Predict Oscar Nominees, With Science!



nate-silverPhoto: Courtesy Vanity Fair.
Remember way back in 2012 when everyone was wondering if Nate Silver was a witch? Good times, good times. Well the guy who used sorcery (also known as statistical analysis) to accurately predict the 2012 national elections within a few decimal points has turned his psychic powers (keen mathematical insights) toward Oscar nominees.

Well, more precisely, Silver and his team have worked with Vanity Fair to do a colorful, smart analysis of the 503 Best Picture nominees since 1928 to find out what kinds of films tend to get the nod. The results, which you can apply yourself, are quite revealing.

For instance, over 39% of all nominees are based on novels. Around 36% center around a married couple, while over 20% are set right here in New York City. By the way, films with female nudity are trending down in nominations, while pics featuring bare-chested men are shooting up. Silver does not explain why Magic Mike didn't factor in last year's Oscar race. Perhaps because it wasn't set during World War II (one in every seven films nominated since 1939 has been).

Using Silver's results, there's a good chance you'll be able to pick next year's crop of Oscar nominees for yourself. More interestingly, you may even be able to figure out which of this year's noms hit most of the Academy's various sweet spots — a possible predictor for the final winner. Our call: 12 Years A Slave which features more "Winners" tags than any other 2014 nominee. Fascinating. Go over to Vanity Fair to check it out for yourself and drop your winner suggestions (and your dark-magic scientific reasoning behind them) in the comments below. (Vanity Fair)