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

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

    by Gadget_Guy ( 627405 ) on Sunday February 24, 2013 @10:09PM (#42999349)

    ... and as a Canadian, inaccurate to the point of being offensive, I think.

    It is hardly unprecedented for a a movie to attribute credit to the US where it was not deserved. The movie U-571 substituted an American crew for the British who captured the Enigma machine. On the other hand, the British 2001 film Enigma, about the cracking of the device at Bletchley Park whitewashed Poland's earlier cracking efforts and how they advised the Brits on how to do it (although the British did take this effort much further).

    So it is not just a US phenomenon to cast themselves in the starring role. The easiest way to deal with this is to assume that all war films are propaganda films, and will always skew the facts for reasons of patriotism.

  • 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.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling