Simulated Oscar Ballot

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Results are in! And the winners are…

Dr Rob, Sasha and I will have some observations to make after we’ve had a chance to dig into the details and study how the ballots broke this way and that. But we wanted to get these online right away. Any questions? Dr. Rob is here to give you all the answers, Sasha might let us in on her reaction, and I’ll try to fabricate some half-baked analysis.

I’ll add some screenshots here so you won’t have to click back and forth so much, but the best way to delve into all the details of Rob’s work is to check out all his original high-res charts.

ballot ballot

This is it. Here’s your chance to a better job with an Oscar ballot that many of the actual Oscar voter will probably do. Rob Y has this to say:

UPDATE: Deadline to vote is Saturday, Feb 14th, 10 p.m.

We want to know what you think is best. We are not asking what you think will win. That is handled over at our PREDICT THE OSCARS contest. We want you to say what you think is best.

7th Annual Awards Daily Simulated Oscar Ballot

After you vote, please come back to this page and let us know which films and filmmakers we chose. You’re not done till you get to argue about your opinion.

I can’t think of better instructions to add than the guidelines Dr. Rob has given us. After all, he’s the inventor of this Oscar Decryption Machine so he knows how it oughta work better than any of us do.

oscar enigma


Rob has been pulling all-nighters to crunch the data on Awards Daily’s 7th Annual Oscar Ballot simulation. The results are on his website devoted to the project, details displayed in a set of meticulous pdf spreadsheets. The data looks best on Rob’s site, but I have taken some screenshots to give you a glimpse in abbreviated form. The actual charts on Rob’s site are far more extensive and easier to zoom and pan to find specific titles and ranking patterns.

Thanks to all the readers and voters who participated. You did a great job. Your choices are admirable. Goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: The 1200 people who voted on the simulated ballot have chosen a more interesting group of nominees that the Academy itself was able to chose.

Click her to Rob’s Website with all the charts.

A significant points that Rob has brought to our attention:

He ran the Best Picture through 2 methods of tally. Best Picture ballots counted with the current process vs Best Picture ballots counted with the process from 4 years ago (with 10 noms) yields essentially the same.

The selection that earned the highest percentage of all categories wasn’t even nominated by the Academy—screenplay for Gone Girl

If Whiplash is considered Original, then Selma benefits. If Whiplash is considered Adapted, then LEGO and Nightcrawler benefits. I found this fascinating.

The Theory of Everything seemed to be well liked, gathering steam in several categories as the rounds continued along—especially actress.

AD readers selected 0 out of 20 individuals of color for acting.

JK Simmons and Patricia Arquette had the highest vote percentage for any actor

For Supporting Actor and Adapted Screenplay, the surplus rule was used in the second round. Effectively one ballot could have its count spread over three choices.

Here’s a breakdown and explanation to address the concern that going from 10 nominations to 5 for BP has had a detrimental impact. According to Rob’s analysis, from a computational standpoint, out of 1226 selections for BP,

560 ballots or 45.7% remained with their first choice.
329 or 26.8% of the votes went to their second choice.
254 or 20.7%% of the votes went to their third choice.
60 or 4.9% of the votes went to their fourth choice.
5 or 0.4% of the votes went to their fifth choice.
2 or 0.2% of the votes were discarded as their second through fifth choices were eliminated in the first round.
16 or 1.3% of the votes did not select 5 films to nominate; that is, they left blanks

So only 2 ballots would have benefited from having 10 spots for nominating. If we were using multiple rounds of elimination, this would be more of an issue.

Link to Rob’s site.

Here are abbreviated parts of some of the charts. I’ve not shown Cinematography, Editing, Screenplays or Supporting Actor categories. I have to say again: these charts look so much better in Rob’s site, I really hate to post these cruddy samples reduced to fit in a narrow column on the site.






Update: Deadline Extended to Wednesday, Jan 14th, Midnight Pacific Time

For the 7th year in a row, to help us better understand the Academy’s voting system, we’re running a Simulated Oscar Ballot built by our own accounting wizard, Rob Y. AD readers represent a demographic that doesn’t match the AMPAS — and yet, in spite of our differences, the results of past years have shown surprising alignment with the choices of Oscar voters. We always want to tell our voters that we’d rather you fill out your ballot with your own preferences rather than try to guess what the Academy might do. Rob says it best: “Pretend you are an honorary member of the Academy, and you are asked to nominate films in their respective categories. Make your selections accordingly.” Simple as that. Have at it!

Voting for the nominations phase will close on January 11 at 10:00 PM PST.


In a couple of days, Rob will have the 7th Annual Awards Daily Simulated Ballot ready to go. Each year we get a master list of all the eligible films and then need to divide the titles into Adapted and Original for the screenplay categories. I did a preliminary sorting last night and I think it’s largely alright — but mistakes always happen. I’d like to ask any of you readers with a sharp eye and free time to give these two lists a look, to see if there’s any movie that I’ve got in the wrong stack. We would really appreciate your help setting us straight before Rob builds the code for the ballot menus. Thanks!


22 Jump Street
3 Days To Kill
300: Rise Of An Empire
A Haunted House 2
A Most Wanted Man
A Walk Among The Tombstones
About Last Night
Age Of Uprising: The Legend Of Michael Kohlhaas
Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
American Sniper
Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?
Big Hero 6
Blood Ties
Brick Mansions
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
Deliver Us From Evil
Devil’s Knot
Dolphin Tale 2
Dracula Untold
Dumb And Dumber To
Edge Of Tomorrow
Endless Love
Exodus: Gods And Kings
Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
Giovanni’s Island
Gone Girl
Guardians Of The Galaxy
Heaven Is For Real
Hector And The Search For Happiness
Horrible Bosses 2
How To Train Your Dragon 2
I, Frankenstein
If I Stay
In Secret
Inherent Vice
Into The Woods
Jack And The Cuckoo-Clock Heart
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Jersey Boys
Kill The Messenger
Legends Of Oz: Dorothy’s Return
Life Itself
Life Of Crime
Low Down
Men, Women & Children
Miss Julie
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Muppets Most Wanted
My Old Lady
Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb
No God, No Master
Obvious Child
Palo Alto
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
Penguins Of Madagascar
Planes: Fire & Rescue
Return To Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1
Rio 2
Step Up All In
Still Alice
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
The Best Of Me
The Blue Room
The Double
The Drop
The Equalizer
The Expendables 3
The Fault In Our Stars
The Gambler
The Giver
The Green Prince
The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
The Homesman
The Humbling
The Hundred-Foot Journey
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
The Imitation Game
The Legend Of Hercules
The Maze Runner
The Monuments Men
The November Man
The Purge: Anarchy
The Quiet Ones
The Raid 2
The Railway Man
The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya
The Two Faces Of January
Think Like A Man Too
This Is Where I Leave You
Transformers: Age Of Extinction
Under The Skin
Vampire Academy
Veronica Mars
We Are The Best!
When The Game Stands Tall
Winter’s Tale
X-Men: Days Of Future Past
Yves Saint Laurent



100 Days
A Five Star Life
A Million Ways To Die In The West
A Most Violent Year
A Small Section Of The World
Abuse Of Weakness
American Revolutionary: The Evolution Of Grace Lee Boggs
Antarctica: A Year On Ice
Archaeology Of A Woman
Are You Here
As Above/So Below
At Middleton
Bad Words
Begin Again
Better Living Through Chemistry
Beyond The Lights
Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain
Bicycling With Molière
Big Eyes
Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance)
Black Or White
Blue Ruin
Born To Fly: Elizabeth Streb Vs. Gravity
Bridge And Tunnel
Brush With Danger
By The Gun
Cesar Chavez
Christmas Ride
Closed Curtain
Dear White People
Devil’s Due
Dom Hemingway
Draft Day
Earth To Echo
Elsa & Fred
Fading Gigolo
Fed Up
Finding Vivian Maier
Force Majeure
Fort Bliss
Garnet’s Gold
Get On Up
Girl On A Bicycle
Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
God Help The Girl
God’s Pocket
Goodbye World
Greencard Warriors
Happy Valley
Henry & Me
Hot Guys With Guns
Human Capital
I Origins
In Fear
In The Blood
Into The Storm
Ivory Tower
Jimi: All Is By My Side
Jodorowsky’s Dune
John Wick
Kapus Kondyachi Goshta (Unending Story)
Keep On Keepin’ On
Kurmanjan Datka Queen Of The Mountains
Land Ho!
Le Week-End
Let’s Be Cops
Life Inside Out
Life Of An Actress The Musical
Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed
Love Is Strange
Magic In The Moonlight
Merchants Of Doubt
Million Dollar Arm
Minuscule – Valley Of The Lost Ants
Moms’ Night Out
Mr. Turner
Murder 101
Need For Speed
Night Moves
No Good Deed
Occupy The Farm
On The Other Side Of The Tracks
Only Lovers Left Alive
Reach Me
Red Army
Ride Along
Rob The Mob
Rocks In My Pockets
Sex Tape
Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks
Small Time
Song Of The Sea
St. Vincent
Stranger By The Lake
Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon
Sweeping Forward
Tasting Menu
That Awkward Moment
The Amazing Catfish
The Better Angels
The Book Of Life
The Boxtrolls
The Case Against 8
The Circle
The Devil’s Hand
The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Them
The Empty Hours
The Face Of Love
The Frontier
The German Doctor
The Good Lie
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Great Flood
The Great Invisible
The Guest
The Hero Of Color City
The Hornet’s Nest
The Immigrant
The Interview
The Judge
The Last Of Robin Hood
The Lego Movie
The Liberator
The Lunchbox
The Nut Job
The One I Love
The One I Wrote For You
The Other Woman
The Pirate Fairy
The Playback Singer
The Possession Of Michael King
The Remaining
The Rover
The Salt Of The Earth
The Signal
The Skeleton Twins
The Song
The Theory Of Everything
The Trip To Italy
The Way He Looks
Third Person
Top Five
Two Days, One Night
Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club
Under The Electric Sky
Walking With The Enemy
Watchers Of The Sky
We Are The Giant
Wish I Was Here
Words And Pictures
Work Weather Wife

ballot thumb 2

Instead of editorializing and trying to spin these results, we’ll just present the fruits of Rob’s monumental efforts, step back, and let each of you tease out your own interpretation. There are a lot of interesting patterns I see emerge, but I found those patterns on my own and that made the strokes and jolts of discovery uniquely my own. I wouldn’t want to try guide anyone to see the same things I see. More fun for you to find your own points for reassurance. More instructive to confront your own trepidations.

Preferential Ballot Results, Best Picture

Simulated Ballot Results, All Other Categories

ballot deadline 2

UPDATE: Just a little over 24 hours left to vote. Ballot closes Sunday, Feb 23 at 10 p.m. PT.

Now that final voting for the 2014 Academy Awards has begun, we’re ready to open the final phase of the simulated ballot for Awards Daily readers.  This year we’ve all seen how quickly the frontrunner favorites in several categories can shift.  Always on point, Rob has been ready to go for a few days, but in order to have the simulated ballot align more closely with the actual Oscar process, we’ve chosen to keep our dates in sync so the demonstration can take place in a parallel buzzosphere.

Here’s the link to the ballot menus.  Let us know if there are tech issues that need attention — and after you’ve voted, please feel welcome to share your selections in the comments.  Transparency is the whole point of these ballot tallies.  Unlike the Academy, we see no need for secrecy.

Rob has completed all the spreadsheets to show us the internal numbers of this year’s Simulated Oscar Ballot Project. I’ll keep this intro short and let comments be our guide in determining how much of this needs explaining. You can just click on the links below to bring up the individual spreadsheets in online PDF form.

You’ll notice Rob created Two variations on the redistribution process for Best Picture. We couldn’t verify exactly how PricewaterhouseCooper accountants do it, but we know it’s one of two ways: Specifically, going from Round 2 to Round 3, can there be a second wave of the 20% Surplus rule if one or two films qualify after Round One?

Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t. So Rob has shown us what happens in both options. In our simulated ballot Captain Phillips benefited when the 20% rule was applied to Round Two. We decided to show both methods of accounting to demonstrate how a very slight change in the rules can alter the math and significantly influence the outcome.


Another interesting hypothetical, after the cut.

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The raw results have been tabulated. Thanks a million to Rob Y for giving us another terrific angle on the Oscar process. Rob promises to have a detailed breakdown and spreadsheets ready to examine over the next few days.

1) 12 Years a Slave (in first place on 23% of all ballots; Qualified after Round 1)
2) Gravity (in first place on 21% of all ballots; Qualified after Round 1)
3) The Wolf of Wall Street (Qualified after Round 2)
4) Her (Qualified after Round 2)
5) American Hustle (Qualified after Round 2)
6) Inside Llewyn Davis (Qualified after Round 3)
7) Before Midnight (Qualified after Round 3)

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Just a quick reminder: The deadline to cast your vote on the Simulated Oscar Ballot is tonight at 10 p.m. PST. – Express Ballot Link.


For the 5th year in a row, to help us better understand the Academy’s voting system, we’re running a Simulated Oscar Ballot devised and constructed each season by our own accounting wizard, Rob Y. We’re well aware that AD readers represent a demographic that doesn’t match the AMPAS and many of us have different taste that most Oscar voters. Thus the purpose of this ballot is not to try to predict what the Oscars will do — Marshall Flores is developing a stats model for that. Instead, this ballot is intended to lift the veil on the process used to tabulate votes in the preferential voting system and to give us a clear sense of how the internal numbers shake out.

Here’s the link to the dropdown menus for Rob’s Simulated Oscar Ballot. I can’t improve on Rob’s instructions:

“Pretend you are an honorary member of the Academy, and you are asked to nominate films in their respective categories. Make your selections accordingly.”

If you change your mind, submit an updated nomination form. Your last submission in each branch will be used. Voting will be closed on Monday. January 13 at 10:00 PM PST.

ballot 33

Lots of surprises — on the surface.  But when you take time to delve deeper into all the internal numbers, especially when considering the demographic breakdown, you’ll discover all kinds of reasons why the results played out among AD voters exactly as they did.

Let’s all keep in mind the most valuable purpose served by Rob’s incredibly detailed efforts each year is to open a window into the inner machinery of the ballot process itself, so that we can see precisely how the preferential system operates with concrete examples. AD reader taste bears scant relation to Academy taste and we know all the reasons for that. (For example, unlike some Academy members, I doubt if we could find any AD voter who refuses to respect Quvenzhane Wallis just because her name is tricky to pronounce). The most interesting thing to me about these simulated Academy Awards is to see what goes on below the simple list of who won what. I like to look at who almost won, and I like to keep in that in mind to help remind myself that we shouldn’t blame the entire Academy for some of the rotten decisions a minority of members make. (Because make no mistake, thousands of Academy members are as embarrassed by Crash and The Blind Side as all of them should be).


UPDATE: Ballot Deadline – Tuesday Night at 11PM PST.
Rob has assembled the pages for the final stage of the Awards Daily Simulated Ballot. Vote Now! After you make your selections in each category, please answer a few questions so we’ll be able to chart the demographic breakdown by age group, gender, and region of the world.


Links to results in 10 major categories after the cut.

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Rob Y has once again performed the enormous task of organizing all 282 eligible films of 2012 into a simulated Oscar ballot so that Awards Daily readers can feel what it’s like to be a simulated Academy member.

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[UPDATE: Voting hours extended. Rob Y confirms we can keep the ballot open until Wednesday January 18, 12 midnight PST.]

You have until midnight Jan 18th to cast your votes. Here’s the original invitation outlining the appropriate attitude to approach the ballot.

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Here’s your VIP ballot for the Awards Daily simulated Oscar nominations. Our annual project to help us get a better grasp of the task Academy members face each year. Rob Y has done another bang-up job building the ballot framework. To simplify matters, for most categories you need only click your selections in a drop-down menu, choosing your candidates according to each of their respective film titles.

It gets a little trickier when voting in for the 4 acting categories, as you’ll be asked to manually type in the names of the actors who gave your favorite 20 performances. Don’t be too worried about perfect spelling so long as you come close — but be sure to click the title of the films in which your nominees starred to give Rob a clue when he sorts them all out.

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(click here to view the full 9 rounds of voting.)

Rob’s charts are so detailed and self-explanatory, there’s no need for editorializing aside from saying: Awards Daily Readers have a voice! Full results in all categories and complete demographic data after the cut.

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Rob has finished tabulating the results of the Awards Daily Simulated Oscar Ballot. We’ll have the numbers posted early Saturday morning, along with his detailed charts showing the internal breakdown of votes in each category. Here’s one set of numbers Rob ran for us that might be interesting as an overnight appeteaser. The question has been raised many times this season about how ballots cast for Best Picture will be redistributed between the top two films in the final round of counting. While our results can’t be expected to match or predict which way the Academy ballots will fall, the numbers this week seem to indicate at least one surprise misconception about voter preferences.

It’s been assumed that voters drawn to a certain type of film will lean one way or another in their secondary choices. For example, might we expect voters who like their movies traditional with an uplifting spirit to find The Fighter and The King’s Speech hold similar appeal. We might expect that. But our expectations would be incorrect, at least as applies to the nearly 2000 voters who participated in our ballot. Rob’s number show, across the board, the majority of voters who first cast their ballot for one of the “lower 8” tier movies, eventually saw that ballot fall into the stack for The Social Network.

What does it mean? A couple of straightforward interpretations, after the cut.

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Awards Daily’s master tabulator Rob has finished polishing the algorithms for this year’s 2nd Annual Simulate Oscar Ballot Experiment. Already we’ve agreed to rethink some of our original intentions to better reflect the spirit of fun we all hope to find in our ideal Oscar experience. So this year for the final round we’re tossing out all the vague and unwieldy instructions to guess what an AMPAS member might do, or to vote for nominees “we think” might win. We’ll find out what the Academy thinks and wants all too soon, right? This ballot has been created for AD Readers’ entertainment so we’re asking simply: Vote for what makes you happy. Looks like nobody’s going to give any of us exactly what we want across the board, so we’re each responsible for our own Oscargasm. Vote with your “heart” (and if your heart is somehow wired in and networked with your brain, all the better.)

Another terrific new feature Rob has added this year is a set of individual demographic questions. This info (confidential & anonymous) might provide some interesting insight into how various groups display a range of inclinations for “certain kinds of tastes”. So let’s take the nominee slate AMPAS has handed us and find the best balance. Unleash your liberated opinions and express your fondest Oscar desires. Here’s the ballot. Have at it, gang.

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