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Ben Zauzmer
Ben Zauzmer, a Harvard senior with a long-time passion for math and movies, combined his twin interests to produce Ben’s Oscar Forecast. By devising formulas designed to calculate the chances each movie wins Academy Awards, he offers a mathematical approach to the exciting and difficult art of Oscar predictions. Each of the past three years, his model correctly predicted at least 75% of categories.

For each category, Ben created a spreadsheet with all of the results in numerical form from awards shows, guild recognition, aggregate critic scores, and corresponding category nominations. With all of these numbers in the chart for each nominee in the category over the past 15 years, using a formula from statistics, Ben derived the best approximation of the relative factors of each indicator. These results were applied to this year’s nominees – one formula for each category – and the percentage was calculated as a movie’s score out of the total scores.

Follow him on Twitter @BensOscarMath.

Entries by Ben Zauzmer

Oscar Nomination Odds: What the Math Says

(0) Comments | Posted January 11, 2016 | 5:17 PM

Ben Zauzmer (@BensOscarMath) uses math to predict and write about the Oscars. He recently graduated from Harvard with a degree in applied math, and he now works as a baseball analyst for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

On Thursday morning, up to ten films will gain Oscar immortality. They...

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The State of the Oscar Race: Post-DGAs and BAFTAs

(0) Comments | Posted February 9, 2015 | 8:34 AM

This was a major weekend for Oscar predictors, starting with the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Awards and wrapping up with the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards. Lots of very important data came in, so let's get right to it.

Directors Guild

First up this weekend...

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How the SAG Awards Predict the Oscars

(0) Comments | Posted January 27, 2015 | 11:57 AM

What a weekend for Birdman! First, the Producers Guild, then the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) -- everyone seems to be lining up to honor Alejandro Iñárritu's film in the month leading up to the Oscars. But does that mean the race is over? The math suggests it is not.

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What the Producers Guild Awards Mean for the Oscars

(0) Comments | Posted January 25, 2015 | 7:08 PM

Ben Zauzmer, an applied math major at Harvard, uses only data -- no personal hunches or opinions -- to predict the Oscars. He has served as a columnist for The Hollywood Reporter, and his work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and publications across the globe.

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How Did the Math Do on the 2015 Oscar Nominations?

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2015 | 5:34 PM

Thursday morning was a wonderful and terrible morning for Hollywood. Some filmmakers got the once-in-a-lifetime thrill of hearing their names called as Oscar nominees (or, if you're Meryl Streep, 19-times-in-a-lifetime). Others were left empty-handed.

But whether it was a wonderful or terrible morning for your favorite movie of 2014, it...

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2015 Oscar Nominations: What the Math Says

(0) Comments | Posted January 14, 2015 | 1:45 PM

Ben Zauzmer, an applied math major at Harvard, uses only data - no personal hunches or opinions - to predict the Oscars. He has served as a columnist for The Hollywood Reporter, and his work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and publications across the globe....

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2014: The Most Upset-Filled Year in March Madness History

(0) Comments | Posted April 11, 2014 | 2:43 PM

Of all the years for Warren Buffet to offer $1 billion for a perfect bracket, he made a really good choice. As hard as it is to go perfect any year, 2014 proved to be the most difficult of all time.

There are many ways to calculate how surprising a...

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Oscar Predictions: How Accurate Was the Math?

(1) Comments | Posted February 26, 2013 | 9:12 AM

Sunday evening was a fantastic night if you're a fan of Argo, Seth MacFarlane, James Bond or movie musicals. But it was an equally great night if you're a fan of movie math. In my second year predicting the Oscars with only math, my model went 17-for-21, including...

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Oscar Odds

(0) Comments | Posted February 21, 2013 | 3:43 PM

This week, I posted mathematical Oscar predictions in 21 categories on my website, Ben's Oscar Forecast. Now that I have these numbers, there are many fun ways to parse the data, and I can calculate the percent chance that various feats occur on Sunday night. For...

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2012 Oscar Predictions

(0) Comments | Posted February 19, 2013 | 1:56 PM

If the numbers hold true, look for the wealth to be spread around at the Oscars this year.

I have created a statistical model to predict the Oscars, using numerical data from critic scores, other awards shows, and guild awards over the past 15 years. This method is entirely mathematical:...

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I'd Like to Thank the Academy...

(0) Comments | Posted February 13, 2013 | 5:30 PM

Movies have the benefit of perfectly polished scripts, crafted and edited by the world's greatest wordsmiths. But what happens when the moviemakers walk onstage to accept the highest prize in their profession, filled with surprise and emotion but lacking a script?

The Academy Award acceptance speech: While others have done...

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Oscar Veteran Actors and Directors

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2013 | 1:26 PM

When Meryl Streep took home the Best Actress award for The Iron Lady last year, some commentators called it a "lifetime achievement award," implying that she beat out the competition more due to her body of work than her performance in that film. Others have speculated that veterans are more...

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All About the Oscars: A Math-based 2013 Forecast

(1) Comments | Posted January 30, 2013 | 5:06 PM

Since the 85th Academy Awards nominations were announced, Lincoln has emerged as one of the frontrunners among headline writers, bloggers, and oddsmakers. This was fueled in large part by the fact that Steven Spielberg's Civil War epic garnered 12 nominations, the most of any film.

But does receiving the most...

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