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Nate Silver, Microsoft Research Predict the Oscars 67

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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  • I predict (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 24, 2013 @08:16PM (#42998641)

    Argo is a steaming pile of Ben Afleck's opportunitic, small minded piddle.

  • Argo == bag of lies (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25, 2013 @02:26AM (#43000617)

    Argo is offensive (to Canadians) because almost every plot point in the movie is utter fiction and the true story is a Canadian one, not CIA. Just for example, CIA Agent Mendez was in Iran for less than 36 hours. "Argo" wasn't his idea, it was a Canadian's. Research this all on the Internet for yourself. You'll see.
    Argo should be offensive to all filmgoers because it's fiction being sold as truth. Affleck said the story was tweaked just a bit to maintain audience interest--and that's another lie on top of the lies.

  • Re:I predict (Score:5, Informative)

    by blackest_k ( 761565 ) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:45AM (#43001087) Homepage Journal

    Offensive? as in rewriting history and presenting it with an air of truthiness? []

    In a CNN interview, President Carter addressed the controversy by stating: "90% of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian. And the movie gives almost full credit to the American CIA. And with that exception, the movie is very good. But Ben Affleck's character in the film was... only in Tehran a day and a half. And the main hero, in my opinion, was Ken Taylor, who was the Canadian ambassador who orchestrated the entire process."

    Upon its wide release in October 2012, the film was criticized for its claim that the New Zealand and British diplomats had turned away the American refugees in Tehran. Diplomats from New Zealand had proved quite helpful; one drove the Americans to the airport. The British hosted the Americans initially, but the location was not safe and all considered the Canadian ambassador's residence to be the better location. British diplomats also assisted other Americans beyond the six. Bob Anders, the U.S. consular agent played in the film by Tate Donovan, said, "They put their lives on the line for us. We were all at risk. I hope no one in Britain will be offended by what's said in the film. The British were good to us and we're forever grateful."

    In the film, the diplomats face suspicious glances from Iranians whenever they go out in public, and appear close to being caught at many steps along the way to their freedom: while pretending to scout for filming locations at a bazaar; while purchasing plane tickets to Zurich; while trying to board the plane; and finally before the plane takes off, when Iranian guards try to stop the plane in a dramatic chase sequence. In reality, the diplomats never appeared to be in imminent danger: the six never went to a bazaar, Taylor's wife bought three sets of plane tickets from three different airlines ahead of time, there was no confrontation with security officials at the departure gate, and there was no runway chase at the airport.

    The film contains other historical inaccuracies:

    The climax of film is a chase down an airport runway, as gun-toting members of the Revolutionary Guard try to stop the plane bearing the American refugees from taking off. "Absolutely none of that happened," says Mark Leijek. "Fortunately for us, there were very few Revolutionary Guards about. It's why we turned up for a flight at 5.30 in the morning; even they weren't zealous enough to be there that early. The truth is the immigration officers barely looked at us and we were processed out in the regular way. We got on the flight to Zurich and then we were taken to the US ambassador's residence in Berne. It was that straightforward."[28]
    The part of the plot about the Revolutionary Guards discovering the diplomats' identities is fictional. They had left Iran with their fake identities with no hassle. So the scenes of trouble with the bearded guard at the last check point, the scene of the commander raiding the Canadian ambassador's residence, and the entire chasing scene at the airport and even on the runway are fictional.[29]
    The character of the guards commander, Ali Khalkhali is fictional.[30]
    There is a sequence in the film where the six go on a location scout in Tehran to create the impression they are movie people. According to Mark Lijek, the scene is total fiction.[31]
    "It's not true we could never go outside. John Sheardown's house had an interior courtyard with a garden and we could walk there freely," Mark Lijek says.[32]
    The screenplay has the escapees - Mark and Cora Lijek, Bob Anders, Lee Schatz and Joe and Kathy Stafford - settling down to enforced cohabitation at the residence of the Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor. In reality, after

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner