Thursday, January 25, 2007

Time Travelin' Oscar Prediction Giggle

Readers who don't get into statistics or prediction percentages might want to walk politely on by until this post is over.

I'm sure other oscar obsessives have been discussing their statistics since Tuesday morning's revelations. For the record I got 80% in the top eight categories, 69% if you include the techs. And if you include everything (i.e. the categories only the true crazies like myself predict, such as animated short) it drops to 67%. But that's not what I'm hear to discuss.

Remember how each year I do my "Year in Advance 'April Fools' Predictions" which is quickly followed by all that "that could never happen!" mail/comments from you. Turns out you're right. But don't get too snippy about it because you don't know any better! Here were my top ten Oscar choices for BP way back last April 1st to the left. Yours to the right --taken from group polling held that first week of April last year.


You foresaw another Eastwood (wrong film) and Scorsese smackdown coming a mile away. And you probably got Dreamgirls' placement just right. How about that? I correctly foresaw that Flags would falter (I was, I believe, the only year-round Oscar loudmouth to never predict it) and I sensed that The Prestige and Children of Men would figure in somehow but fall short of the BP shortlist. Since they're both "genre" pictures, I got flack for it at the time. Still, of the fourteen pictures either you or I had some faith in, only one of them ended up in the Best Picture field.

Despite a lower in the top categories in this annual fools game of predicting while some of the movie are still in production, the tech predictions saved me and I still got a 27% success ratio of prediction to nominations a whole year in advance. Not so shabby. I realize that sounds low but it ain't. Just try it on April 1st and tuck that list in a drawer until next January: so many films get delayed, so many arrive out of nowhere, big dogs fall and little dogs rise. Etcetera. I realize that posting such embarassments as the picture above is a quick way to damage my own credibility as a prognosticator but I can assure you that other people aren't any better at it (the year in advance part). And those saying "I knew a year ago!" don't have websites to prove they did. All of this is a long way of saying: I still think it's fun, this prediction game but if you don't have a sense of humor about your own blindspots, foibles and random successes, you shouldn't come anywhere near the keyboard until early November when a lot of the films have been widely seen and the field is starting to clear and its much harder to look like a fool

So what crazy mistakes and haphazard successes will I make predicting the February 2008 Oscars? What will be the next Little Children that looks strong but never really takes off? What will be the next Children of Men that overcomes its genre to be (partially) embraced? We won't know until January 2008 but my guesswork will be up on April 1st as per usual.

Until then, we return to the here and now.

12 comments:

Alanna said...

Good show, Nathaniel. When is Jesse James coming out, anyway?

Ali said...

I marvel to recall how you correctly foresaw Memoirs of a Geisha crashing months and months in advance, even though it looked like a sure bet to so many. Ditto for foreseeing Brokeback's success, which many felt would be overlooked for obvious reasons (I guess they were right in some sense though... but let's not go back there.)

27% is fracking awesome. Especially impressive IMO is seeing the Whitaker nod so early (and also correctly inferring that category fraud would result with McAvoy.)

Ali said...

I also love the fact that you are open about your successes and failures both in this regard, not smugly gloating like some others round these parts (not naming names.)

Bruno Packer said...

"I also love the fact that you are open about your successes and failures both in this regard"

True that! It takes courage and humility to do that. That's why I really enjoy your site and your blog.

Unlike other guys in the business who are NEVER, NEVER, EVER wrong. (Hint: D. Pola....)

NATHANIEL R said...

i've heard spring for jesse james but these things fluctuate a lot. i'm still excited for it but it seems like maybe they don't have faith in it working for audiences/oscar.

the thing i probably most regret from that time a year ago with these predix is going for the good shepherd. The other mistakes i can live with because i was trying really hard to prophesy --but I was SO doubtful and yet i just put it in there... perhaps because i was so doubtful on everything else too? Not sure. But i had such huge doubts and no reason to believe that DeNiro would become a new Eastwood with the academy. Shoulda stuck to my hunches that that would be a no go with Oscar (for the most part)

anyway live and learn to make silly predictions again the next year.

16 year old blogger said...

Jesse James is coming out in Fall/Winter of Dec. 2007...just in time for Oscar Season...

Anonymous said...

Excellent use of Word I must say. ;)

At the end of the day, I was pretty surprised that you didn't put The Departed in your April Fool's predictions. I think we're entering a time where Scorsese's films will always be nominated for an Oscar and he will consistently lose, which means I will be throwing a lot of things at my television screen and drinking a lot.

I enjoyed Memoirs of a Geisha for the trash and camp appeal of it all. It was fun for me to watch and a lot of people agreed, maybe that's why I enjoyed Notes on a Scandal too? Gong Li was delicious in that role.

Maybe Brad Pitt, Best Actor - Jesse James? They do like their westerns, otherwise John Wayne would be rolling in his grave ::rolls eyes::

Anonymous said...

I sense GHOSTRIDER will be the film of the year. ;)

NATHANIEL R said...

heh heh

Kamikaze Camel said...

Remember when there was talk that all three "Good" films could be nominated?

All up they got two nominations combined.

adam k. said...

Yeah, and even those were lucky.

adam k. said...

PS that picture makes me hungry for a Clive/Kate Winslet pairing. HOT