Sunday, February 26, 2017

Oscar Winner Predictions 2016

Well, after one of my best years ever for predicting the nominations, I'm less confident about my predictions for the winners. It seems there a few more close races than usual, and even the categories that seem like locks are not as tightly locked as you would expect. So the possibility for upsets is great this year, I think. That said, I've pretty much gone with the favourites in each category, even if they're not the favourite by much.

So, here are my predictions on who will take home each award. We'll know soon enough if I've played it too safe.


  1. Well Matt, we have been close on our picks before. This time we match 100%. I'm not picking any short subject categories. I think we are most vulnerable with Actor and Original Screenplay. I must admit I'm pulling for Manchester by the Sea to win these two awards.

    It seems that Denzel Washington has taken the lead in the Best Actor race most likely due to his SAG win. I'm not sure it makes it a slam dunk. For fun, I took a look at the history of the Best Supporting Actress winners. Assuming that Viola Davis has this one sewn up, it would become the 32nd time the Best Supporting Actress winner has been paired with a Best Actor nomination for her film. Only 7 times has the actor won the Oscar. Of these 7, two have had similar story lines - the actor and supporting actress had a romantic relationship and the supporting actress could or should have been nominated in the lead actress category: On the Waterfront: Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint and Kramer vs. Kramer: Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep. However, there were 6 occasions under these circumstances, where the actor did not win Best Actor. Of these 6, the closest match would be Tootsie: Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Lange and A Beautiful Mind: Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly. Ironically, it was Denzel Washington that beat out the favorite Crowe in 2002. Statistical mumbo jumbo i realize, but I don't think there will be many surprises this year.

    So we have La La Land winning 9 Oscars. The chances of it tying or exceeding the three 11 Oscar winners are quite slim, I think. Enjoy the show, and if you have time to get back to your blog, I'll do my best to play along.

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  3. After a horrible start, we settled down with our picks and were in pretty good shape until the craziness at the end. What made it more surreal, was that I fully anticipated La La Land to take Best Picture, even though it didn't win as many categories as expected.

    So, putting aside the card announcement fiasco, how did Moonlight manage to win Best Picture? I've read most theories, and have to agree that they most benefited from the preferential ballot system. Like Spotlight before it, Moonlight was a consensus choice rather than a passionate love it/hate it type film. The preferential ballot system was tweaked in 2013. The five Best Pictures under this latest rendition of the ballot paired with Best Director only one time (Birdman/Inarritu) and only one time with Best Editing (Argo). However it paired every time, 5 for 5 with Best Screenplay (three adapted and two original). This is a trend that bears consideration. It should be noted that with 10 nominees and 2 awards, its a more daunting task. Even this year, many picked La La Land for Original Screenplay as part of a big sweep. Help from the WGA isn't always useful since their strict eligibility rules often preclude viable contenders.

    I'm not sure that I favor the preferential ballot system to the traditional plurality vote. It opens the door to voting against a close contender as well as for a favorite.

    All in all, I was pleased with the choices. I would have liked to have seen Hell or High Water pick up a prize and my wife would have liked Lion to do the same. Oh, I did get to see 20th Century Women. I did see you for a second. Sorry it wasn't more. Liked the movie.

    1. Hey Mike,

      Yes, it looked a little grim for our predictions after the first few awards were announced. Many of the favorites were not taking home their expected prizes. But there were hardly any surprises towards the end of the night (apart from the last one, of course) so in the end, 17 out of 24 is pretty respectable. Not the best showing I've ever had, but slightly above average.

      I don't mind the preferential voting system. Perhaps it's just because I'm familiar with it, since it's used for Australian parliamentary elections. And at the risk of being too political, I hazard to say that, after recent events, the US elections might benefit from preferential voting too. But I digress. I think you're right that this system of voting results in consensus choices, but I suppose I don't see that necessarily as a negative thing. In fact, I think that's the point. Rather than awarding the prize to a film that is only loved by a portion of the voters and despised by the rest, we get to see a more general idea of which film has more overall respect across the board. I see your point, though, about the potential for some voters to put a close contender at the bottom of their list to give their number one choice a better chance, but in a way, if they're that against the other film from winning, then that's a legitimate opinion that should be considered.

      With all that said, it's still a subjective exercise, no matter how you roll the dice, so I wouldn't even say I prefer preferential over plurality voting. They're both legitimate ways to crown a winner - just different uses of the Academy's subjectivity. Maybe they should do it both ways and we could potentially have two winners every year! Then when a film won via both methods, it would truly be considered a masterpiece. :-)

    2. Actually, now that I think about it, preferential voting doesn't actually allow you to vote against a close contender because if any of your preferences come into play then that means your number one choice is already out of the running. In other words, voters who voted Moonlight as number 1 had their first votes counted, so even if they had La La Land as number 9, it wouldn't have made a difference. And even if La La Land had a plurality, Moonlight still got more preferential votes from people who voted for the other 7 films. To put it more simply, Moonlight was rated higher than La La Land on more ballots than La La Land was rated higher than Moonlight.

  4. If you want to know what expression I had on my face after reading your preferential ballot explanation, just picture Warren Beatty looking at the Emma Stone, Best Actress card:) Just kidding - I see where you are coming from. I do think it is easier on the voters to just list one film as the best, rather than listing their top 5 in order of preference. I've seen all nine pictures and have a hard time ranking some of them.