So most years when I write this article, I talk about how good I feel, how nice it is for the crunch of awards season to be over. But honestly, I’ve been relaxed for about a week. I finished my picks and all that stuff last Sunday night after BAFTAs. I proofread it Monday morning, and really all I did between then and now was maybe tweak a ranking or two (none of which ended up actually mattering in the end, which we’ll get to). And they shortened the time span this year, so the whole thing went pretty quickly and didn’t drag on at all. And now here we are, with the entire rest of February to go. This is weird, but also kinda great.
I’ll straight up say it — I put like no effort into this year’s awards. I kept putting off having to actually think about everything until all the results were in. I thought harder about what would be nominated than I did about this. There was only about three weeks between nominations and the awards, so I just let the results come to me and once they were all in, sat down and went, “Yup, that all looks about right,” and let the picks essentially make themselves and didn’t worry all too much about it.
And for most of the night, it sure looked like I might only get one category wrong of all the 24. That didn’t happen, but I still did insanely well (sorry to spoil it at the top, but I did). But man, for a while I thought, “There’s no way I’m gonna do well on this. I feel like I’m phoning this one in.” Because most of the choices were so obvious and I didn’t agonize over them like I normally would. So I figured it had to just be that I was wrong. Or maybe I’ve just done this so long that I’ve learned that I don’t have to spend much time thinking about it all. Which is kinda freeing.
Anyway, let’s recap the Oscars, so we can finally put 2019 to rest and close out the decade in film (sort of).
So this is the quick version of the giant article I posted this morning. The Oscars are on in two hours, and just so you don’t have to go back and reference the giant article if you don’t want to (though you should, there are nice colors and gifs and everything, and I put some real effort into it), I’m giving you the abridged version of it all.
I used to do this in two articles, but I’m just gonna do it in one, since I always put the rankings here anyway, so I’ll just make that section my official ‘Scorecard’ entry for this year. (And if you don’t know what that is, go read the big article. It’ll explain it. And it’s something I recommend you start doing if you’re serious about trying to guess Oscar winners. It’s so much better than just a straight ballot.)
Anyway, here’s your Oscar cheat sheet for later on: (more…)
It’s Oscar night, folks.
I’ve done this enough to know what’s about to happen. You all want my picks for what’s gonna win because I’m the person you know who’s stupid enough to actually put real thought into this whole charade and generally am right about all this stuff, and I like talking about this nonsense. So we have the trade-off… I write a lot and you pretend to read it while skipping down to what I picked.
We all know the drill — I’m gonna ramble for 24 categories, try to make sense of it all, eventually decide “fuck it” and leave it to chance, then I’m gonna go get drunk and eat Chinese food and watch the ceremony. Everybody has their traditions.
Here’s how this works: every day leading up to the Oscars, I break down each of the 24 categories. The goal is to both familiarize everyone with the category itself (how it works, what its history is and how you go about figuring out what’s gonna win) while also making it easier to reference when I write my giant article with picks and everything. A lot of the leg work is already here. But really, the goal is to see if there’s anything to look for leading into Oscar night that could be a shortcut to me picking the category.
What we do is — I give you all the winners of the category throughout history, go over all the recent trends if there are any, discuss the precursors and whether or not they matter, and then we talk about this year’s category and how we got to it, and then just look at where we are and rank the nominees in terms of their likelihood of winning (at the current moment in time. Of course, things can and will change going into the ceremony). It’s all pretty simple. I’ve done this every year. Everyone should know the drill.
Today is Best Actress. And the only category that seemed like maybe it could have been interesting going into precursors… and then it turned out to be as locked as the rest of them. (more…)
This is the most relaxed moment of the year for me. This is the day your thesis is turned in and all the work is done. At this point, Oscar season isn’t particularly stressful for me, but it’s a culmination of two-plus months of thinking about this stuff. And it’s been something going up every single day since December. Now, it’s all over, and the books are closed.
I wish I could say I’m remotely shocked by anything that happened. But no. This all went about how I expected it to. A couple of minor surprises here and there, but nothing that far from the realm of expectation. At one point throughout the night I remember remarking to a friend, “Bohemian Rhapsody has won every award it was nominated for. It has four awards and Black Panther has three. Which is the most Academy thing ever. ‘Look at us, we’re inclusive! (But also we’re still us.)” Honestly, how could anyone be surprised at the way things turned out? I mean, I never am because I’m so deep into this shit I’ve figured out every possible permutation for how things could have gone. So to me, this is all, “Yup, yup, yup, oh that won there, which means this will win here and it won’t win there.” I was calling out three categories ahead when they announced a new one. That’s where I’m at. I’m almost incapable of being surprised by all this. That’s why I do the Scorecard ballot thing now.
Anyway, let’s recap what happened and close the book on 2018. (more…)
So this is what I do now. This Oscar Scorecard. Which grades me on how well I pick entire categories over just winners.
The way the Scorecard Ballot works is, you take every category and rank all the nominees in terms of their likelihood of winning. If the nominee ranked #1 wins, you get 1 point. 2 points for a #2, 3 points for a #3 and so on. A perfect score would be a 24 (meaning your #1s in every category won). Ties make things confusing, but it’s only happened 6 times in 89 years, so let’s just figure that won’t happen and deal with it if it does.
Ideally, most people get between 16/24 and 18/24 each year. I try to get between 18/24 and 20/24. So, of the categories you get wrong (say 7, for argument’s sake)… you want your #2 to win, so that way you’re only +7 over the minimum of 24. It’s like golf. Okay, sure, some #3s can win. It happens. But only like two. Then you’re +9. That’s reasonable. To me, a good year on the Scorecard ballot is a +6. +8 is fine, +10 isn’t great, but acceptable, and the higher you go, the worse you dod.
It’s more interesting to me, since I’m about the all-around analysis than just straight up winners. To me, the words “that’s a #4” mean something. To most people, they don’t. So this is my way of quantifying that specificity.
So, for those of you who wanna try a Scorecard Ballot for this year, here is mine for the upcoming ceremony:
My giant Oscar Ballot article went up already, but for those of you who only pretend to care about me and really only care about my picks, here we are. This is the Cliff Notes version to that article.
Very simply: what should be on your ballot, what will win if that doesn’t win, what’s on my ballot, what my preference is for full transparency, what the likelihood of each nominee winning is, and a brief analysis of the category.
Here’s your Oscar cheat sheet: (more…)