American businessman Anthony Goldbloom once declared that ‘big data is mostly about taking numbers and using those numbers to make predictions about the future. The bigger the data set you have, the more accurate the predictions about the future will be.’ This is the whole concept behind “the law of large numbers,” a philosophy I wholeheartedly subscribe to. I especially advocate the use of trend analysis – most notably recent movement in data – when it comes to large voting bodies. What has happened in the past gives us insight into what will happen in the future, and so on.
Anyone who has followed my work in previous years knows that I lean heavily on statistics to form logical predictions. It has worked out well for me over time. When predicting something as erratic and fickle as the Oscars, there must also be some percentage of gut intuition applied to the process. On any given year I’d say I use three parts data analytics/one part instinct.
This year, however, is unlike any we have ever seen in the Oscar game. While it might feel like we say such things often, there is no denying the stupefying circumstances surrounding the 2020/2021 awards season. It was a tumultuous year politically and racially; many of us have been sequestered from loved ones during a global pandemic; we added a crazy two months to the awards calendar this year (the Oscars don’t take place until April 25). Add in a variety of twists and turns to Oscar’s precursor awards (such as BAFTA’s unique approach to their Directing and Acting nominations) and a restructured, more inclusive Academy, and it might be a year to inverse the Oscar prediction recipe I have long used to cook with.
This year, I fear it’s going to have to be three parts gut instinct/one part data analytics.
One thing is certain: there will be many mistakes, and hindsight will be the paradoxical bastard that it oftentimes is. But if it were easy, where would the adventure be?
Below you will find my final predictions for Best Picture. You can find my final Oscar Nomination predictions in all 23 categories on my Good As Gold page.
- The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)
- Nomadland (Searchlight)
- Minari (A24)
- Mank (Netflix)
- Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
- Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
- Sound of Metal (Amazon)
- One Night in Miami… (Amazon)
If there are nine nominees, throw in Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Brothers). My one alternate beyond that would be News of the World (Universal).