Can networking help us predict the contents of the envelopes? Let's base our algorithm on the assumption that it helps to have connections in Hollywood. More specifically, let's assume that better-connected actors will fare better in the final tally.
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.
While Tommy Lee Jone's performance as the Congressman Thaddeus Stevens is tremendous, Phillip Seymour Hoffman's portrayal of a deeply passionate leader of a philosophical movement was by far the best performance by a supporting actor this year.