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And The Winner Is: Big Data Oscar Picks
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Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
3/3/2014 | 4:16:32 PM
Re: Good example
Perfect on all 6 major categories is not a percentage I would have guessed. Now can we get these guys working on winter storm forecasts?
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/3/2014 | 3:53:58 PM
Re: Good example
The big data engine won-- perfect on all six major categories. Without any truly shocking winners, I'll still have to see how big data does next year before I'm convinced. But credit where it is due!
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
2/27/2014 | 3:47:01 PM
Re: Good example
For those who don't know, the Academy uses a preferential voting system that's sort of confusing. If there's a clear favorite that gets more than 50% of first-place votes, the system doesn't really matter. But if there are several strong contenders, the strangeness of the system can swing the results.

Basically, each of the ~6,000 voters ranks nominees (from 1 to 9, this year). If no film has a majority of #1 votes, the film with the fewest #1 votes is eliminated. Second-place choices from ballots that chose the eliminated film are then redistributed. That is, if Philomena is eliminated first, a ballot that ranked Philomena first and American Hustle second becomes a first-place vote for American Hustle. This process continues until a winner is crowned.


A movie like The Wolf of Wall Street is a long shot in this system. It only has a chance because there are enough strong contenders to split voting. It will have a lot of passionate support-- but probably not enough for more than 50% of voters to rank it #1. It will also have strong detractors-- which means that when votes get redistributed, Wolf falls behind. "Love it/Hate it" movies don't do well in this system, which is why uplifting, emotional stuff wins more often than darker movies.

Nebraska and some of the other Best Pictures nominees that are likely to be eliminated early will actually dictate the winner. If the people who voted for Nebraska and Dallas Buyers Club liked Gravity more than 12 Years a Slave or American Hustle, that could decide the winner.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
2/27/2014 | 3:31:02 PM
Re: Good example
Good context re the change in voting procedures, Michael. We will have to see whose predictions are right. Will Michael beat the big data engine? Stay tuned.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
2/26/2014 | 4:28:48 PM
Re: Good example
The Oscars changed voting procedure in recent years, which makes historical data somewhat less useful. Awards campaigning, the influence of industry guild awards, and other recent developments also mitigate the importance of older data. Even voting trends from the last decade have fallen flat for predicting the last few years' winners. So I'm not sure how much useful data there really is to analyze, let alone in a "big data" sort of way. But still, it's fun to predict.

Academy members often choose accessible or uplifting movies over difficult or complex ones. Argo over Zero Dark Thirty. Crash over Brokeback Mountain. The King's Speech over The Social Network. Based on online buzz, at least some Academy members find 12 Years A Slave (an important but uncompromisingly brutal movie) too difficult to watch.

That opens the door for Gravity. Picture and Director usually go together, and if Cuarón doesn't win director, it will be a monumental upset; he's won every major precursor award, including the DGA (which shares a lot of membership with the Academy). That said, Ben Affleck wasn't even nominated last year, when Argo won, so again-- precedent doesn't mean as much as it might seem. Moreover, many Academy members rely on DVD screeners, instead of actually going to a movie theater. If any movie's full power relies on the big screen experience, it's Gravity. If this negatively impacts Gravity's Best Picture chances, that could swing favor back to 12 Years A Slave, or open the door for...


American Hustle, most likely. It has nominations in every acting category, which rarely happens, and actors make up the largest branch of the Academy. If the actors really love American Hustle, they could push it over the top, even if all the technical branches go for Gravity. The Wolf of Wall Street, which is divisive but will have some of the most passionate fans, could also unexpectedly prevail in a split-vote situation.

My prediction? I think Farsite got most of them right, but I think Gravity will probably eke out Best Picture, and don't be surprised if Jennifer Lawrence wins Best Supporting Actress. If American Hustle doesn't win Best Picture, the enthusiasm from the actors' branch will have to show somewhere, and Supporting Actress looks like the best bet.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
2/26/2014 | 4:08:39 PM
Re: Good example
Social counts are often muddied by bots and paid-for actions, too. I'll be interested to see how accurate these predictions are come Sunday.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
2/26/2014 | 3:54:20 PM
Good example
The point about Twitter buzz indicating one actor's fanbase, as opposed to how the academy members will actually vote is a good example that I will use again. Too many people misread pure social "counts" for business results.


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