New data reveals formula to predict Oscar winners up to two years in advance

Success… La La Land’s awards trawl could be predicted – Credit: Lionsgate
Success… La La Land’s awards trawl could be predicted – Credit: Lionsgate

Biopics, moments of historical significance, triumph over adversity… there are certain subjects which will always do well at the Oscars.

But a new study claims that there’s a more accurate way of predicting Academy glory, and it can be executed when a movie is merely in the production stages.

Posted on the Filmnomics website (via Screen International), and boldly called ‘The Secret Formula Predicting Oscar Gold 2 Years In Advance’, the complex system combines the scores movies receive using two industry tools; Script Score, which rates film scripts, and the movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

A data science team from movie production website Slated, which devised the Script Score system, crunched the numbers from hundreds of films, finding that the higher the Script Score rating, as decided by independent scriptwriting experts, the more likely a movie is to receive a high score on Rotten Tomatoes.

(Credit: Universal)
(Credit: Universal)

The correlation between the two figures then appears to increase the likelihood of an Oscar nomination, and when the return on investment for a studio is factored in, a pretty accurate formula starts to appear.

For example, a Script Score of 85 out of 100 found that an Oscar nomination was 60% more likely, and when coupled with the reviews data from Rotten Tomatoes, this year’s frontrunners could be predicted.

All this year’s big nominees – ‘La La Land’, ‘Manchester By The Sea’, ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Arrival’ – scored highly in both areas.

(Credit: The Weinstein Company)
(Credit: The Weinstein Company)

And past winners like ‘The King’s Speech’, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, ‘The Hurt Locker’ and ‘The Artist’ did too.

The report concludes: “So many of these unexpected success stories have already been anointed long before the Golden Globes and various critics circles cemented their statuette credentials.

“Thanks to the wonders of data science, anyone can now draw a predictive line from how projects are measured at script stage all the way to how reviewers will respond upon first viewing those finished films and their subsequent chances of both awards recognition and commercial success.”

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