Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Oscar picks - now more scientific than ever!

Every year at Oscar season, I love to try to predict the winners. Every year, I try to correctly balance all the variables for each film — did audiences like it? did critics like it? did I like it? — and then pick my favorites for each prize. But every year, I fall a little short — there are always many movies I haven't seen, so I can't weigh in completely, and besides, it's hard to choose between what you want to win, and what you think will win.

This year is different. For the first time in my 31 years, this time I've seen all 10 best-picture nominees, a fact that makes me a little proud and a little embarrassed. But whether it's a sign that I'm on top of the popular culture, or a sign that I need some new hobbies and a life, the fact that I've seen them all helps improve my picks a little. Also helping is that this year, I have a foolproof* method: math.

*Note: May not actually be foolproof. Probably isn't foolproof.

After every movie I watched this year, I went to Rotten Tomatoes and gave it a personal rating out of five stars. RT stores that info, so I can go back and remember my exact impression of each movie after seeing it. It also gives a percentage average for how critics liked each movie, and how audiences liked it. My formula is simple: I convert my star rating to a percentage and then come up with the average overall score for each movie. (You'll see what I mean, below.) I like this formula because it gives equal weight to my own rating, critics' rating, and audience ratings. Since I'm just one person, my personal opinion carries a lot more weight in this formula than the hundreds of critics and thousands of audience members, whose opinions are all diluted by each other's. Also, since I'm working off of star ratings, my rating is much more volatile — the difference between 4 stars and 3.5 stars is 10%. So while my pick probably won't be the ultimate winner, it maintains a personal flavor while still factoring in what critics thought and what audiences thought.

OK, here's the breakdown, ranked from highest overall score (i.e., my prediction for best picture winner) to lowest. And the winner is... (You'll have to scroll down because for some reason Blogspot is reading my HTML table weird...)

TitleMy star rating out of 5My rating as a percentageCritics' ratingAudience ratingAverage rating — overall score
127 Hours4.590938890⅓
Toy Story 3480999190
The Social Network480978988⅔
True Grit480958787⅓
The Fighter480909086⅔
The King's Speech3.570959586⅔
The Kids Are All Right480957382⅔
Black Swan3.570888681⅓
Winter's Bone3.570957479⅔


Chris said...

Brilliant Doug, This is going to make the Oscars even MORE entertaining. I really like the idea of seeing all the nominations. I'll have to try it.

amelia said...

Wahhh...I haven't seen 5 of the Oscar nominees yet and I'm really bugged about it. However "Toys Story 3" has been watched roughly 1,938 times at our house, so that's got to count for something, right? I'm interested to see if your predictions are right!

doug said...

Actually, my only prediction that will be right tonight is this: My prediction will be wrong. :) As much as I loveloveLOVED 127 Hours, I don't think it will win.