Author Archives: Conor Gaughan

The Final Countdown

TGIF – no, not thank goodness it is Friday; Thank Goodness It is FINAL. Today is our final forecast for Sunday’s Academy Awards.  And, don’t worry. We are going to keep blogging after the Oscars.  Our topics will expand to cover some other unique and cool topics. In fact, if you have a topic, that you’d like us to cover, email or

First things first – here are our final predictions.

We’ll give you some additional commentary throughout the day. And, keep an eye on our Twitter (@farsiteforecast) and Facebook ( for some fun news and nuggets throughout the read more

My Money Is On…

As they say in the gambler, you gotta know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em.  Oscar betting is a little easier with the help of data science.  For those of you looking to place real money on the Oscars – here are what the prop betting markets are saying going into Oscar Sunday.

And, our lawyers told us to make sure and say that we in no way shape or form encourage gambling of any sort…gotta know when to listen to the suits too! read more

WGA Goes Political, and The Final Week Countdown

As Hollywood prepares for the Oscars (and if you live in the area, you know that Hollywood Blvd is already closed for preparations), the Writers Guild of America celebrated its annual awards last night.  This was the last industry event which informs the Oscar Forecast. And, Argo continued dominating the guild awards, winning Best Adapted Screenplay.  In the Best Original Screenplay category, Zero Dark Thirty bested the competition.  It seems that writers are a bunch of political animals. Within the model, this signal is not as heavily weighted as other guild award winners. But, it is yet another data point which indicates that we could be on our way to an Argo victory on Sunday.

Beyond Best Picture, WGA does not impact any of the other individual nominee categories we have covered. But, the betting read more

One Week Left…WGA Preview

This weekend is one of our final model signals.  The WGA Awards are this weekend, and there is a relationship between the winners of the WGA and both the Oscars for Best Original Screenplay, Best Adapted Screenplay.  But, it turns out that the Oscar for Best Picture is also related to WGA Awards.

This year’s nominees for Original Screenplay from WGA include Flight, Looper, The Master, Moonrise Kingdom and Zero Dark Thirty. Out of those, Looper and The Master were not nominated for an Oscar; Amour and Django Unchained were.

WGA Best Adapted Screenplay include Argo, Life of Pi, Lincoln, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Silver Linings Playbook.  Out of those, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, in favor of Beasts of Southern Wild.

Four of the Best Picture nominees were not WGA read more

The Diva-Off

Two weeks ago we used social listening tools to compare the growing buzz around Argo relative to Best Picture nemesis Lincoln. Perhaps it was last week’s episode of Glee, or perhaps it was the Perez Hilton story about the Chastain vs. Lawrence feud, but we decided to use our social listening analysis to compare the two leading ladies for Best Actress.

As Google Trends indicate, Lawrence and “SLP” generally seem to be more buzzed about than Chastain and “ZDT”, despite the political controversy and associated buzz that Zero Dark Thirty has experienced this awards season. One of the biggest spikes in buzz was the day after Lawrence’s SNL performance, where she trashed her Oscar competition.  Both ladies are their respective movies best shot for Oscar night, but Lawrence has maintained a solid lead over Chastain from the read more

Hip to B-Square

Over the last two days, we have analyzed both the budget and box office performance for Oscar nominated films. So what about the combination of the two variables? Below we show all the nominees and winners for Best Picture over the last decade.

First, notice that the vast majority of nominees and winners have Box Office sales in excess of budget. This is a strong predictor of the profitability of a film, although it doesn’t account for meaningful costs such as marketing. Box Office blockbuster Avatar has the greatest absolute magnitude difference between Box and Budget, despite it’s $280 million cost to produce. But the largest percentage difference between Box and Budget was indie breakout Juno, which earned $143.5 million with a budget of $7.5 million.

An Oscar nomination itself is a read more