The Academy Awards have been as mysterious as the electoral college, but perhaps no more? Nate Silver, flexing his mighty 2012 election data, announced today that he’d take a third try at figuring out why little gold men go to certain people and not others.
“My track record? Nine correct picks in 12 tries, for a 75 percent success rate. Not bad, but also not good enough to suggest that there is any magic formula for this,” he wrote. Even a 75 percent standing is impressive when many self-proclaimed “oscar gurus” are on par with their politico cousins in D.C. Sure, saying a democrat will take California is just as easy as saying that a Steven Spielberg film could get Best Picture or Daniel Day-Lewis is convincing as Abraham Lincoln.
Silver instead relied on the same formula from the election: taking a variety of data from insider (e.g. The Directors Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild) and outsider (e.g. Chicago Film Critics Association, Golden Globes) sources that’ve chosen their favorites. The data does appear to be skewing heavily for Argo to take Best Picture while Lincoln sweeps up the rest. But it’s the Best Supporting Actress category that will make or break Silver’s future chances at Oscar:
“There is considerably less reason for last-minute campaigning in this category: Anne Hathaway as about as safe a bet to win for “Les Misérables” as Mitt Romney was to win Utah. If Sally Field or Amy Adams wins instead, it will probably be time for me to retire from the Oscar-forecasting business.”
We’ll find out on Sunday whether Nate Silver can ever show his face in Hollywood ever again.