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.