In addition to congratulating last night’s 2013 Oscar winners, we’d also like to take a moment to congratulate ourselves for an outstanding performance in the role of Oscar prognosticator: We got eight out of nine Oscar-winner predictions correct – which is better than Nate Silver, who correctly predicted four out of six categories, missing on his Best Director and Best Supporting Actor forecasts.
Among the major categories, we also slightly edged out Harvard whiz kid Ben Zauzmer, who graciously explained his prediction model to us last week. But overall, Zauzmer got 17 out of 21 predictions correct, which is pretty impressive. We only bothered to predict nine categories, and likely would not have performed very well if we had tried to predict the art and technical awards, so we can’t gloat all that much. (Maybe just a little.)
To recap: We correctly predicted “Argo” for the Best Picture win, Ang Lee for Best Director, Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor, Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress, Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor, Anne Hathaway (of course) for Best Supporting Actress, “Argo” for Best Adapted Screenplay and “Searching for Sugar Man” for Best Documentary.
We incorrectly predicted that Mark Boal would win Best Original Screenplay for penning “Zero Dark Thirty.” We didn’t say we liked the idea, just that we thought it would probably go that way, based on … I’m not entirely sure what anymore. Boal won the Writers Guild award, and perhaps I thought the Academy would throw “Zero Dark Thirty” a bone here, as it was unlikely to win anything else. (Indeed, Kathryn Bigelow’s CIA/torture/Osama bin Laden-capture drama took home almost Zero awards – tying with “Skyfall” for Best Sound Editing.)
Our prediction list included the likeliest challenger to the predicted winner, and in the Original Screenplay category, said challenger was Quentin Tarantino’s screenplay for “Django Unchained.” In our “should win” picks, we chose Tarantino, and Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola’s “Moonrise Kingdom” – which we knew was not going to happen. In any event, we were pleased to be wrong about our “Zero Dark Thirty” prediction: “Django Unchained” was among our very favorite, if not the favorite, film of 2012, and Tarantino’s acceptance speech was one of the best moments of the night.
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Speaking of “Django,” our Waltz prediction is what set our Oscar forecast apart from several others. The Best Supporting Actor race was presumably the tightest among all of them, though the Waltz win was a tiny bit of an upset over Tommy Lee Jones, who topped many prediction lists in this category. We’re guessing Waltz didn’t win by a longshot, and admit that we went back and forth a few times between the two actors, but eventually went with our gut (there may have been a little wishful thinking involved).
We also went back and forth between Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg for Best Director – that, too, was a really tough call to make, and one that I didn’t feel super confident about, until “Life of Pi” started picking up statue after statue in other categories, like Cinematography and Best Original Score. While we feel a bit bad for Spielberg, who hasn’t gotten a ton of recognition for directing a really great film, we were pulling for Lee in more ways than one.
In recent years, Oscar forecasters have sometimes played down the role of the Golden Globes in predicting the Academy Award winners, but this year, there was a lot of overlap – including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Score, Best Animated Feature and Best Foreign Film. In areas where the Golden Globe and Oscar categories are not identical, the 2013 Golden Globe wins still corresponded somewhat to Oscar wins: Jennifer Lawrence won the Best Actress in a musical or comedy, while the Best Actress in a drama trophy went to Jessica Chastain. Tarantino won the Best Screenplay category, which lumps together writers of both original and adapted screenplays.
While we didn’t include this in any of our published forecasting, we also predicted that Seth MacFarlane would be a really crappy Oscar host – and we were right about that, too.