IMDB…and the Oscar Goes To

On Sunday, the 2016 Academy Award for Best Picture will be announced. The pundits expect a close race among Spotlight, The Revenant,  and The Big Short, with Mad Max: Fury Road a possibility for an upset. Six weeks ago the Las Vegas odds makers had set the odds for each movie as follows:

  1. Spotlight                                    4:5
  2. The Revenant                           6:5
  3. The Big Short                            8:1
  4. The Martian                               8:1
  5. Mad Max: fury Road              20:1
  6. Bridge of Spies                        30:1
  7. Room                                          40:1
  8. Brooklyn                                    50:1

To determine a winner, voters from the Academy membership, representing a variety of film disciplines, vote for the movie that represents the highest cinematic achievement of 2015. The discipline with the highest representation in the voting is acting. Actors make up 22% of the Academy voters and presumably have the greatest influence on the ultimate winner.

What if IMDB voters chose the Academy Award winner for Best Picture? While IMDB voters don’t represent a variety of film disciplines, they do represent different demographic perspectives. If each of these demographic slices of the IMDB voters chose the Best Picture winner, the results for each group would be:

  • Age Under 18                              The Revenant
  • Age 18 – 29                                   Room
  • Age 30 – 44                                   Room
  • Age 45+                                          Spotlight
  • Males                                              Room
  • Females                                         Room
  • United States                               Room, Spotlight (tie)
  • Non-United States                     Room

And, after combining the votes for all of these IMDB voter groups, the Oscar, in an upset, goes to Room.

The average IMDB ratings (as of February 22, 2016) for the eight nominees reflect a tight race:

  1. Room                                            8.3
  2. Mad Max: Fury Road                8.2
  3. The Revenant                             8.2
  4. Spotlight                                      8.2
  5. The Martian                                8.1
  6. The Big Short                             7.9
  7. Bridge of Spies                           7.7
  8. Brooklyn                                      7.6

Although the co-star of Room, Brie Larson, is the favorite to win Best Actress, I don’t believe Room will win Best Picture on Sunday. Academy voters and IMDB voters are very different. Just as actors will have the greatest influence over who wins the Oscar for Best Picture tomorrow, there are demographic segments that have heavily influenced our IMDB voting for Best Picture. Here are the three primary groups influencing the IMDB vote with their percentage of the aggregate IMDB vote for all eight movies displayed alongside:

  • Voters Aged 18 – 29             52% of total vote
  • Non-US Voters                     79% of total vote
  • Male voters                            84% of total vote

Although the IMDB voting for Room reflects a pretty strong consensus across almost all groups, the vote is dominated by Young, Male, Non-US IMDB voters.

Sunday night, as you watch the Oscars, the lack of diversity among the Academy nominees will be the topic most commented on by Chris Rock, the emcee, the presenters, and the winners. But if you really want to know why  a particular actor or actress didn’t get a nomination, or why a particular movie didn’t win IMDB Best Picture, check out who voted. It’s all there.




Author: Mad Movie Man

I love good movies. In my prior life I worked with predictive models. I've combined my love of movies with my prior experience to create a simple Bayesian probability model to help select movies that you will probably "really like".

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