13 January 2016

87th Academy Awards Predictions: What a Difference a Year Makes

I probably should've done this last year on January 15 or 16, but I didn't, so whatever (I guess).  Nevertheless, it's still interesting to take a look at how my year-out predictions compared with actual nominations.  I've been doing early predictions for years but the 87th Academy Awards was the fist time I ever publicized the futility that is trying to determine what movies will land and lead to glory and which will waft into the ether, a "could've been a contender."

As has been noted before, I'm probably not the best prognosticator when it comes to... well, most anything, I suppose.  But with the Oscars, especially, I tend to do terribly.  And even though I only missed two out of twenty-four categories on Oscar night (Score and Animated Feature), I consider that a fluke, the exception to the rule.  Then again, perhaps I think I'm terrible at making these predictions because I'm factoring in all my various prognostications:  there's the year-out, the pre-nominations, and pre-awards predictions I'm sorting through when most folks are probably just sticking with picking winners.  But, you know, when you're in, you're in -- and I'm definitely in with Oscar history and stats and info and the like.

Anyhow, let's take a look at how my predictions for the 87th Oscars panned out, from the initial March 2014 "seeing what's to come" predictions to the final pick of the winners in late February 2015.

Here's the post covering my year-out predictions for the 87th Oscars.  And here are the nominees for the 87th Oscars.

Right off the bat, you can see that I only match one Best Picture nominee.  One.  And that was out of eight (to a possible ten).  To be fair, some of the eventual nominees weren't locked in as having 2014 releases -- but that's the risk you have in making predictions.  What I find most funny about the one Best Picture I did get right, it was Whiplash of all possibilities.  Friggin' Whiplash.  I mean, I picked three of Whiplash's eventual five nominations (I didn't peg it for Editing or -- gulp -- Supporting Actor winner J.K. Simmons).  Honestly, I think I only knew about it at the time because a filmmaker I know told me it was the best film he saw while at Sundance.

Film-wise, I did the best predicting nominations for Interstellar.  I had it for six, including all five it ended up getting nominated for; I thought, being a Chris Nolan film, a nomination for Cinematography would be a given.  As for category, I nailed three nominees in Original Screenplay (Foxcather, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Nightcrawler).  That right there impresses me beyond anything else.

You know, I could go through this category by category, film by film, but that would be tedious (for you and for me), so I guess here are the takeaways:

1) I matched about 21.5% of my March 2014 predictions with the January 2015 nominations.  And that's not including me miscategorizing Steve Carell, Meryl Streep, and Rosamund Pike; not that those three would've catapulted me to expert level with Oscar prognosticating.

2) The movies you think are going to go over well still have a lot to overcome in order to appeal to the Academy.  For the longest time, Unbroken looked like the film to beat.  It had a great story, an interesting cast, a script by the Coen brothers, and an actor-turned-director who made a compelling if flawed first film.  Then it was released and something was just... missing.  Hell, even Gone Girl looked strong before and after its release.  Then something happened during December and early January and instead of (what I think should've been) 7 or 8 nominations it got one.  The Academy is its own thing and question it will just drive you mad.

3) Only do this kind of predicting if you don't mind being embarrassed and a fool.  I've never claimed to be a great prognosticator (never have, never will), and getting 22 of 24 winners correctly last year doesn't make a difference to me since previous years I've only gotten 14 or 15 right.  I take last year as the exception, a fluke.  It's nothing to brag about and tout.  I'd rather get more year-out nominations right than winners since it's more of a challenge.

All right.  I've already got my 89th Oscar predictions figured out, maybe a bit of tweaking here and there, so those'll be up in time.  Probably during the lull between Oscar nominations on January 14 and the ceremony on February 28.  But since that's the middle of the current race, maybe I'll wait until after the awards are handed out, as I've done before.

Well, whatever happens, I'm working on some other columns and items to keep me blogging more regularly.  Probably not every day, but at least two or three times a week.  Plus, I've got the podcast project I'm putting together, so that'll come into play somewhere.

Anyhow, thanks for sticking along with me, I appreciate it.  I am trying to be a better blog host, so just give me a chance and we'll have some fun.

At least a little fun.

Well, we'll see fun somewhere, maybe not here, but we'll find it.

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