Actor 3

 

A clean sweep for J.K. Simmons in Whiplash. He has won all but one of my predictor awards and my second, stricter methodology only looks at who won the Golden Globe which Simmons has somewhere on his crowded mantelpiece. Even Adam agrees which means that Simmons will not only win but deserves to do so.

Prediction: J.K. Simmons for Whiplash

 

Original Screenplay

Original Screenplay 1Original Screenplay 2Original Screenplay 3

 

My old technique for predicting the screenplay awards was a big shaky but with consensus across the three methods we can safely give the Oscar to Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel now and not even bother having the ceremony. Key predictors here are the BAFTA and WGA awards but weirdly the lower the Box Office the better.

Prediction: Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel

 

Adapted Screenplay

Adapted Screenplay 1Adapted Screenplay 2Adapted Screenplay 3

 

Interestingly here methods 1 and 2 use almost completely different factors for this award but come out with the same result. Method 2, the sexy new technique using only the most robust predictors, eschews nearly all award ceremonies preferring to look at just the WGA awards, Box Office takings, and Rotten Tomatoes critics scores. Either way you do the sums The Imitation Game by Graham Moore takes it. Unless you are Adam in which case Whiplash by Damien Chazelle is the favourite.

Prediction: Graham Moore for The Imitation Game

 

Animated Feature Film

Animated 1Animated 2Animated 3

 

This is where the new method falls over drunk. The main awards to look at for the Animated Feature category are the BAFTA and Critics Choice which both went to The Lego Movie making it the clear favourite for the Oscar. This category also has the strongest predictive model from a statistical point of view so should be the easiest for me to get right. The only issue here being that it isn’t even nominated. Bugger. Both Adam and my old technique suggest How to Train Your Dragon 2 whereas the new technique is confused and says it could be any nominee but most likely not How to Train Your Dragon 2. Stupid Oscars.

Prediction: How to Train Your Dragon 2

 

Foreign Language Film

Foreign 1Foreign 2Foreign 3

 

This is the category that is hardest to predict. Very few factors align with the Oscars in a statistically significant way so my new method simply shrugs and says to look at the Golden Globes but that it really isn’t sure. Most of my models claim to be around 60% accurate, 80% for Animated Film (HA!), but here we’re at 12.6%. Model 1 gives the award to Ida with a narrow lead over Leviathan whereas Model 2 and Adam say it is going to Leviathan. Frankly I have no idea.

Prediction: Leviathan

 

Documentary Feature

Documentary 1Documentary 2Documentary 3

 

Another tricky one. Citizenfour has the greatest sheer volume of awards, and has Adam’s vote to boot. The regression model however is uncertain and with some hesitation has settled on Virunga. It is worrying how these statistical techniques have taken on human qualities for me now. I am going to have to go with my gut, and Adam’s brain, on this one.

Prediction: Citizenfour

There you have it. Eleven categories predicted in various way and with differing levels of accuracy. In the early hours of tomorrow morning we will see who was right and once again wonder if it really matters.

Mild Concern Oscars 2014 Live Ramble

The Oscars 2014 Data

Following the fun of last year’s live ramble I’m staying up all night again to watch rich people give each other small golden statues as a reward for pretending to be other people. I am here tonight for two reasons:

1. I want to see how well my statistical predictions have fared.
2. I have the day off work tomorrow anyway to receive an IKEA delivery.

Two very important reasons I am sure you will agree…

As for those statistical predictions; the final figures are in. After last night’s Independent Spirit Awards I have all the data I need to make my predictions. Only two categories have shifted since our last look at the numbers so I won’t linger on the maths too much today. Simply put Lupita Nyong’o has edged ahead of Jennifer Lawrence in the race for Best Supporting Actress but the figures are so close either could easily win. The only other category to change is the award for best Documentary in which 20 Feet from Stardom has broken away from The Act of Killing despite the latter being a hugely deserving winner. Will my numbers be right, only time will tell.

The live ramble will start as soon as I have something to say and will finish around 4am at which point I will be making less sense than usual and my use of commas will be criminal. To view the live ramble click here and scroll down below the “Related Posts” to either join me live in a journey through insomnia or simply read through the evening in the morning.

For reference here are my FINAL Oscar predictions:

Oscar Predictions Update – The BAFTA Effect

The Oscars 2014 Data

Last month I introduced to you my amazing new statistical approach for predicting the Oscar winners. Amazing, new, and stolen from Nate Silver. With the BAFTAs having been announced we now have much more fleshed out statistics and the predictions are becoming ever more clear. Sadly my 100% foolproof prediction technique seems to be agreeing with the bookmakers’ picks so any attempt for me to get rich is not going to happen.

Below are my updated charts (oooh charts!) which look at each category in turn, just select the category you want to look at from the drop down menu (oooh drop down menu!). If you want to read about the methodology have a look at the previous post.

Best Picture
12 Years a Slave

Already the frontrunner last month 12 Years a Slave now holds the BAFTA in this most important category and so looks unbeatable at the Oscar ceremony. Start practising your speech Steve McQueen.

Directing
Gravity

Another predicted winner that was set for Oscar success without the need for BAFTA support. Now with the golden mask secured Gravity is statistically unbeatable… let’s just hope the voters realise my integrity is at stake.

Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club

Every nominee apart from Christian Bale has won at least one precursor award for this category but, regardless of Chiwetel Ejiofor’s win last night, Matthew McConaughey has won more of the most accurate award predictors. With its British skew BAFTA only predicts this category 54% of the time.

Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine

Cate Blanchett has continued to gather awards for her role in Blue Jasmine and this success is giving her the most striking statistic of all with an 80% chance of winning the Oscar. Poor Judi Dench might as well stay at home.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club

While the BAFTA went to the deserving newcomer Barkhad Abdi from Captain Phillips it’s not enough to take on Jared Leto’s near clean sweep for Dallas Buyers Club which leaves him more likely to win than not.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle

For now at least. The BAFTA win for Lawrence, with its 77% accuracy rating, has pushed her ahead of former frontrunner Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave. The stats are close though and if Nyong’o can win the Independent Spirit award the day before the Oscars (an award Lawrence is not nominated for) she will JUST gain the lead. Far too close to call this one.

Original Screenplay
Spike Jonze for Her

Forget the BAFTAs for a minute as the WGA awards have also taken place recently and they are key predictor when it comes to the writing category, most likely as the two voting panels will have a large overlap. As such the WGA win for Her has let it increase its lead slightly, though with a probability of victory as low as 36% American Hustle could steal the show.

Adapted Screenplay
Billy Ray for Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips winning the WGA award and Philomena the BAFTA has given this already contentious category a little shake-up. The front-runner now is Captain Phillips with a slightly above average chance of victory at 25%.

Documentary
20 Feet from Stardom / The Act of Killing

The most awarded film in this category, Stories We Tell, isn’t nominated for the Oscar so from a data point of view we’re fighting for table scraps. Currently 20 Feet from Stardom and The Act of Killing are level pegging but that isn’t saying much. A win at the Spirit Awards for either film would be a real boon for both them and my statistics.

Animated Film
Frozen

Last time we checked Frozen had a healthy lead over the competition and since then has won the 100% accurate BAFTA award and the category specific Annie Award leaving it with a 74% chance of success. This isn’t quite as safe as Cate Blanchett but I would be amazed if any other animation got the Oscar.

Foreign Film
The Great Beauty

Blue is the Warmest Colour was ruining this category by winning all the awards but not having an Oscar nomination. Thankfully The Great Beauty has added a BAFTA to its Golden Globe and is looking like a much healthier contender for the all important golden statue.

We’ll have one final look at how things stand after the Independent Spirit Awards on 1st March and then on the 2nd my results will truly be put to the test.