Is this algorithm the answer to successfully predicting the Oscars?


A Harvard maths graduate has revealed the algorithm that can be used to predict some of the biggest Oscars categories.

Ben Zauzmer successfully predicted 20 Oscar winners last night, and has been doing so for the last seven years – using a number of factors to calculate a nominee’s chance of winning in percentage form.

Among the factors in his predictions are betting odds, the scores of critics and the performance of the films in other ceremonies preceding the Oscars.

But while he was supremely confident in some categories (offering Frances McDormand a 75 percent chance of victory), others weren’t so clear cut.

When it came down to Best Picture, Zauzmer correctly predicted a victory for The Shape of Water, but only provided it with a slim five percent over Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

“I was nervous right until they opened the envelope”, he told The Telegraph.

Describing the algorithm, he explained : “In every Oscar category, I gather data on every nominee: which other categories the film is nominated in, how the film did at other awards shows – such as the BAFTAs – and so on.

“Then, I use statistics to weight these predictors based on how well they’ve predicted that Oscar category in prior years. Finally, I apply those weights to this year’s nominees to get the chance each contender wins in every race.”