© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Oscars By The Numbers


Anthony Breznican said he can't predict Oscar winners. But here's a guy who says he's done just that. Conor Gaughan is the chief strategy officer for Farsite, and they've been looking at all kinds of data to predict who will take home those little golden men.

CONOR GAUGHAN: We went into two different types of data sources to try to predict the Oscars. The first was using historical data about movies and the Academy Awards. And then we layered on top of that real-time statistical signals, things like wisdom of crowds that comes from Rotten Tomatoes or the betting markets and ongoing signals such as the Guild Award nominees and winners.

LYDEN: You know, I only have one problem with this. This is one of the last things in which you can really be speculative over your glass of champagne and now you're going to tell me who is going to win. So let's go through the four biggest races. I'd like to know, OK, so who do you have for Best Actor?

GAUGHAN: Best Actor, we have Daniel Day-Lewis for "Lincoln." And he really is a strong favorite. There's not a lot of ambiguity in the model on him.

LYDEN: OK. Hope it didn't cost too much to run those numbers. Best Actress.

GAUGHAN: Best Actress is Jennifer Lawrence for "Silver Linings Playbook."

LYDEN: Let's move on to Best Director. Now, there had been some thought that maybe this was going to be Ben Affleck.

GAUGHAN: This was considered the snub of the awards season. Ben Affleck wasn't actually nominated for Best Director for the Academy Award. Steven Spielberg for "Lincoln" is the leading contender here.

LYDEN: And finally, Conor, ta-da, the big prize: Best Picture.

GAUGHAN: Best Picture - it's "Argo" these days.

LYDEN: Now, you might be thinking: OK, this is just one study. But Farsite isn't the only group doing this. We talked to two others, and, guess what - even though they all had different ways of getting there, they all came up with the same results.

DAVID ROTHSCHILD: We've seen very consistent from the nomination time until today for Daniel Day-Lewis.

JOEL WINDELS: Daniel Day-Lewis is going to win that award.

LYDEN: Don't worry, though, Conor Gaughan says there still could be a few surprises.

GAUGHAN: The one place I wouldn't bet, interestingly, is Best Supporting Actor, where it's one of the closest races we have between Tommy Lee Jones for "Lincoln" and Christoph Waltz for "Django Unchained."

LYDEN: If you do have anything riding on the awards, you might want to keep up with the actual news. David Rothschild is a PhD economist for Microsoft. He says negative press about anything related to a film could hurt an actor's chances.

ROTHSCHILD: As the torture situation has become more prevalent with people discussing "Zero Dark Thirty," we've actually seen a shift over time. We have Jennifer Lawrence now at about 70, 75 percent likely to win this category.

LYDEN: That's not the only category that's shifted. Early predictions had the coveted Best Picture award going to "Lincoln." But Joel Windels of Brandwatch says it's a lock for the new favorite.

WINDELS: The critics and the public have decided. I mean, "Argo" is going to win.

LYDEN: That's what his data shows him. Maybe you've got an old-fashioned sense of the same thing. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.