Ben Zauzmer, a Harvard sophomore with a long-time passion for math and movies, combined his twin interests to produce Oscar Forecast. By devising formulas designed to calculate the chances each movie wins Academy Awards, he offers a mathematical approach to the exciting and difficult art of Oscar predictions. Last year, his model correctly predicted all eight of the major categories. Please feel free to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with any feedback.
For each category, Ben compiled all of the significant award shows (e.g. BAFTAs), the guild awards (e.g. Writers’ Guild Awards), any corresponding Oscar nominations (e.g. Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing). and Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes scores. With all of these numbers in a chart for each nominee in the category over the past 15 years, using a formula from statistics, Ben derived the best approximation of the relative factors of each award and critic score. The weights created by this model are the ones that would have most accurately predicted each of the past 15 years. Ben only used math; no personal hunches were involved. These factors were applied to this year’s nominees – one formula for each category – and the percentage was calculated as a movie’s score out of the total scores.
Of course, the Oscars are a human endeavor, so they cannot be modeled perfectly by mathematics. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is just that – a combination of art and science. These predictions may prove to be highly accurate, but indicators alone cannot guarantee any results. For example, in 2009 this method would have predicted 19/20 awards, but only 16/20 in 2010.
A few notes about the percentages listed on the predictions page:
- The minimum score for a movie was set to 1%. All values were rounded to the nearest percent. Finally, the values were rounded to force the total to 100%.
- For most of these categories, the data used goes back to the 69th Academy Awards in 1996. The exceptions are Best Score (data since 1999), Best Animated Feature (2005), Best Documentary – Feature (2002), and Best Visual Effects (2002).
- All Oscars are covered except the three awards for short films. There is not enough data online to make accurate predictions for these three categories.
- All references to the Academy Awards and the Oscars are copyrighted property of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. For more information, please see http://www.oscars.org/legal/regulations.html#copyrights. This site is for editorial use only and is not intended to earn money. The photograph on this website is protected under ©A.M.P.A.S.®.