Best Director – Alfonso Cuaron

With his very first Oscar nomination, Alfonso Cuaron is our leader for Best Director. His wins at the Directors Guild Awards—the biggest predictor for winning Best Director—along with his Best Director statue from the Golden Globes and Critic’s Choice awards gives Cuaron a 72% chance of getting the Oscar.

FarsiteForecast for Best Director
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Best Picture – 12 Years a Slave

In one of the closest races we can remember, Gravity and 12 Years a Slave are neck and neck. Initial Farsite data had Gravity with a slight edge, but our statistical model—which balances model data with betting odds—gave us a fuller picture. We’ve got 12 Years a Slave at a 55% chance of winning with Gravity at 38%.

How will this year’s first-ever Best Picture tie at the Producers Guild Awards affect the race between Gravity and 12 Years a Slave?

FarsiteForecast for Best Picture
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NFL Draft: How Good are First Round Picks Really?

What fun would draft week be without looking at some data? In that spirit we decided to look how draft position affects the willingness of a team to play a given player. In other words, does the sunk cost of the draft pick encourage a team to give a player more playing time than the player’s skill might otherwise call for? We looked at data for running backs and quarterbacks. Also, for quarterbacks we looked at when the playing time was occurring: was it during mop up time in a blowout or was it when the outcome was still in question.

Running Backs
Are running backs drafted higher more likely to “get a shot” than players drafted lower?

Half Round
Median Rushes in Season
Standard Deviation
Round 1, First Half215.596.51
Round 1, Second Half114.5100.04
Round 2, First Half125.598.49
Round 2, Second Half7179.24
Round 3, First Half12272.11
Round 3, Second Half6257.55
Round 4 and Above1452.17

The running backs selected in the first half of the first round definitely get a better chance at playing time. There is an oscillation when read more

and The Oscar® Goes to…

We have our Winners! It has been a fantastic few months since we launched the Farsite Forecast with our inaugural Oscar Forecast.  Below is a summary of the pundits and data science predictions.  Farsite Forecast was five for six, including correctly projecting Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor.  Our one miss was the Best Director award, where we had Spielberg instead of winner Ang Lee.  We will evaluate the model and provide some additional color commentary on that projection later in the day. Thanks for following us over the last few months. But, don’t stop! We’ll continue to post on a variety of fun topics, including the movies, music, and perhaps even some issues related to pop culture and read more

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 michael@farsitegroup.com or conor@farsitegroup.com.

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 (www.facebook.com/farsiteforecast) 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

Vanity Fair – Polls and Parties

Recently, while reading Vanity Fair’s account  of the wisdom of crowds and how that wisdom can be mined to predict the Oscars, I found myself nodding along with the piece.  Yes, I am a firm believer that crowdsourcing can be a great approach to solve thorny problems. Like Vanity Fair, I am often skeptical of the “expert”. Relying on expert judgment, though sometimes necessary, often leads one to rely on ill-formed opinion—witness the forecasts of the Etruscan Haruspex if you’d like a particularly gut-wrenching image of pre-classical expert opinion. Of late, crowd-sourced wisdom is piling up front page stories of success. The famous Netflix Prize found a suggestion algorithm better than Netflix’s own solution, and the 2008  and 2012 election forecasting case studies again illustrate the power of crowdsourcing.  We’ve at least sampled the Kool-Aid too: in our own Oscar Forecasting model, we use data obtained from read more