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Monday, February 15, 2016

Win your Oscars pool: 8 ways to science the sh*t out of your picks.

Best bets for Oscar Academy Award Best Picture Oscars
My gut tells me that Oscar voters are more likely to pick prestige films such as Spotlight and The Revenant across the board, but history tells me otherwise. To quote Matt Damon’s character from The Martian, let’s “science the sh*t out of” this year’s Oscar nominations — so that you can win your Oscars pool.

1. Win the Best Director category

Go with whoever won the Director’s Guild of America award. Those winners have matched 61 times in the past 68 years. 

2. Win the Best Sound Editing category

No need to vote for the prestige film here. The loudest movie takes Best Sound Editing, period. Speed, Pearl Harbor and Bourne Ultimatum have all won Oscars, for real. If there is a war movie, pick it.

3. Win the Visual Effects category
We can narrow this group to two. Historically, a Best Visual Effects nominee that also has a Best Picture nomination will always win. Good news for The Revenant. For eight of the past 12 VES Awards, the winner for Outstanding VFX has gone on to win the Oscar. Good news for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

4. Win the Best Costume category 
True to life period movies (versus creative or modern ones) have won Best Costume for 20 of the past 24 years. Exceptions were Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Dracula, Alice in Wonderland and last year’s The Grand Budapest Hotel.

5. Win the show’s-running-time tiebreaker.
In 2002, the show ran four hours and 23 minutes. Whew! But more recently, the show has trended consistently shorter. Here are the timings on the past seven years:

2009: 3 hours, 30 minutes
2010: 3 hours, 37 minutes
2011: 3 hours, 15 minutes
2012: 3 hours, 14 minutes
2013: 3 hours, 35 minutes
2014: 3 hours, 30 minutes 

2015: 3 hours, 43 minutes

6. Win Best Documentary and Best Short Subject
Beginning just two years ago, ALL members of the Academy (not just category peers) can pick the winners of: Best Documentary Feature, Best Animated Short Subject and Best Live Action Short Subject.

That means everyone from actors to musicians will have a say instead of just documentarians, so dumb it down a bit when making your picks.

7. Win the Best Actor/Actress and Best Supporting Actor/Supporting Actress categories

The SAG voters are all actors and are the largest block of voters for the Academy Award. Choose the SAG winners and you’re likely to win.

In the past ten years:
100% of the SAG winners also took home the Oscar for Best Actor
80% of the SAG winners also took home the Oscar for Best Actress 
100% of the SAG winners also took home the Oscar for Best Suppporting Actor
80% of the SAG winners also took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress 

An interesting note: Kate Winslet is the cause of two of those four misses above and this year she is competing behind frontrunner Alicia Vikander for Best Supporting Actress.

8. Win the Best Picture category 

Most years, you can look to three awards to determine Best Picture: The PGA awards went for The Big Short, the Screen Actors Guild went for Spotlight and the Directors Guild went for The Revenant. So that old trick doesn’t help.

Let’s look at what didn’t happen. In the last 15 years, no Best Picture winner has missed an ACE nomination. Bad news for Spotlight.

In the past 50 years, only Titanic has won best picture without a screenplay nomination. Bad news for The Revenant.

For the last eight years, the Producers Guild’s choice for Best Picture went on to claim the top prize at the Oscars. There are only three exceptions since the PGA Awards were started a quarter-century ago: Brokeback Mountain, Saving Private Ryan and Apollo 13. Good news for The Big Short.

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