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The 'Moneyball' of Oscar Prognostication? Harvard Student Zauzmer Uses Math To Predict The Winners

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire February 25, 2012 at 3:52PM

Harvard University student Ben Zauzmer has gone all "Moneyball" on the Oscars: Using a "rigorous mathematical analysis," Zauzmer has forecasted all of the Oscar categories on his website.
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Harvard University student Ben Zauzmer has gone all "Moneyball" on the Oscars: Using a "rigorous mathematical analysis," Zauzmer has forecasted all of the Oscar categories on his website.

"I decided to create Oscar Forecast to see how well numbers could predict the Academy Awards," Zauzmer told Indiewire. "Certainly, as with human endeavor, data can only come so close, so it will be interesting to see how many of these predictions come true."

The calculations factored in a combination of previous Oscar results, other awards shows, current nominations, critic scores, and guild awards. All of these numbers -- "over 5,000 data points," Zauzmer explained -- were plugged into a "bit of matrix algebra." Here's a look at how best picture and best director panned out as a result:

Best Picture
Winner: The Artist (18%)
The Descendants (14%)
Midnight in Paris (14%)
Hugo (13%)
Moneyball (10%)
The Help (9%)
The Tree of Life (9%)
War Horse (8%)
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (5%)

Best Director
Winner: Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist (28%)
Martin Scorsese – Hugo (21%)
Alexander Payne – The Descendants (19%)
Woody Allen – Midnight in Paris (19%)
Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life (13%)

Including these two, the predictions suggest a total of six Oscars for "The Artist," which indeed sounds about right. Check out all of his predictions here.

This article is related to: Academy Awards







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