Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Bellwether Awards

So I was participating in a live blogging of the Golden Globes (while not actually watching the awards, which was less of a problem than you might think), and someone posted that The Social Network was now the movie to beat for the Best Picture Oscar now that it had won the Golden Globe for best drama. Which got me to thinking: is that actually true? Time to compare the winners!

I went back and got the Oscar and Globe winners since 1990. I stuck with drama winners only for the Globes, though they do give an award for the best comedy/drama as well. And, just for comparison's sake, I got the award info for the LA and NYC critics awards, the National Review Board's awards, and the Satellite Awards (offered by the International Press Agency).

And looking at all of the results, the Golden Globes are a great predictor for the Best Picture Oscar... as long as your film was nominated before 2004. From 1990 to 2003 the Globes only missed three times (if you include the two Oscar winners that picked up the comedy/musical Globe, Shakespeare in Love and Chicago). From 2004 on, though, the Globes have only gotten it right with Slumdog Millionaire.

Picking up where they left off, though, are the Satellite Awards, which have a four year streak going. Less impressive is that the only time they matched the Oscars prior to 2006 was when Titanic won, which was pretty much a given (undeserved as it was). The other awards were less predictive, with none of the three offering much insight as to a potential Oscar winner.

The good news for The Social Network out of all of this? It's swept all of the awards I checked. Since 1990 this has only happened to one other movie: Schindler's List. That worked out pretty well for Spielberg and company. Usually a move that wins three of the five awards gets the Oscar, but there have been notable exceptions (Brokeback Mountain, L.A. Confidential, Saving Private Ryan).

So the answer to my question is that the Golden Globes, at least of late, hasn't made it's best drama winner the film to beat at the Oscars. But The Social Network may still be the film to beat given its overall performance in awards.

For fun I then checked the acting awards, including the SAG Awards into the mix. I would say that the SAG Awards are slightly more predictive than the Golden Globes, and that they're slightly more predictive for actors than for best film. And they're somewhat better at choosing the best actor and actress awards than the supporting awards.

If I had to extrapolate based on the awards given to date, I think Colin Firth is in the best position to win an Oscar, having won awards from all groups except the National Review Board. Christian Bale and Melissa Leo would be next best off, having won three of five awards. None of the best actress awards have repeated.

So if I had to come up with a rule, I'd say winning the Golden Globe or the SAG Award is a good sign that you might win the Oscar. Better to win them both.

(Note: I make no claims that these finding are based on anything like actual statistical research. I pretty much eyeballed the results and went on that. This isn't the Freakonomics blog.)

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Blogger The Grim Reaper said...

Given the Oscar love for The King's Speech, I'm going with Oscar voters being too old to understand this Facepage thing and giving it to the movie with the guy with the accent and sort of a disability.

January 27, 2011 at 6:53 PM  

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