Nate Silver's New Oscar Advice: Avoid the Tim Pawlenty of Movies

The Atlantic

The real Nate Silver has finally delivered his predictions for the major Oscar categories at The New York Times, seeking to refine his method of forecasting the awards so they are, perhaps, more in line with his much-lauded election picks—or at least better than his so-so history of calling the Academy Awards. His process now looks at only the other awards handed out in the buildup to the Oscars, which he calls "the closest equivalent to pre-election polls." Silver explains: 

In fact, I have grown wary that methods that seek to account for a more complex array of factors are picking up on a lot of spurious correlations and identifying more noise than signal. If a film is the cinematic equivalent of Tim Pawlenty — something that looks like a contender in the abstract, but which isn’t picking up much support from actual voters — we should be skeptical that it would suddenly turn things around.

He doesn't actually say who he thinks this year's movie version of Tim Pawlenty is, exactly, but perhaps you can take your own guess: Zero Dark Thirty with all those complaints about accuracy and/or torture? Lincoln with its high hopes and semi-dashed dreams? 

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Silver goes on to elaborate that "insider" awards, where voters also vote in the Oscars—i.e. the SAG Awards—are more reliable than the Golden Globes, which are chosen by "outsiders" including press. 

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If you're a Nate Silver fan and wish to amend your ballot to his picks, here they are: 

Best Picture - Argo Best Director - Steven Spielberg Best Actor - Daniel Day-Lewis Best Actress - Jennifer Lawrence Best Supporting Actor - Tommy Lee Jones Best Supporting Actress - Anne Hathaway

Those are pretty in line with would-be Nate Silver and Harvard sophomore Ben Zauzmer, who explained his Oscar math to us this week because, well, it's been a lot more accurate than Silver's history with this thing.

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