After this weekend’s International Press Academy awards — commonly referred to as the Satellites — the FiveThirtyEight model tracking the Oscar race has its final data, and we can definitively talk about the state of the race for Sunday’s Academy Awards.
Interactive: Our elections-style Oscar model looks at the predictive power of film awards over the past 25 years and tracks this year’s nominees and winners to try to gauge the race in the big six Academy Award categories. See the state of the Oscars race »
Let’s check out how this contest has proceeded so far.
Best supporting actress
Alicia Vikander, who portrayed Gerda Wegener in “The Danish Girl” opposite Eddie Redmayne (last year’s best actor winner), has led this category for all but one week of the race.
Trailing slightly behind her is Kate Winslet, a veteran performer who won a best actress Oscar for 2008’s “The Reader.” Winslet is nominated this year for her turn in “Steve Jobs,” a movie that got a lot of love for its two leads but failed to generate the same kind of support for the film as a whole.
Vikander has pulled in about 43 percent of the points we have on the board in this category after scoring wins at the Screen Actors Guild, Critics’ Choice and Chicago Film Critics Association awards; Winslet has pulled in about 33 percent of the points, mostly from the British Academy awards, known as the BAFTAs, and the Golden Globes. So while Vikander is in the lead and scored some of the most historically predictive awards, Winslet’s recent bump from the BAFTAs could provide some momentum for Oscar votes that our model is too dumb to pick up on.
My pick: I’m sure it’s going to be Winslet or Vikander, most likely the latter. But it’s a legitimately interesting race.
Best supporting actor
This category has confounded our model. Typically, the Screen Actors Guild gives us the best look into the eventual winner; from a points perspective, a SAG win is worth about as much as winning the next two most valuable prizes, the BAFTA and Golden Globe, combined. But because Idris Elba won the SAG award for his turn in “Beasts of No Nation” but was snubbed by the Academy for an Oscar nomination, we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for new data here.
Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”) won at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice awards but wasn’t nominated for a SAG or BAFTA. Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”) pulled off a win at the BAFTA awards, but besides being honored by the New York Film Critics Circle, he hasn’t gotten diddly-squat among the other prizes we track. Rylance has 37 percent of the allocated points, while Stallone has 41 percent.
This race is tight, and in the absence of a consensus, I’d defer to whichever studio is running the better campaign. This year, that’s hard to judge because neither performer is competing for studio resources with nominees from higher-ticket races. “Bridge of Spies” was put out by Disney, and “Creed” was from Warner Bros. — neither of those studios has a whole lot else to campaign for this year, so it’s possible they’re lining up behind their guys behind the scenes. If we get this one right and Stallone wins, I’m not going to take a victory lap; and if we whiff it, I won’t be super surprised.
My pick: My model says Stallone, my brain says Rylance, but my heart says Ruffalo.
Of the awards we track, Brie Larson, who anchored “Room,” has won six of the seven prizes for which she was nominated, losing only at the Satellite Awards to Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”). Incidentally, those six awards are also the most predictive awards we follow. Larson has accumulated 60 percent of the points on the board in her category, the highest percentage of any nominee we are tracking, including Leonardo DiCaprio.
My pick: It would be shocking if Larson lost.
Leo is undefeated. Of the awards we track, “The Revenant” star has won everything he was nominated for: the Golden Globe for best actor in a drama, best actor at the Screen Actors Guild, the BAFTA, the Critics’ Choice award, the Satellite Award, and the Chicago Film Critics Association award. His closest rival, Michael Fassbender, who had the second-best portrayal of Steve Jobs in the past three years, won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association award (where there are no nominees). That’s it.
My pick: Ugh, Leo.
When in doubt, roll with the Directors Guild of America. Even though George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”) led in our tracking model for the majority of the race, wins at the highly predictive Directors Guild and moderately predictive BAFTAs have made Alejandro G. Iñárritu a prohibitive favorite. It looks like Iñárritu will win the first back-to-back directing Oscars since Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s victories for 1949 and 1950.
My pick: Iñárritu, but I’m going to have some silvery chrome food coloring spray in my pocket just in case Miller pulls it off.
This is a fun year to try to pick the best picture winner.
Two films, “Room” and “Brooklyn,” failed to gain substantial traction at other award shows, earning only six nominations between them. Two of the other nominees, “Bridge of Spies” and “The Martian,” got a few more nominations, but of those, only “The Martian” managed to pull off a win — the Golden Globe for best comedy, which is the least-predictive award in this category.
The remaining films are “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Big Short,” “Spotlight” and “The Revenant,” each of which led the field at least once this cycle.
“Mad Max: Fury Road” won the American Cinema Editors award for best edited drama, as well as two awards from critics groups, the National Board of Review and the Chicago Film Critics Association. It has 12 percent of the allocated points from the field as a whole.
“The Big Short” had a burst of wins in the middle of the cycle but couldn’t maintain its momentum. It won the American Cinema Editors award for best edited comedy, took the prize for best adapted screenplay at the Writers Guild Awards, and had its most significant win at the Producers Guild Awards. It has compiled about 22 percent of the allocated points.
“Spotlight” dueled with “The Big Short” for the lead for some time. It won the Writers Guild Award for best original screenplay, the Critics’ Choice and Satellite awards for best film, and most significantly the Screen Actors Guild’s top prize, outstanding performance by a cast. Overall, it has 21 percent of the allocated points.
In the lead is “The Revenant,” which bloomed late. For a while, its only win (for the film) was best drama at the Golden Globes. But in the final weeks of the campaign, a massive win at the Directors Guild for Iñárritu and a best film win at the BAFTAs pushed the movie into front-runner status with 28 percent of the points.
My pick: Yeah, probably “The Revenant,” but I don’t have to like it.
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