Oscar By The Numbers: Predicting Academy Award Winners Nate Silver-Style

Frank DiGiacomo
Oscar By The Numbers: Predicting Academy Award Winners Nate Silver-Style
Oscar By The Numbers: Predicting Academy Award Winners Nate Silver-Style

The quest to predict this year's Oscar winners with the same mathematical precision that fivethirtyeight blogger Nate Silver called the 2012 presidential election has got a new contestant. The filmmaking website The Credits has teamed up with the social analytics and monitoring company Brandwatch, to create a predictive data visualization that it has dubbed "Social Oscars."  East Coast Editor Bryan Abrams says the algorithm, which was created by British quant Edward Crook, predicts the Oscar front-runners by focusing on the positive mentions that nominated films, directors and actors generate via critics and social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Abrams explains that the algorithm is created to filter out mentions that are negative or that don't specifically pertain to a nominated film or an actor's performance in it. "If there's a positive story about Best Supporting Actress nominee Anne Hathaway having lunch at The Ivy, that's not going to be counted," he says.

The editor also estimates that, by the time the Academy Awards are handed out on Feb. 24, the algorithm will have evaluated more than a million mentions that it has evaluated on the Internet.

The Social Oscars works differently than, for instance, The Huffington Post's Oscar Predictions Dashboard, which incorporates box-office results and Rotten Tomatoes critics and audience scores.  For one thing, it predicts frontrunners via two categories:  Public Choice and Critics Choice. So, for instance, as of Feb. 15, Robert De Niro is the Critics Choice favorite for Best Supporting Actor, while Christoph Waltz is leading in the Public Choice category.  In the Best Actress category, Jennifer Lawrence is far and away the public's choice, but she's virtually tied with Jessica Chastain with critics. And though some pundits are pushing a scenario in which Amour actress Emmanuelle Riva walks away with the prize, the French actress is a distant third in the Social Oscars race (but a rising number two on HuffPo's dashboard).

And for those rooting for Argo to upset Lincoln as Best Picture, there's good news. The Ben Affleck-directed picture is the clear frontrunner, according to the Social Oscars algorithm. (See the graphic above.)  Stay tuned.

[The Credits, Huffington Post]

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