The Four Biggest Best Picture Oscar Upsets, Statistically Speaking | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

The Four Biggest Best Picture Oscar Upsets, Statistically Speaking

By the time the curtains rise on the Academy Awards ceremony each year, Oscar-watching prognosticators are already reasonably sure which films are going to take home top prizes.

Their predictions are mostly driven by frenzied intra-industry campaigning, prolific press coverage and the closest approximation of Oscar "polls" — the winners of the dozens of awards that precede the Oscars each year. But of the 16 preceding awards analyzed by The New York Times' political statistician Nate Silver, only two — the Directors Guild Awards and the Producers Guild Awards — have a greater than 50 percent success rate in predicting eventual Oscar winners. (The Directors Guild aligns with Oscar eight out of 10 times.) "Directors and producers are the movers and shakers in Hollywood, and any evidence about their opinions ought to count for a lot," Silver writes.

And their guilds are packed with Academy voters, so it makes sense that major category winners tend to match. In fact, when we analyzed the data, only four times since the Directors and Producers Guild Awards have existed have their top film picks of the year awards not overlapped with the Academy's best picture winner.

That kind of track record makes for stunning upsets on Oscar night.

With the help of film critic Chris Vognar of The Dallas Morning News, we took a look back at the biggest upsets, or to put a more positive spin on it, biggest surprise wins in the best picture category:

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

W Seeking W For Compound Word Dates

For each word starting with "W," think of another word, also starting with "W," that can follow the first to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase.
NPR

This Robot Chef Has Mastered Crab Bisque

The system, a pair of robotic arms, learned to cook by mimicking the motions of a top chef. Even though it can't smell or taste, its maker says the robot should be able to make 2,000 meals by 2017.
NPR

Candidates And Candidates-To-Be Woo New Hampshire's GOP

Republican candidates — those who've already declared and those who have yet to — gathered in New Hampshire this weekend to speak to their party. Whose messages resonated? And whose did not?
NPR

VW Camper Van Gets An Electric Makeover

Talk about a time warp! The iconic VW camper is getting a modern reboot. This time, it's electric.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.