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With Oscar nominations due to be unveiled Jan. 23, there are lots of predictions floating around.
"She's definitely getting a nomination." "He's a real long shot to hear his name called."
We hear these things all the time, but to really know precisely how definite or long-shot a nomination is, it's helpful to use math. Every year, I calculate the probabilities that each possible nominee will be selected by the Oscars in advance of the nominations announcement.
The method is straightforward: I ask my computer to determine how well various guild awards and critic groups have predicted the Oscar nominees in the past, and then assign credit to the recipients of those awards during the present Oscar season. The better an awards show has historically done at predicting a given category, the more weight that awards show is assigned.
Not only do the percentages below tell us the likelihood of each film, director, actor, or actress getting nominated, but they also serve as approximate standings for the current state of each race, because a more likely nominee is also a more likely winner. Of course, those standings have plenty of time to change between now and March 4, when the Oscars will be handed out.
Ben Zauzmer (@BensOscarMath) uses math to predict and write about the Oscars for The Hollywood Reporter. He recently graduated from Harvard with a degree in applied math, and he now works as a baseball analyst for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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