Tag Archives: best picture

Leadership Transition: Argo Overtakes Lincoln…for Now

As we mentioned in our previous post on PGA and SAG, there may be some shifting momentum in the Best Picture race.  In fact, in the last few days, betting markets have begun to favor Argo for Best Picture over Lincoln.  Interestingly, the markets have been fluctuating significantly.  Following its win at PGA, Argo was up but still below Lincoln. Following SAG on Sunday, Argo skyrocketed.  But by Monday morning, Argo was back down to levels below Lincoln, near where it was post-PGA and pre-SAG.  In the last 24 hours, however, Argo has again begun to gain.

This indicates that the underlying dynamics of this race remain in flux. Sentiment continues to change and evolve.  And, we’ll have yet another data-point come this weekend’s Directors Guild of America (“DGA”) Awards.  Should Affleck win over Spielberg, we would expect the Argo momentum in the betting markets to continue. Fundamentally, if Affleck wins DGA, many pundits will question how he was passed over for an Oscar nomination for Best Director in the first place.  Should Spielberg take home the DGA Award, he will be the clear front runner for the Oscar for Best Director, and his win may stymie the strong sentiment for Argo we’re seeing in the betting markets.

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Rotten Tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes is one of the most popular sites that reviews movies. Beyond the Box Office, this platform provides one of the only quantitative measurement tools for how well-received a movie is by both audience and critics. But does the audience, or even the critic, opinion mean anything for the Oscars?

Rotten Tomatoes has two parallel ratings systems: one critic driven and one audience driven. The critics contribute to the Critics Score, called the Tomatometer®; the user-driven score is called, inventively, the Audience Score. Each is a percentage of the reviewers that had a positive rating of the movie. For the Audience Score, a positive review is one with 3.5 stars or greater; for the critics, a positive review is a thumbs up (or equivalent).

There are also other meta-scores that Rotten Tomatoes provides: the Critics Rating and the Audience Rating. These measure the aggregate scores of critics and the unwashed masses alike. The Critics Rating has three levels: Certified Fresh, Fresh, and Rotten. According to the RT website the Certified Fresh rating is “Reserved for the best-reviewed films, the Certified Fresh accolade constitutes a seal of approval, synonymous with quality.” Quantitatively, these films have consistent Critics Scores above 75% or higher. There does appear to be some judgment, however, because many films with a score higher than 75% do not have the Certified Fresh designation. For the Audience Rating there are two levels: Upright and Spilled (these are designated on the Rotten Tomatoes website by an upright or spilled bucket of popcorn).

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Does Oscar® Ski?

Who doesn’t love a good party? And everyone in Hollywood knows (and everyone else that watches Entourage knows) that outside of Oscar Sunday, the best parties are in and around the sleepy little ski town of Park City, Utah.  Call it “Hollywood in the Slopes.” I am fairly convinced that more wine, beer and booze is consumed this single week in Park City than the entire other 51 weeks of the year in all of Utah – combined. I’m fairly certain that much of that is consumed a one particular house in The Colony, a luxe neighborhood in Park City’s Canyons resort – you know who you are! There are an estimated 40,000 people that converge on Robert Redford’s resort community, shuttling between screenings, meetings, drinks, parties, and more drinks.

For those newbies to the film world, Sundance is a film festival, just like Cannes in France, Tribecca in New York, or Toronto International in Tor…you get the drift. Festivals are intended to be a marketplace where filmmakers sell their films to buyers who purchase the right to distribute those films in certain specified territories. Some producers are in town to try and “sell” their movies before they are made – shopping scripts and projects. Those producers spend most of Sundance asleep all day and partying all evening. Some filmmakers are in town to learn and they attend seminars.  They work all day and party all evening. Most filmmakers are showing their films to audiences, hoping one of a handful of independent studios will buy their movie for theatres – both US and foreign. That, and they want to party all evening.

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Revised Model, With A Golden Tint

It is almost as easy to predict the Oscars as it is to predict what the pundits will say.  “The HFPA favors musicals” will be their response to the wins of Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Les Miserables for Best Picture – Musical. “The HFPA adores Tarantino” will justify Christoph Waltz and Django Unchained for Best Screenplay.  The morning of the Globes, Steve Pond’s preview in Wrap.com was titled “Credibility Is Overrated”, and Deadline hosted a funny and biting, “Live Snarking”. Regardless, the Globes are a data point worthy of consideration, not totally irrelevant noise. There are signals in this event, particularly because it is so early in the season. Keep in mind The Globes impact is two-fold: first, it could have some predictive correlation to the Oscar race itself, albeit small; second, it may drive changes in the betting markets.  Intrade has moved materially in the last three days, both on the results of Critics Choice Awards and the Golden Globes. And, thus, we attempt to answer Hollywood’s question: “Do the Globes help a nominee’s Oscar chances?”

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Best Picture – Let The Race Begin!

After all the excitement with the nominations yesterday, we thought we’d just take today off and nap. It is a Friday after all.  Wait, our social media consultants said we had to blog today to keep up our SEO rankings. UGH! Well, we are a data science firm, so that sounds like a challenge to us.

Today, and most of next week, we plan on taking each category and dissecting it for you.  We will tell you about the nominees, the analysis within that category, and a little about the variables that matter the most.

Today we take on the Best Picture analysis. As of today, January 11, 2013, the chance of winning best picture is the following.

Currently, Lincoln is the undisputed leader for Best Picture. The film has 42.8% odds of winning, around 10% above Silver Linings Playbook.  Lincoln has garnered 12 nominations.  The only major nomination Lincoln didn’t get was Best Actress.  As mentioned previously, our model (and conventional wisdom) indicate that a movie with a best picture nominee is also likely to get a best director nod.  Steven Spielberg, Lincoln’s director, is also leading his race.

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Time to Unveil the Model – In All Its Glory

Today is the BIG DAY!! Congratulations to all those who received nominations.  For so many, this marks the achievement of a lifetime. But enough of the fluff – you are here to find out who is likely to win before everyone else!

Best Picture
Nine films qualified for Best Picture.  Over the last few weeks, Lincoln was leading the charge. It is no surprise this Spielberg epic received the nomination. And, it is the current favorite with 41.1% probability of winning.  The Weinstein Company, masters of Awards Season marketing and publicity, are never out of the race.  Silver Linings Playbook is at 24.4%.  And, Django Unchained received a nomination as well, but it’s running at under a 1% chance of winning.   Without a Director nod for Tarantino, it’s an uphill battle.   Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, and Les Miserables all have to fight the same battle.  Their current probabilities of scoring a win are at 4.7%, 4.4%, and 3.8%, respectively.   Amour and Beasts of Southern Wild both shocked some with their nominations for Best Picture and Director.  Their probabilities of winning Best Picture are running at 10.0% and 5.3% for those films. Ang Lee scored a nomination for Life of Pi.  Given his nomination for Best Director, and nominations in 7 technical categories, Pi will be a strong contender as well.   We will explore the Best Picture race in great detail on our blog tomorrow!

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The Producers Have Spoken…PGA Noms Are Out

The Producers Guild announced the nominees for their top award today.  And boy did InTrade move on the news.  Lincoln, which received a nomination, is now trading at 56% probability.  PGA maintains a strong correlation to the Academy’s Best Picture, having matched the last five years and 16 of the last 23.  PGA also closely resembles Oscar Best Picture nominations – to the tune of about 80%. Seven films were nominated for both in 2012:  “The Artist”, “The Descendants,” “The Help,” “Hugo,” “Moneyball,” “Midnight in Paris” and “War Horse.”  The snubs last year included “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” and “Tree of Life” which received Academy noms but did not get nominated by the PGA.  On the other side of the tracks, “Bridesmaids,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “Ides of March,” achieved PGA nominations but were not nominated for the Oscar. Clearly, there are some strong signals from the PGA, but keep in mind the statistics: the producers branch of Academy represents approximately 8% of the total membership (494 members out of 6,378 total voting members).

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Marketmaker: Intrade and Best Picture

I bet you have placed a bet at one point.  Gambling is one of our favorite vices – as an innocent past time of course, and only in jurisdictions where betting is allowed.  Online, the largest betting marketplace is Intrade.  Intrade is an online trading exchange website. The website’s members bet on the outcomes of non-sports-related future events – including the Academy Awards.  It turns out that Intrade has a great record over the history of the Oscar betting market for correctly predicting the best picture winner. In the final day of trading before the awards, these market-based predictions have been correct since the market’s inception.  We will dig into the past few years below, but we should mention one caveat – about a month ago, Intrade stopped accepting bets from American members.  This could be a crucial change in the betting market’s predictive ability for the upcoming Oscars.

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