Oscars! Statistics! Predicting the Winners with Maths!

The Oscars 2014 Data
UPDATE: Stats have been updated after the BAFTAs and can be found here.

Last year statistical wizard Nate Silver had a go at predicting the Oscar winners using the various other award ceremonies as indicators. With my love for both films and data this year I decided to give it a go myself. Taking a leaf out of Nate’s book I will be using twelve other award ceremonies to give me my predictions. I will not be using anything other that cold, hard statistics and will not let my emotions or film knowledge sway my opinion.

To begin with I looked at how often these twelve awards have agreed with the Oscar selections across 11 awards categories since the year 2000. For example; the Golden Globe and the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor have gone to the same recipient as one another 11 times out of the past 13 years and so in this category the Golden Globes have a predictive accuracy of 85%. As the ceremonies take place for this year’s events I am looking at all the awards the Oscar nominees are winning, calculating their chance of winning the Oscar based on their combined precursor awards’ predictive accuracy, and comparing that score with their rivals.

So far nine of my twelve precursor ceremonies have taken place, and some categories won’t settle down until after the BAFTAs in mid-February, but my interim analysis certainly shows some dominant nominees. Have a look at the charts below and see what you think. The drop down menu will allow you to toggle between Oscar categories, the bar chart to the left shows how the nominees stack up against one another so far, and the table to the right shows how often the other awards correspond with the Oscar winner.

Best Picture
12 Years a Slave

The strongest predictors for Best Picture are the Producers Guild Award and the Critic’s Choice Movie Award, both of which were won by 12 Years a Slave. The only significant award yet to be announced is the BAFTA but even if Gravity takes the title it will have to literally beat the odds if it hopes to win the Oscar.


It is completely the opposite story for the Best Director Oscar with Alfonso Cuarón and Gravity having won the big hitters in the form of the Directors Guild Award and the Critic’s Choice Movie Award. 12 Years a Slave is so far behind that a BAFTA win would make little difference.

Actor in a Leading Role
Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club

The Critic’s Choice Movie Award again dominates the field followed closely by the Screen Actors Guild Award, both sitting on the mantelpiece of Matthew McConaughey. The power lies in London now as both the London Film Critics Circle and BAFTA awards have yet to be decided and both hold some sway over the category.

Actress in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine

By far and away the most distinctive category at this stage in the race as Cate Blanchett leaves all rivals in the dust. Her’s is the only Oscar nominated performance to have won any precursor award apart from Amy Adams who won a mostly inaccurate Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical. This really is Blanchett’s award to lose.

Actor in a Supporting Role
Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club

Almost as strong a predicted winner as Blanchett, Leto is way out in the lead having won all but three of the precursor awards to this point. The only other actors to have won awards in this category aren’t even nomination for the Oscar so won’t be troubling Leto when March roles round. No competition… yet.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave

Lupita Nyong’o and Jennifer Lawrence have won three precursor awards each with Nyong’o taking the lead by winning awards of slightly more importance than Lawrence. Too close to call yet especially with the most accurate BAFTA looming in a few weeks.

Original Screenplay
Spike Jonze for Her

Let’s take this prediction with a huge pinch of salt right now as the only awards with any predictive power here, the BAFTA and the Writer’s Guild of America Award, lie in the future and could easily change the rankings completely.

Adapted Screenplay
Terence Winter for The Wolf of Wall Street

The BAFTA isn’t as important for this award but the WGA award certainly is. No nominee has won more than one precursor award so far so we may never have a good grip on the winner before the Oscar itself is awarded.

20 Feet from Stardom

This is a very difficult category to predict as none of the precursor awards are particularly accurate predictors. 20 Feet from Stardom takes the lead having only won the Critics’ Choice Movie Award with all other awards to date going to Stories We Tell which has not been nominated.

Animated Film

Way out in the lead is Frozen with the mightily accurate Critics’ Choice Movie Award under its belt. That said the BAFTA for this category has yet to be awarded and thus far it has an unprecedented 100% predictive accuracy.

Foreign Film
The Great Beauty

It all falls apart here as one film is absolutely dominating this category across the precursor awards and that is Blue is the Warmest Colour. Tragically the film is not eligible for the Oscars this year so we only have The Great Beauty‘s win at the Golden Globes to go by.

We’ll have another look at how things stand after the BAFTAs on 15th February when we will have four more ceremonies contributing to the stats and I will be making my way to the bookies.

2014 Oscar Nominations Not-Remotely-Live Blog

Oscar Nominations

I wasn’t quite organised enough to have a liveblog up and running when the Oscar nominations were announced this lunchtime but I made myself a post so I’m damn well going to put something in it. I will forgo listing all the nominations as they can be found everywhere else on the internet. The important facts are these…

  • Gravity and American Hustle lead the pack with ten nominations each, closely followed by 12 Years a Slave with nine. Nebraska has a pleasing six nominations and Her continues to taunt me with five nominations and a UK release that has yet to arrive.
  • Judi Dench and Meryl Streep are competing for the Best Actress award, a title that Dench has never won and one that Streep has taken twice and been nominated for fourteen(!!!) times.
  • The only nomination for Saving Mr. Banks is for its music and this upsets me greatly.
  • Blue is the Warmest Colour has completely failed to be nominated for Best Foreign Film and that is a tragedy as it clearly is the best foreign film and if you ask me the best film overall. So there.
  • Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa has been nominated for an Oscar. Take that in. It’s for Best Makeup and Hairstyling but still, it just feels wrong. Weirdly American Hustle is not nominated in this category despite the hair being the best bit.
  • David O Russell and American Hustle continue to rhyme and sound incredibly satisfying.
  • Jonah Hill has received his second Oscar nomination. Who would have thought he’d ever be an Oscar contender considering his former career in broad comedies? Ditto for Matthew McConaughey who has moved so far away from his Romantic Comedy background he is barely recognisable.
  • Best Live Action Short is not normally a category I can comment on but somehow I have seen nominee The Voorman Problem twice and it is worthy of the win. The short stars Martin Freeman as a psychiatrist called to a prison to deal with an inmate who is convinced that he is God (Tom Hollander). It is short, clever, funny, and has famous people in it.
  • There are really only three nominees for Best Film. For the past three years I have seen the winner of the top prize at the previous year’s London Film Festival therefore this year’s winner must come from the films I saw back in October. The real list of nominees is as follows:

12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club

The Wolf of Wall Street

Let’s meet back here on 2nd/3rd March to discuss the winners.

Famous People are Given Golden Globes – 2014 Edition

Golden Globes 2014 - Emma Thompson

The Golden Globes took place last night and boy did some people win some awards. Award ceremonies are both trivial and exciting and the Golden Globes in particular have a reputation for nominating people they think will turn up and that the voters would like to party with. That said the Golden Globes offer the combined excitement of the Emmys and the Oscars as awards are given to both TV series and films allowing Bryan Cranston to be sat feet away from Leonardo DiCaprio.

Regardless of the awards’ merits the list of winners put a smile on my face a few times this morning as actors/films/TV shows I love got given little golden orbs. This will serve as a quick summary of who won that matches who I think deserved to win and absolutely no negative feelings towards any decisions I disagree with. No Amy Adams hate. None at all. Nope…

Let’s start with the big winner 12 Years A Slave which grabbed only one prize last night but as it was the award for “Best Motion Picture – Drama” it’s hard to really complain. This is a fantastic film that could well have deserved more awards (no grumbling here, I promise) but I am really pleased that it beat the more audience-friendly Gravity to the top spot. American Hustle won the sister award of “Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy” which is a tricky category when its rivals Inside Llewyn Davis and Nebraska could arguably be seen as dramas just as easily as Philomena was. American Hustle is a fun period crime romp that puts wigs character at its core instead of a complex plot filled with endless reveals (hello Oceans Eleven!). The scene-stealing star of the film Jennifer Lawrence was rightly awarded the lengthy-titled “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture” alongside two of her co-stars.

Gravity may have missed out on the big award but was rewarded for its visual spectacle when Alfonso Cuarón was given the award for “Best Director – Motion Picture”. This sci-fi thriller didn’t make my top ten last year but is without a doubt a visual and technical marvel requiring the most precise direction of any film out last year; the precise camera movement required to believable create outer space on a soundstage require a steady hand at the helm. If you somehow managed to miss Gravity, or simply want to marvel at it one more time, then you’ll be pleased to hear that the film is back in IMAX cinemas where you can get the full immersive effect/throw up if you’re my mum.

Over on the TV side of things the departing juggernaut that is Breaking Bad took was awarded “Best Television Series – Drama” and the man who made the show what it became through his chameleon-like acting, Bryan Cranston, took home the “Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama” award. It’s a lovely cherry on the cake for a show that never let its quality drop while others that have been less consistent (*cough* Dexter *cough*) weren’t even nominated.

The winner of “Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television” is a confusing one as in the UK it was released in cinemas, and rightly so. The award went to my 3rd favourite film of last year Behind the Candelabra and its star Michael Douglas won “Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television”. Two rightly deserved victories and wins that might not have happened had it actually had a cinematic release in the USA and was forced to take on the might of David Russell’s American Hustle.

Last but not least TV’s best current comedy Parks and Recreation finally won its first major award as producer, star, and Golden Globes co-host Amy Poehler was handed “Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy”. For anyone ignorant of the joys of this series I urge you to seek it out and stick with it when Series 3 comes to BBC Four later this year. If you don’t enjoy it I will cook you dinner either as a reward or punishment, I can’t quite decide how to classify my cooking skills.

The awards also served to highlight for me the films I need to get my eyeballs on; Blue Jasmine, Frozen, Her, Wolf of Wall Street, and Dallas Buyers Club in particular.

As for what I have seen of the ceremony itself it looks to have been a fun affair but sadly we had to get our beauty sleep so missed out on watching it live. Emma Thompson proved to be a highlight and you can see why by clicking on this orange text. As for the co-hosts of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey… have a watch below:

BAFTA Rising Star Nominees 2014

Bafta Rising Star Nominees 2014

This year’s BAFTA Film Awards will be presented on the 16th of February and there is one award in particular that never fails to catch my attention; the Rising Star Award. The unique nature of the award is that the winner is voted for by the public and this is both intriguing and to the awards detriment. The award will sometimes go to the nominee with the biggest fan base or highest profile rather than an up and coming talent that could really do with the encouragement.

Yesterday BAFTA announced the five nominees as selected by a panel of industry experts and I’m here to pass judgement on them and see who I think should win.

Dane Dehaan

Dane Dehaan
Dehaan first grabbed my attention with his Season 3 role in Gabriel Byrne’s dialogue heavy TV epic In Treatment as the troubled teen Jesse D’Amato. Since then he has perfected the role of troubled genius in films such as Chronicle and Kill Your Darlings. Dehaan managed to ground the supernatural Chronicle and make it all the more real by putting in a truly threatening performance. I may not have enjoyed Kill Your Darlings but it certainly wasn’t Dehaan’s fault. His next major appearance is taking over the role of Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (a casting spookily predicted by Stephen on this blog) and I for one am quietly excited. As someone with some solid but low-key performances under his belt and more mainstream fare up ahead I can easily see what makes Dehaan a candidate for the Rising Star Award.

Will Poulter

Will Poulter
Oh Will, where did it all go wrong? Six years ago Poulter debuted in the adorable British film Son of Rambow directed by Garth Jennings in which Will played the role of Lee Carter. Since then he has taken on a few TV roles, appeared as Eustace in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and acted in the critically acclaimed Wild Bill. Most recently he has undone all that good work by helping to make the atrocity that was We’re the Millers. Sorry Will but I really can’t get past that film.

Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita Nyong’o
Lupita Nyong’o has a 100% flawless record of five-star films by virtue of the fact that her sole cinematic release to date is the, as yet unreleased in the UK, 12 Years a Slave. In this future Oscar winner (trust me) Lupita plays a young slave woman who is separated from her child and suffers the worst brutality seen in the film. As an attractive young woman she suffers from the amorous advances of her “owner” and the jealous rages of his wife all while grieving for her absent child. Nyong’o’s performance is striking and heartbreaking and I’d say she deserved this award if I didn’t already think she was on her way to the Best Actress Oscar instead.

Léa Seydoux

Léa Seydoux
Léa Seydoux has been working solidly in French cinema since 2006 and made a few appearances in high-profile American fare including Midnight in Paris, Inglourious Basterds, and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. What has really brought Seydoux to everyone’s attention is her supporting role in the epic love story (and my favourite film of 2013) that is Blue is the Warmest Colour. Much as I loved her performance in the film I can’t help but think that her co-star Adèle Exarchopoulos is more deserving of a position on this list. Exarchopoulos carried the film on her shoulders and has a much less developed CV than Seydoux. All that said I am very excited to see where Léa’s career goes next particularly with her role in the remake of La belle & la bête coming up later this year.

George Mackay

George Mackay
Sadly, despite his recent role in the Proclaimers musical Sunshine on Leith, I have no idea who George Mackay is. Perhaps this anonymity makes him the perfect nominee for an award aimed at encouraging a burgeoning career or perhaps I just need to widen my cinematic horizons so that an actor’s entire career doesn’t pass me by again. Sorry George!

For me the winner has to be Dane DeHaan. Despite having a good crop of films behind him DeHaan has not yet become a household name and has put in a series of solid performances in smaller films. The others in the list have either risen too much in my opinion or made one bad film with Jennifer Aniston that i can’t get past. Not naming any names obviously. George Mackay prove me wrong, I’ll be sure to watch How I Live Now when it comes out on DVD.

Disagree with me? Of course you do! Have your say by voting over at the Rising Star Award page.

Mild Concern Oscars 2013 Live Ramble


One of the film calendar’s biggest events in which the rich and famous pat one another on the back is here. We’ve prepared as best we can by watching as many of the films as possible; no fiction film in the English language not in a technical category has escaped my eyes.

It has been exhausting but not as exhausting as staying up until 5 a.m. watching Seth MacFarlane host an awards ceremony longer than any of the films nominated – and most of them were far too long. People will sing, actors will cry, and Daniel Day-Lewis will almost certainly not go home empty-handed. We are also guaranteed to slip into lunacy at some point.

I will be starting with the red carpet coverage as soon as I can bring myself to do so… and find an illegal online stream to watch. Fingers crossed I can get the live blogging software to work.

EDIT: All seems to work. If you are joining us tonight, or fancy reliving it blow by blow in the morning, then open this post in a new window and all the fun should dynamically update in-front of your eyes. If it doesn’t you’re using the wrong browser and I wash my hands of you.

EDIT: How could I forget about my old friends/alcoholism enablers at NOW TV? Legal live streaming ahoy!