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 nominations really mean that a movie is most likely to win Best Picture? The short answer is yes -- 2/3 of the time. But for movie buffs and math nerds, here is the longer answer.
Over the 84 years of Oscars, the movie that received the most nominations (including ties for first place) among the Best Picture nominees went on to take the top prize in 56 years, exactly 2/3 of the time.
The higher a movie ranks in nominations among its Best Picture competitors, the more likely it is to win: 85 percent of winners came in the top two in nominations, and 93 percent of the winners at least made bronze. So should you go ahead and fill out your Oscar ballot with Lincoln or Life of Pi, this year's runner-up with 11 nominations?
Not so fast. For 68 of the Oscars' 84 years, there were only five nominees. In the inaugural event in 1928, there were only three. Making top three was an easier feat in many years than in 2012, a year with nine nominees for Best Picture.
Plus, some underdogs have pulled off big upsets over the years. Grand Hotel (1932) is the only movie to win Best Picture on its only nomination, meaning it was actually tied for fifth place among the eight Best Picture nominees that year (Arrowsmith and The Champ received four nods, while Bad Girl and Shanghai Express had three). In the five-nominee era (1929-1931, 1944-2008), three movies have tied for last and won: In the Heat of the Night (1967) with seven nominations, Annie Hall (1977) with five, and Ordinary People (1980) with six.
See the rest at Ben's Oscar Forecast.