As the Oscar buzz intensifies ahead of Sunday’s ceremony, we’ve looked back at the 90 previous years of the Academy Awards to work out who is likely to be walking off with statuettes this year.
We’ve identified some interesting patterns in what influences the award for Best Picture and also focused on the four main acting awards.
It’s tempting to assume that the film which goes into the award ceremony with the most nominations stands a pretty decent chance of bagging Best Picture, but this tends not to be the case. In six of the last 10 years, the most heavily-nominated film lost out to a rival, so for the likes of Roma or The Favourite – which have both garnered 10 nominations – to win would be unusual.
For a film hoping to win Best Picture it has been bad luck to have your female talent recognised. Only one of the last 10 Best Picture winners had a nomination for Best Actress, compared to seven in both of the supporting categories and nine for Best Director. It would therefore be unusual to see A Star is Born take the prize this year as it has a nod for Best Actress and doesn’t have one for Best Director.
It also helps not to overspend in the hunt for Best Picture, and it’s not just a bad omen if your studio parts with its money too easily. Five of this year’s nominees had a higher budget that nine of the last 10 winners, but films that perform too well at the box office have also suffered in the Academy’s considerations. While The King’s Speech and Slumdog Millionaire have won in the last decade after raking in around $400m each, three of this year’s nominees – Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born – have already exceeded that.
You would expect that a film with three nominations across the four main acting categories would be all-but guaranteed to scoop up at least one of them, but that hasn’t tended to be the case. Of the 118 films to have received three or more nominations across these four categories in the history of the Academy Awards, 41% left without winning any and only 22% won more than one. In fact only twice has a film with nominees in at least three of the four categories managed a hat trick: A Streetcar Named Desire in 1951 and Network in 1977 were both up for all four and secured three statuettes and neither won Best Picture.
We also found some disturbing hints of ageism in the data, with none of the last 10 Best Actor awards being claimed by the oldest nominee – bad news for Willem Dafoe this year. The issue is far more problematic for women however, with the average Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress nomination going to a woman aged 43 compared with around 48 for Best Actor. Also, while there was only a small age difference between the average winner and average nominee in the two main male acting awards, the average winner in the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories was around two years younger than the field overall.
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