He is undoubtably the United States most respected statistician, and has correctly predicted the outcomes of several presidential campaigns. So it comes as no surprise to learn that Nate Silver has turned his attention to Sunday’s Oscar nominations, and used his unique formula to predict who he thinks will be the nights winners.
Silver stated in his Five Thirty Eight blog in the New York Times yesterday, that this was not the first time he had attempted to predict the Oscar winners, and that he had had a relatively moderate success, as in 2009 and 2011 he scored a 75% pass rate. He is hoping to go one stage better this year however, as he has tweaked his method for choosing the winners, and as such, made the process a little more explicit.
So down to the nitty gritty, just who does Silver think will walk off with the awards this Sunday, and how has he forecast the winners this year?
What Silver has done this year is to look at the previous awards that were given out in the run-up to the Oscars. He says that this is a kind of showbusiness equivalent to pre-election polls and he is using them as a predictor of Oscar winning success. However, not all awards are the same, and some awards carry more weight than others, for example, some awards are voted for by the same people that will be voting for the Academy Awards, for instance, many members of the Screen Actors Guild will vote both for the SAG Awards and for the Oscars. However, some awards are voted upon by critics and journalists, such as the Golden Globes, and these tend to be less predictable, and will not influence the final voting within the decision making of deciding who wins.
In order to come to a reasonable formula for making his winning predictions, Silver based his forecasts for the Academy Awards on which candidates have won other awards in their category. More weight was given to awards that have frequently corresponded with the Oscar winners in the past, and which are voted on by people who will also vote for the Oscars. Less consideration was given to awards that did not correspond to winners in the past, or who were not voted on by the same people who were instrumental in picking the winners for the Oscars.
And here are Silver’s predictions:
Best Film – Argo
Best Director – Steven Spielberg – Lincoln
Best Actor – Daniel Day Lewis – Lincoln
Best Actress – Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook
Best Supporting Actor – Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln
Best Supporting Actress – Anne Hathaway – Les Miserables