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Nate Silver, Microsoft Research Predict the Oscars 67

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-as-arbitrary-as-the-presidential-election dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Nate Silver, famous for applying rigorous statistical methods to U.S. political elections, has focused his predictive powers on a somewhat more lighthearted topic: this weekend's Academy Awards. As part of his predictive analysis, Silver rounded up the various awards that precede the Academy Awards, including those from the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild; in his calculations, he gave additional weight to those awards with a higher historical success rate, and doubled the score 'for awards whose voting memberships overlap significantly with the academy.' But he isn't the only statistician predicting this year's Oscar winners: David Rothschild, a member of Microsoft's massive research division, has also developed a data-driven model. What does their number-crunching predict? That Argo will win Best Picture, and a bunch of people will win other things."
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Nate Silver, Microsoft Research Predict the Oscars

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  • Okay... (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "That Argo will win Best Picture, and a bunch of people will win other things."

    No shit!

  • by msauve (701917) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @08:12PM (#42998619)
    Because I could predict "a bunch of people will win other things."
  • by Anonymous Coward

    He could use his powers of predicition to devine when the Azure SSL cert needs to be renewed.

  • hey! they admit it. newspapers and movies.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 24, 2013 @08:49PM (#42998845)

    Anonymous Coward, famous for anonymity and cowardice, doesn't care.

  • What a genius ! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mister2au (1707664) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @08:49PM (#42998849)

    So having a guess from our Microsoft Research expert's blog:
    1. Grabs the odds from Intrade, Betfair and HSX
    2. Sources data from 'user generated data' ie social networks
    3. Does a little a maths
    4. Claims to be a forecasting guru

    And with no real detail on #3 beyond being heavily weighted towards the betting/prediction markets and effectively just picking the favourites in every market, this is kind of useless.

    The only interesting aspect is that the certainty for high likelihood winners is higher than any individual predictor ...

    For example, Spielberg for Best Director with Lincoln:
    Intrade: 75%
    HSX: 51%
    Betfair: 76%
    User-data: 81%
    Forecast: 88%

    That suggests either:
    - historically these prediction markets have under-estimated the numbers for popular favourites, which is consistent with inefficient betting markets where people will back long-shots more than they should due to the perception of good odds
    - his model concludes that if 4 data points to a win, then the likelihood is even stronger

    • Actually, with a bit more analysis ... All our Microsoft expert is really doing is taking the betting markets and adjusting for historical biases:
      - favourites are more likely to win than markets imply
      - long-shots are less likely than implied

      Perfectly normal in betting markets where people back sentimental long-shots and chase the odds

  • by NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @10:30PM (#42999491)
    that his performance on this is closer to his political prognostication and not his NFL predicitions.(You know, where he said the Patriots would go on to win the superbowl.)
    • According to my statistical analysis, there is a 16% chance that he is hoping to be wrong.

    • by Miseph (979059)

      Election outcomes are, generally speaking, easier to predict than professional sporting events, and the NFL is particularly resistant to accurate prediction.

      Academy Award winners are somewhat closer in predictability to politics than sports, so it stands to reason his analysis will be somewhat more accurate.

  • I read because he has that rare geek skill to actually explain how he gets there with his result - and he does it masterfully, entertaining me. Right or wrong, his prediction for Oscars made sense and almost all fell in place, except he did not see Christoph Waltz coming. Also he agrees that this is not similar to predicting politics or sports, because lot of unknown data involved.

    On unrelated note still lot of good cinema comes out every year, even in Hollywood - and not giving any movie clear victory this

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:28AM (#43001041)

    It's not an awards show. It's an advertising campaign. Nothing but a big event various studios fund to slap a 'Go watch this!' stamp on their own products. The big awards have little if anything to do with the actual quality of the movie - it's all business.

    As evidence of this claim, I just point out that Transformers won three oscars. Two of them for the sound.

    • by qbel (1792064)
      Obligatory MTV awards video where Jim Carrey says the same thing (towards the end.. but the entire thing is hilarious): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7c4PDvBVoY [youtube.com]
    • Yes, the Oscars were created for the deliberate, stated reason of selling more tickets. It's not even a hidden secret.

    • Because some of us don't mind being advertised to provided the advertisement is entertaining and useful. The nine Best Picture nominees are all excellent for different reasons, and the show itself was entertaining. I imagine Slashdot wants to hate Seth Macfarlane for Family Guy and other reasons, but he was a pretty funny host.

  • So Nate Silver does politics, and slashdot is all over it, and the /. article about it gets many many responses [currently shows that it had 576 responses in all, with 144 scoring at or over 2, 79 at or over 3, 56 at or over 4, and 32 scoring 5
    .
    Now, Nate Silver predict-o'matics the Ocsar Awards and it become obvious that the slashdot crowd is definitely not the Oscar-watching, red-carpet fawning, entertainment-industry-drooling set of consumer-bots that Hollywood really wants to advertise to.
    :>)
    There o
  • Only real miss: Best Supporting Actor (Swartz vice Tommy-Lee ... prediction was off by a good margin)
    Other miss but too close to call: Best Director (Lee vs Afleck but they margin between the two in the prediction was so close as to be noise)

    Good enough.

  • Wow, I'm shocked. You mean the movie about how the world was saved by movie makers was the favorite among people who make movies for a living? How did that happen?

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