Farsite was right: 2013 Oscar prediction results

It worked.

We accurately predicted 5 out of 6 winners in the top categories for the 2013 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Director. And we’re back here in 2014 to do it all again.

We weren’t surprised, but we were pretty proud. See, here at Farsite, we use advanced analytics to solve our clients’ business questions. Being “stat geeks” our whole lives, we knew our statistical approach to Oscar predictions made sense.

What we didn’t expect was to blow anyone’s mind.

“I know there is no scientific way of predicting the Oscars®,” said Scott Feinberg, awards analyst for the Hollywood Reporter, when he spoke to the Wall Street Journal about Farsite’s capabilities. He went on to say that statistical models wouldn’t work because they didn’t account for the “underground intelligence” he and other pundits share.

Mr. Feinberg may be right. But last year, Farsite stood largely alone among prognosticators when we correctly predicted Christoph Walz would win Best Supporting Actor for Django Unchained. Some thought we also went out on a limb when we picked Argo for Best Picture, despite the age-old rule that the Best Picture Oscar typically goes to the Best Director. (Remember, Ben Affleck wasn’t nominated for Best Director in what many considered a snub). Farsite was on the money for this race too.

How does Farsite do it?

We’ll use a first-of-its kind data-modeling tool to predict Oscar winners again this year. The model incorporates more than 40 years of film industry and Academy Award related information to forecast probabilities for the winners. This information includes real-time data and an array of variables, including total nominations, other Guild nominations and wins, buzz and nominees’ previous winning performances.