Gold Derby

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As a treat for you readers, I interviewed the king of Oscar predicting, the one who started it all way back when, Tom O’Neil. Gold Derby has been revamped and improved continually over the years, and now includes a small calendar near the predictions that will take you back to a moment in time to see what people were thinking when. That is especially helpful this year, with so many wild and off the wall predictions happening so early. Tom’s site, like my site, is one of the few independents left on the web, and is a one-stop website for all predicting fun. They have an active forum that I’m afraid to look at, and each person can have their own predicting account to up against other users to see what does it best. On my site, the people who tend to do the best in the contests usually aren’t “in the business” as pundits. So I was wondering if he had the same experience, if the users were better than the pros. Here are his answers.

1.) Who gets higher scores, the pundits or the users?
Best scores for predicting last year’s Oscars at Gold Derby: Our official GD odds (which combine Experts, Editors, Users and Top 24 Users) and GD Editors tied for 91.67%, which is 22 out of 24 categories. We Experts and all Users got 87.5%, which is 21 out of 24 categories. Here are the links to see the breakdowns:

Experts’ Rankings — 87.5%
Editors’ Rankings — 91.67%
Users’ Rankings — 87.5%
top 24 Users’ rankings — 87.5%
Combined (All 4 above) — 91.67%

2) What does “top users” mean?
Top 24 Users are those who had the best scores last year when predicting that particular award event. Therefore, we had 2 different Top 24 teams predicting the Oscar nominations and winners. Whoever lands in the Top 24 of our leaderboards after we count up scores automatically advances forward in a team to compete against our Experts, Editors and Users. If one of our Top 24 from last year does not return this year then our computer dips down our leaderboard to find the next person with highest score, etc. It’s all automated. It’s crazy, but some of our users don’t even know they’re in those Top 24 charts. At Gold Derby, we need to do a better job of promoting all that, I know, I know.

3. What’s the biggest mistake people make when predicting the Oscars?
Biggest mistake people make when predicting the Oscars or Golden Globes is to assume that voters are actually voting for what they believe is the best of anything. That’s absurd. They’re voting for their friends, who they like and who they don’t. Usually they’re voting for a nominee because they hear everybody else is voting for that film/person too. When I ask academy members why they do that, why they keep rubber-stamping precursor awards, the answer I get most frequently, “I want to be on the winning team.”

4. Do you think there will be many surprises this year? Why does it always go as planned?
No, there won’t be many surprises at the Oscar nominations. Check out our predictions for last year – we got 70% correct.
The biggest “surprises” were the snubs of Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips) and Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks) for acting after they both received bids from Globes, SAG and Critics’ Choice. Oh, yeah, and no Oprah for “The Butler.” But we knew those films were in trouble.

5. Is anyone going to watch the show if they haven’t seen the movies?
Yes. Gabillions of people watched the Oscarcast last year without seeing “12 Years a Slave.” I’m still trying to find more than 8 academy members who saw the movie even though they voted for it (because they wanted to be on the winning team). Shocking. Shocking!


Check out David Poland’s latest Oscar column. It’s full of great pull quotes about this silly season. One of the reasons he’s able to see the bigger picture is that he, and his group of Gurus, turn in a top ten for Oscar – they are fairly close to how the Oscar Best Picture race turns out year after year, give or take a film or two.  The same goes for the AFI and the PGA now that the race is down to more than five, closer to ten.  At the end of the day, it’s isn’t that hard to suss out the films that are going to be in the race. This, because the way they vote on Best Picture now is that a film has to have a significant number of number one votes to get in. You have to find the handful of favorites.  The danglers, the films that are pushing through in the 11th hour, will have to knock out one of the mainstays.  American Hustle, for instance, had its place held in the top ten long before anyone say it. So its last minute buzz is really not about whether it will get nominated, but about whether it will win.   Here are a few quotes from Poland’s column:

We just did our 7th Best Picture chart for Gurus o’ Gold and the thing that strikes me most powerfully, is that the movies that were in the Top Ten are still the same 10 movies that are there today and none of them have ever dropped out of the 10… and obviously, nothing new has broken in.

This is what I figure. I think that movie journalists, bless our hearts, have gone from keeping score on the pinball machine of the season to being under the glass… part of the game. Every time there is a noise, instead of just reporting it in the perspective of the hundreds of other sounds—and the biggest story, which is whether the ball is still in play—each noise is A GAME CHANGER.

All groups are now reading off the same small list of “legit contenders.” They have been for months and will be throughout the rest of the season. There will be—and have been—variations of which films and performances are chosen from that list. There is even the possibility of someone or something coming from completely off the small list.

Trends do start to happen. This is completely legit. But they don’t happen because of award nominations.

So stop, look at the movies, and don’t listen too much. You’re likely being sold a duck in a barrel… the very best one.

Gurus chart:


Gold Derby’s chart:



Since we did the Gurus of Gold update, here’s a look at how Gold Derby’s charts are lining up. And who’s picking what at this early stage. The main difference between the two sites this time is that Gold Derby includes predictions for films that have not been seen yet (American Hustle and Wolf of Wall Street, primarily). This time, Gurus of Gold divided up their picks between seen and not yet seen.

You’re really only dealing with perception and predictions at this point, not with any kind of tangible reality; it could all change so fast. With that said, here are the Best Picture charts. This is the first rows – the subsequent rows, after the cut.

Continue reading…

Over at Gold Derby, the world turns somewhat differently than it does at Movie City News.  Most at Gold Derby are favoring Les Miserables.

Best Picture

Les Miserables
Dave Karger
Matt Atchity
Edward Douglas
Pete Hammond
Tariq Kahn
Tom O’Neil
Keith Simanton
Alex Suskind
Peter Travers
Susan Wloszczyna

Zero Dark Thirty
Thelma Adams
Michael Musto
Steve Pond
Kevin Polowy
Jeff Wells
Chuck Walton

Scott Feinberg
Anne Thompson
Glenn Whipp
Michael Hogan

Silver Linings Playbook
Sean O’Connell

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