FiveThirtyEight.com stats-cruncher extraordinaire Nate Silver shifts his sights from politics to the Oscars in New York magazine. He compiled data from 30 years of Academy Awards to discover the best predictors of success, and found that other awards (SAGs, Golden Globes) carry the most weight. Genre is also key; release date and MPAA rating don’t matter. His predictions:
- Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger has 85.8% chance of success. He has swept every other award, and his untimely death clinches it.
- Supporting Actress: Taraji P. Henson, 51%. Kate Winslet’s omission from the category helps.
- Lead Actor: Mickey Rourke, 71.1%. He would have been neck-and-neck with Penn, whose 2004 win gives Oscar-less Rourke the edge.
- Lead Actress: Kate Winslet, 67.6%. She’s done very well in awards thus far—and she's due at 6 nods, zero wins.
- Best Director: Danny Boyle, 99.7%. The man behind Slumdog has taken all the major prizes.
- Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire, 99%. It’s won all the key awards: Directors Guild, Golden Globe, and Bafta.