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About Those Oscar Predictions…

• February 25, 2013 • 10:11 AM

The Oscar ceremonies proved to be a rough night for both Seth McFarlane (whose performance as host was widely panned) and Iain Pardoe, the statistician with a superb track record predicting winners of the annual film industry awards.

Pardoe only got two of the top four categories correct: Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence). His predicted Best Picture winner, Lincoln, lost to Argo. And rather than Steven Spielberg taking the Best Director prize, it went to Ang Lee for Life of Pi.

The New York Times’ Nate Silver did somewhat better, getting four out of six predictions correct. He, too, overestimated the appeal of Lincoln, incorrectly predicting wins for Tommy Lee Jones (for Best Supporting Actor) and Spielberg.

It is indeed a puzzle why that superb historical drama failed to win more. Perhaps voters were so sick of Congressional bickering and political infighting that they did not care to see another example of that timeless phenomenon–even with an uplifting end result.

Tom Jacobs
Staff writer Tom Jacobs is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years experience at daily newspapers. He has served as a staff writer for The Los Angeles Daily News and the Santa Barbara News-Press. His work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Ventura County Star.

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