Want to predict the Oscars? Yeah, you and everyone else. It’s still one of those unsolved problems. No one has found a way to get inside the heads of the Academy voters, so we’re still in the Wild West of prediction.
Throughout this awards season we’ve explored the best ways to predict something when you don’t have a lot of data. We have a model that takes a stab at it, and this year we reached out to other people to talk about ways to predict the big show. But the time for talking is over, and the time has come to find out which models work and which ones don’t.
So ahead of the Academy Awards on Sunday, we’re rounding up every prediction we could find. Here are the final Oscar predictions in the top six categories from FiveThirtyEight and from the eight amateur modelers we’ve been following. Since betting markets and Irish gambling houses actually offer pretty reliable predictions, I’ve also included the Irish bookmaker Paddy Power’s front-runner in each category. And since there are some very good models out there for the down-ballot categories, we put in bonus predictions for them as well.
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 »
If you haven’t met our modeler friends, here’s the gist of their approaches:
- Burak Tekin’s model uses Google News to predict the awards.
- Paul Singman’s pulls predictive data from tweets.
- Brian Goegan has a model that looks at earlier award shows and additional nominations.
- Zach Wissner-Gross and Randi Goldman have one that looks at box office dollars and reviews.
- James England asks people to vote on nominees they saw in head-to-head matchups.
- Nigel Henry and his crew at Solution by Simulation base their predictions on the preferences of people in the MovieLens data set.
- Allison Walker analyzes film reviews for words that have historically been used to describe Oscar winners.
- Gary Angel and his team at Ernst & Young pick winners based on which nominee hews closest to the Hollywood worldview by analyzing publications and reviews.
The FiveThirtyEight model gives the highest score to “The Revenant,” followed by “The Big Short” and “Spotlight.”
Tekin, Walker, Goegan and Singman pick “The Revenant” to win. Goldman/Wissner-Gross pick “Brooklyn.” England picks “Spotlight.” Angel says “The Big Short.” Henry’s team says “Room.”
Paddy Power has “The Revenant” winning with 4-to-9 odds.
Our model says Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”) will win best actor.
Tekin, Henry, Walker, Singman, Goldman/Wissner-Gross, Goegan and England also pick Leo. Angel’s team says Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”).
Paddy Power has Leo as favorite, with 1-to-100 odds. Those are very good indeed.
We’re going with Brie Larson (“Room”).
So are Singman, Walker, Goegan and England. Tekin picks Cate Blanchett (“Carol”); Goldman/Wissner-Gross and Angel pick Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”). Henry’s picking Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”).
Paddy Power has Brie Larson as favorite with 1-to-25 odds.
Best supporting actor
It’s a tight race this year, and this will be a very cool category to watch. Our model says Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”), but Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”) is hot off a win at the BAFTAs and could prove an upset.
Tekin, Goegan and Singman pick Stallone. Walker picks Rylance. Henry and England pick Mark Ruffalo (“Spotlight”).
Paddy Power has Stallone as the favorite with 2-to-7 odds.
Best supporting actress
We’ve got Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”) winning it, with Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”) as a close second.
Tekin and Singman pick Winslet. England, Goegan and Walker pick Vikander. Henry picks Rachel McAdams (“Spotlight”).
Paddy Power has Vikander as the favorite with 2-to-5 odds.
The model has Alejandro G. Iñárritu (“The Revenant”) as the winner, following a significant win at the Directors Guild awards.
Tekin, Walker, Goegan and Singman picks Iñárritu. Goldman/Wissner-Gross and England pick George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”). Henry’s going with Lenny Abrahamson (“Room”).
Paddy Power has Iñárritu as the favorite with 1-to-14 odds.
Now for the predictions in the down-ballot races, from those who make them.
Best original screenplay
Singman picks “Inside Out,” while Goegan says “Spotlight.” Paddy Power has “Spotlight” as the favorite with 1-to-10 odds.
Best adapted screenplay
Singman and Goegan each pick “The Big Short.” It’s also the favorite at Paddy Power with 1-to-12 odds.
Best animated feature film
Goldman/Wissner-Gross, Singman, Goegan and Henry pick “Inside Out.” It’s Paddy Power’s favorite as well, with 1-to-100 odds.
Goegan says “The Revenant” and so does Paddy Power (1-to-14 odds).
Best costume design
Goegan says “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Paddy Power gives it even odds to win.
Best documentary feature
Goegan says “Amy.” Paddy Power has it as the favorite as well with 1-to-7 odds.
Best film editing
Goegan says “Mad Max: Fury Road.” It’s also the favorite at Paddy Power with 1-to-4 odds.
Best foreign language film
Henry’s team says “Mustang.” Goegan says “Son of Saul.” The latter is the Paddy Power favorite with 1-to-12 odds.
Best makeup and hairstyling
Goegan says “Mad Max: Fury Road”; it’s the favorite at Paddy Power with 1-to-5 odds.
Best original song
Goegan says “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre.” Paddy Power’s favorite is “Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground,” with 2-to-5 odds.
Best original score
Singman picks “The Hateful Eight”; Henry’s team says “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” “The Hateful Eight” is the Paddy Power favorite with 1-to-12 odds.
Best production design
Goegan says “Mad Max: Fury Road.” It’s also the favorite at Paddy Power with 1-to-10 odds.
Best sound editing
Goegan says “The Revenant.”
Best sound mixing
Goegan says “The Revenant.”
Best visual effects
Henry’s team says “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Goegan says “Mad Max: Fury Road.” A model from visual effects artist Todd Vaziri that exclusively monitors this category has “The Revenant” as the favorite for this one. Paddy Power has “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” ahead with 1-to-2 odds.
Congratulations to all the folks who pitched, built and maintained Oscar prediction models with us this year. A lot of behind-the-scenes work goes into these models, and it takes some bravery to put your name on a publicly posted prediction. Many of our predictors are new to the game but still managed to put together really compelling models. It’s been a blast.
On Oscar night, we’ll be tracking the winners in real time see how our models stack up. The show airs at 7 p.m. Eastern this Sunday on ABC; be sure to watch with us as your second screen!
In the meantime, please feel free to watch the ABC News videos above where I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. Peter Travers is my hero.
And in closing, here is a video with me in a vicious argument about Leonardo DiCaprio:
Read more Oscars coverage:
- Hollywood Studios Barely Promoted Non-White Actors And Films
- FiveThirtyEight’s Final Oscar Picks
- Does Leonardo DiCaprio Deserve An Oscar? An Interrogation.
- Can Math Predict The Oscars? A Debate.
- Can You Read Between The Lines To Pick The Oscar Winners?
- The 2016 Oscars Race
- How Much Do We Need To Know To Predict The Oscars?
- Can The Internet Predict The Oscars?
- FiveThirtyEight’s Guide To Predicting The Oscars
- Can You Fake The Academy To Predict The Oscars?