Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: By the Numbers

Sunday, February 22, 2009

By the Numbers

Sunday is Oscar night, and the world waits with bated breath for the winners. So far, I've just seen two of the movies up for the top awards, so while I may have an opinion about who I'd like to see win what, I can't say that it's an informed opinion.

Nate Silver may or may not have an informed opinion of who he prefers to win, but like always, he's got his eye on the numbers. And he shares those numbers with New York magazine. Although he talks a bit about the numbers, he doesn't explain precisely how he worked them out, but he claims that Slumdog Millionaire is a virtual lock for Best Picture, and its director, Danny Boyle, is even a more certain winner. The odds for Slumdog are 99 percent, with the other 1 percent going to Milk. In terms of director, Boyle's got a 99.7 percent likelihood, with Milk's Gus Van Sant and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button's David Fincher coming in at 0.1 percent each.

The acting categories are closer--except for Best Actress, every nominee scores some amount of likelihood of a win. Silver picks Kate Winslet 67.6 percent for The Reader over Meryl Streep in Doubt at 32.4. Mickey Rourke's performance in The Wrestler is predicted to win him Best Actor with a 71.1 percent chance. Heath Ledger has an 85.8 lock on Best Supporting Actor. The biggest surprise is Best Supporting Actress: Taraji P. Henson from Benjamin Button at 51.0 percent. She comes over Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona at 24.6 percent and the three remaining nominees with smaller pieces of the pie. To get a hint at why, take a look at the whole piece.


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