Most people say perfectly predicting the Academy Awards is impossible. To those people I ask, “Who doesn’t want to achieve the impossible?”
In order to attempt just that I decided to make an aggregation model compiling the predictions of major news outlets, award experts, Oscar prediction statistical models, and betting markets. I weighted the various predictions based on how well they predicted past Academy Awards results. I also attempted to give adequate weight and representation to models that gave multiple films a chance of nabbing any given prize. So without further ado here are our predictions and who we think you should vote for if you want your predictions to be better than your friend’s.
La La Land 84.02% chance
If La La Land doesn’t win Best Picture I will be disappointed and shocked. I believe it is the most deserving film, despite many people saying Moonlight deserves the prize. However, one source I examined gave Moonlight the edge over it. It appears La La Land will take the big prize along with a bunch of the little ones.
Best Actor In a Leading Role
Casey Affleck-Manchester by the Sea 51.85% chance
I expect this category will be the decider in many Oscar prediction competitions across the country. Denzel Washington comes in with a close second and a 41% chance of winning. That is basically a coin flip between Casey, the newcomer, and Denzel, the veteran with two oscars on the shelves at home.
Best Actress In a Leading Role
Emma Stone-La La Land 81.48% chance
I don’t think Emma Stone deserves this award, and I loved her in La La Land. That being said she is very likely to win. If this turns out to be one of the night’s “shockers” Natalie Portman (11% chance) will walk away with the prize for her extraordinary performance in Jackie, winning an elusive second career Oscar.
Best Actor In a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali-Moonlight 84.44% chance
Mahershela Ali will win this category, winning one of the only two Oscars Moonlight will walk away with Sunday night. He definitely deserves the prize, Mr. Ali is an excellent actor and I look forward to seeing him in more films as a result of the name recognition this award will give him.
Best Actress In a Supporting Role
Viola Davis-Fences 95.56% chance
Viola Davis will win, our model gives her a 96% chance of winning which is higher than anyone has in any other category. The only reason she doesn’t have 100% chance of winning is because some models give either Michelle Williams or Naomie Harris an unlikely darkhorse chance of winning.
Animated Feature Film
Zootopia 75% chance
I don’t think enough people saw Kubo and that is why it will lose to the solid but inferior Zootopia. Even though we ran an excellent piece about why it shouldn’t. Speaking of Zootopia, have you seen the prequel TV show “Zoo”?
La La Land-Linus Sandgren 80.56% chance
Either the opening scene or the finale scene of La La Land could have competed for this award on their own and either one could have won. Perhaps most amazing is the fact that the rest of La La Land doesn’t take away from those exceptional book ends.
Jackie- Madeline Fontaine 60.00% chance
This is another category that is a little more difficult to call. Every statistical model gives Jackie the slight edge, whereas many so called experts and media outlets seem to think La La Land will edge it out. The colorful costumes in La La Land added to the film, but I’d argue not in a big enough way; I expect the academy will feel the same. Congratulations Jackie.
La La Land-Damien Chazelle 86.54% chance
Moonlight’s director Barry Jenkins will definitely get some votes for masterfully copying the style of the 2015 academy awards favorite Boyhood and perhaps for doing it better. But the emotion Damien Chazelle is able to get his audiences to feel in La La Land will assuredly win the more experienced director this award.
O.J.: Made in America-Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow 81.58% chance
Nothing held a candle to the trail in 1995 and no documentary in recent memory holds a candle to this ESPN masterpiece.
Documentary Short Subject
The White Helmets-Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara 38.71% chance
This race is nearly a three way tie between Joe’s Violin, Extremis, and The White Helmets and in a category our model gives a low confidence score to the prediction. The White Helmets leads in our model, but don’t be surprised if you lose to a friend that chose Extremis, the favorite among gamblers, or Joe’s Violin, the favorite among experts.
La La Land-Tom Cross 76.47% chance
Have you ever gotten a papercut while reading? Or, had an ad start playing in the middle of an engrossing YouTube video? They kind of ruin those experiences don’t they? Bad Editing can feel the same whereas great editing, like in La La Land, brings you into the film so you can feel along with the characters.
Foreign Language Film
The Salesman-Iran; Directed by Asghar Farhadi 44.12% chance
The Salesman will most likely win (I don’t think our aggregation model gives it enough credit), but not because of the film but because of the politics surrounding it. This really stinks for Toni Erdmann and A Man Called Ove because in a normal year both would have stood a good chance of winning.
Makeup and Hairstyling
Star Trek Beyond-Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo 64.71% chance
People don’t like big box office movies to win oscars, especially not space operas. But nothing else had outstanding Makeup and Hair this year. I also think it is very cool that a foreign film was nominated in this category, way to go Ove!
La La Land-Justin Hurwitz 91.43% chance
Since La La Land is a musical it would be weird if it lost this category. Oddly enough La La Land’s music wasn’t all that memorable to me, which makes me almost understand why the betting markets gave Moonlight about a 10% chance of winning this award, almost.
“City of Stars” from La La Land 84.21% chance
Audition is the best song that was nominated, but it’s sister song City of Stars is nearly as deserving and will have to win in it’s place. Sorry all of you Moana fans, although this is the flim’s best chance at an Oscar, it won’t be winning.
La La Land-David Wasco (PD); Sandy Reynolds-Wasco (SD) 72.73% chance
I’m almost getting tired of talking about how deserving La La Land is. La La Land deserves this award, largely because of its masterful use of color and motion to guide the audience through the film and not letting them get lost during the emotional journey. An impressive feat indeed.
Piper-Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer 77.42% chance
Piper the bird is so adorable you want to watch this little film on loop. If you haven’t seen it find it and watch it today!
Short Film-Live Action
Ennemis Intérieurs-Sélim Azzazi 51.61% chance
Ennemis Interieurs will probably win this award. None of its competition has the support of this short film. Though it is worth noting that this is the only category that our aggregation gives every nominated film at least some chance of winning.
Hacksaw Ridge-Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright 60.61% chance
Kevin, more on him later, may not lock in the win but his cohorts in Hacksaw Ridge’s Sound Editing team probably will. La La Land doesn’t deserve the upset some experts are predicting, so here’s to Hacksaw Ridge.
La La Land-Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee, and Steve A. Morrow 69.70% chance
Kevin O’Connell has been nominated for 21 Oscars and has yet to win, so I want him to win. This may be the only category where La La Land will probably win that I am not on board with. Kevin’s 15% chance is is a far cry from the La La team’s chances.
The Jungle Book-Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, and Dan Lemmon 87.88% chance
The test run for the up and coming “live action” Lion King will win the visual effects award. It is probably good that geobiological accuracy isn’t important to this award though. I mean monkeys with prehensile tails in India? Are you kidding me Disney?
Moonlight-Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney (Story) 82.35% chance
“Moonlight’s Oscar” is how this category will be remembered. While the Best Supporting Actor Award will be accredited to Mahershela, this will be considered the win that represents how slighted many people think Moonlight was by La La Land. Interestingly, it isn’t competing against La La Land in this category.
Manchester by the Sea-Kenneth Lonergan 57.14% chance
Manchester by the Sea will most likely win here, though don’t be surprised if La La Land upsets and acts as a tiebreaker among you and your friends. If it wins this category I predict it will tie the record for most Oscars for a single film with 11.
Are we right? How do you think our model did? Join our competition here and show us how our model got it wrong.