Tag Archives: Lincoln

Oscar’s Road to the Capitol

There has always been an express lane from Hollywood Boulevard to Pennsylvania Avenue. In fact, just today, we have stories that House Minority Leader Pelosi is briefing Hollywood stars on her plans to retake the majority in the house. The Oscar nominations this year epitomize the connection between politics and entertainment.  In an exciting election year, Hollywood played its part – giving audiences five political films nominated for Best Picture. Most years, the Best Picture race includes at least one political film.  But, in and around the Presidential elections, the volume of political content increases.

And, within this year’s Oscar class, and in an election year, we have an opportunity to observe the strong ties between our stars and our leaders.  In 2012, Hollywood celebrities took to the campaign trail.  A handful of stars spoke at each of the major party conventions, including Best Picture nominee Django Unchained’s supporting actress Kerry Washington.  Collectively, the celebrities in Hollywood donated over $4.8 million to various campaigns and public interest groups.  One of the leading voices in politics happens to be one of the leading Oscar nominees – Steven Spielberg.  In 2012, he donated over $1.2 million to various campaigns – but his lifetime political donations are nearly twice as much.  He is joined by Supporting Actress Sally Field and writer Tony Kushner, also staunch political activists.

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Tickets and Ballots

It is no wonder that Steven Spielberg hosted a private screening of Lincoln at the White House with President Obama, and a bipartisan screening for the U.S. Senate…turns out it is ridiculously expensive to catch a flick in our nation’s capital. Ticket prices in Washington DC are the highest in the country, averaging $10.46 per ticket (compared with Idaho where $5.86). DC is almost a dollar more than the second most expensive place to see a movie: New Jersey.

Ready for the fascinating correlation? It turns out that the average ticket price in your state is actually tightly correlated with the percentage of the vote that Barack Obama won in the 2012 election. Yep – the bluer your state, the higher your average movie ticket price. Just to be clear, we are not saying the relationship is causal – voting for Obama did not mean you were voting for higher ticket prices. I am sure that there are plenty of social-science explanations for you poly sci PhD candidates looking for a dissertation topic. If you think this data is interesting – tomorrow we have an extensive post on the relationship between politics, Hollywood and the Oscars.

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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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PGA and SAG Cause Some Drama

We are marching towards February 24th. And this weekend marked a critical juncture: the Producers Guild of America Awards and the SAG AFTRA Awards were each held this weekend, providing us important new data points for the model.  And, it was some unexpected and exciting news.

On Saturday night, at the Producers Guild of America (“PGA”) Awards, Argo took home the top award. As we have mentioned before, PGA is one of the best indicators of the likely winner of the Oscar for Best Picture. But, as we have mentioned before, it is rare that a film wins Best Picture when the Director is not also nominated for Best Director.  Recall, Argo’s Director (Ben Affleck) was not nominated for Best Director.  Thus, we have a few signals that seem to conflict. This type of situation happens all the time in business planning, so we’re thankful that the PGA is giving us a chance to evaluate the situation.

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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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