Objectivity of the New York Times

If a reader wants objective news coverage, shouldn’t it be available? Personally, if I want to get some objective news coverage, I go to the New York Times. It seems I’m not alone: this newspaper is considered an elite news source and has won 112 Pulitzer prizes, more than any other newspaper. It’s the most popular local metropolitan newspaper and has the most popular website of the nation’s newspapers. In this blog post, we try to explore just how objective the New York Times really is.

How can the objectivity of a document be measured?
One way is to compare the target document to other documents that are agreed to be subjective or objective beforehand. For example, movie reviews can be considered subjective. In a review, an author tries to give his viewpoint of the movie, and if the read more

We did it: 6 for 6 Oscar picks!

We’re a little bleary-eyed this morning. But very proud. We bested last year’s pick percentage by one category—Best Director—one of the closer races of the night. (Insert nerdy, stat-geek fist pump).

Take a look at how our Oscar picks stacked up against Hollywood pundits this year.

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Just when we thought the Best Picture Oscar® race couldn’t get tighter

How the Producers Guild Awards tie affects our pick

We hate to toot our own horn, but here goes: we correctly picked winners in 5 out of the big 6 Oscar categories last year. We did it using a complex predictive model (that’s “stat geek” speak for a giant, very mathy equation). So we’ve been feeling pret-ty good about our chances for a repeat performance in 2014.

Then, our data scientists got a big surprise (and these guys are kind of hard to surprise)

Double winners—12 Years a Slave and Gravity—were announced at the Producers Guild Awards (PGA) January 19th. This was surprising for two reasons: first, it’s the first tie in the 25-year history of the PGA. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the PGAs have historically been the number one predictor of the Best read more

Farsite was right: 2013 Oscar prediction results

It worked.

We accurately predicted 5 out of 6 winners in the top categories for the 2013 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Director. And we’re back here in 2014 to do it all again.

We weren’t surprised, but we were pretty proud. See, here at Farsite, we use advanced analytics to solve our clients’ business questions. Being “stat geeks” our whole lives, we knew our statistical approach to Oscar predictions made sense.

What we didn’t expect was to blow anyone’s mind.

“I know there is no scientific way of predicting the Oscars®,” said Scott Feinberg, awards analyst for the Hollywood Reporter, when he spoke to the Wall Street Journal about Farsite’s capabilities. He went on to say that statistical read more

But how, exactly, does the Farsite prediction model work?

At Farsite, we created a statistical model that keeps two important things in mind:

1) 40 years of Oscars history can give us winner predictions based on trends
2) Intangibles, like momentum, popular opinion and controversy can buck these same past trends

Maybe most importantly, we know that there are nearly 6,000 voting members of the Academy and that many of them vote for other awards too. In several cases, the same actors and producers who vote in the Screen Actors Guild and Producers Guild awards will also cast Oscar ballots at the end of the awards season. Statistically, we know that tracking the other awards will hone our predictions this week before the Oscars. And that’s right now!

    Here are the specific types of data that populate our statistical models:

  • Guild Award winners: Producers Guild, Screen Actors Guild, Writers Guild and Directors Guild
  • Other awards: Critic’s Choice Awards and the Golden Globes
  • Prediction Markets and Betting Lines
  • Previous Nominations and award histories for each of the nominees

See this data take action in our top six races: read more

Best Supporting Actress – Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita Nyog’o, from our Best Picture pick, 12 Years a Slave, has gained ground in recent weeks, with wins at the Critic’s Choice and Screen Actors Guild, where her acceptance speeches were “emotional and eloquent—making it hard not to root for her,” according to Entertainment Weekly. We give Nyog’o an 85% chance of winning, our second highest win margin behind Jared Leto.

FarsiteForecast for Best Supporting Actress
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Best Supporting Actor – Jared Leto

Jared Leto holds our highest predicted winning margin, with an 86% chance of victory for his work in Dallas Buyers Club. Leto, who’s been away from the acting world to focus on music with his band 30 Seconds to Mars, is back in force with Best Supporting Actor wins at the Golden Globes, Critic’s Choice and Screen Actors Guild—considered the biggest win predictor for the Oscar.

FarsiteForecast for Best Supporting Actor
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Best Actress – Cate Blanchett

Even among Oscar powerhouses like Meryl Streep and Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett is poised to take home the golden guy for Best Actress. Blanchett has 5 previous Oscar nominations (including 1 win) and a 59% chance of winning this year due to Best Actress wins in the Golden Globes, Critic’s Choice awards and the Screen Actors Guild—the top predictor of Oscar success.

FarsiteForecast for Best Actress
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