2016 Oscar Award Predictions - 2016
Predicting the 2016 Oscar Awards
Best Actor ForecastThis year’s upcoming Academy Awards have caused no small amount of controversy, notably for the lack of ethnic diversity in the list of nominees in the acting categories. But there’s one Oscars-related matter on which everyone seems to agree: 2016 will finally be Leonardo DiCaprio’s year to take home the prized gold statuette that he’s oveted for so long.
Seven out of eight Oscar-prediction models examined by statistical-analysis site FiveThirtyEight have DiCaprio down as the most likely winner for this year’s Best Actor category. After seeing DiCaprio’s performance in wilderness-thriller "The Revenant," it’s not hard to see why. Only one of the eight models cited by FiveThirtyEight gives a different forecast, predicting a win for Bryan Cranston for his role in the Hollywood bio-pic "Trumbo." Microsoft’s Bing prediction-system also calls this year’s Best Actor award for DiCaprio. Business Insider reports that the Bing forecasting engine correctly predicted 84 percent of last year’s Oscar winners.
With all due respect and admiration for Cranston’s performance, your correspondent is going to have to side with the bulk of the forecasting models on this one. DiCaprio has received five previous Oscar nominations according to the Academy's website, but not a single win – yet. His gritty turn in "The Revenant" is his most masterful work yet, and shows the actor’s maturity and depth. Odds are that the voting members of the Academy will finally reward this talented leading man.
Best Actress ForecastThe forecast is far hazier for the Best Actress category, with only half the models noted by FiveThirtyEight picking the same winner - Brie Larson, for her role in the novel-adaptation “Room.” Business Insider reports that Microsoft’s Bing also has Larson down as a favorite to win, with a 76 percent likelihood. The remaining models referenced by FiveThirtyEight are split, with two forecasting a win for Jennifer Lawrence in the dramatic-comedy biopic “Joy”; one predicting the Oscar for Saoirse Ronan in the period-drama “Brooklyn”; and one calling the category for Charlotte Rampling in the romantic drama “45 Years.” As the FiveThirtyEight reporter notes, the Best Actress category could prove “a solid test for methodological soundness,” given the amount of disagreement among the prediction models.
My own pick – regardless of the models' predictions – is for Rampling to win the gold. This is the first nomination for the venerable British actress, though she has received multiple other international awards for her work in film and theater. Her performance in “45 Years” is subtle yet sublime, revealing a range of skill that is unmatched by the other nominees in the category.
Best Picture ForecastIn the most-watched category of Best Picture, the prediction models again give different results. Half the models in the FiveThirtyEight article project “The Revenant” as the most likely winner, as does Microsoft’s Bing generator. The other models noted by FiveThirtyEight are split evenly between picking wins for “Brooklyn,” “Room,” historical-drama “Spotlight” and comedy-drama “The Big Short.”
Having watched all the nominees for Best Picture, your correspondent admits to being torn; all the top picks are wonderfully crafted and worthy contenders. The films are each unique in style, tone and content, and though “The Revenant” may seem a likely victor, the Academy loves to buck the odds.
ConclusionRegardless of the final tally – and the diversity-related controversies surrounding the awards – this year’s Oscars ceremony is sure to be closely followed by movie fans and statistical analysts alike. Even if it’s not a great year for minority actors, 2016 might mean a terrific win for successful prediction-generating models!
For a complete list of all the categories and this year's Oscar nominees, visit the official website of the Academy Awards.