Drama, character development, quick wit...these are qualities we usually associate with an Oscar-winning movie, right? Well, that and Harvey Weinstein. But, it turns out the secret might just be math. A new study in the American Sociological Review by UCLA professors Gabriel Rossman and Oliver Schilke sets out to define just what makes a movie Academy Award-worthy. The experts reviewed over 3,000 flicks from the past 20 years and came up with an algorithm for determining a movie's awards-season success.
First off, the timing of a movie's release makes a big difference — think of Fruitvale Station's snub in exchange for this winter's much-talked about dramas. Other factors include whether the actors, writers, and directors have previous Oscar nods and whether its plot points have Oscar-related keywords (think "family tragedy" and "whistleblower"). They even came up with a list of the biggest Oscar-bait movies in recent history, and the results were only kind of surprising. Topping the list is Come See The Paradise, joined by Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The People vs. Larry Flynt.
The only problem with all this? If you purposefully make an Oscar bait movie and it fails to nab the attention of the Academy, the result is bad news for your wallet. Just think of this year's The Butler: It was a historical conflict, covered race relations, and starred a past Oscar winner, yet it was considered somewhat of a flop. In the end, it seems only Sir Weinstein can truly predict what the Academy wants. (The Independent)