Really, Nate Silver? You Did THIS Instead of Offer Oscar Picks?

ESPN's resident prophet skips what he does best for a weak history lesson

With prognostication at a fever pitch in the lead-up to the Academy Awards tonight, the time is right for Nate Silver to go public with his picks.

But while ESPN’s resident Nostradamus did emerge to talk Oscars on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday morning (see video above), he stopped well short of saying who he thought would win the key races.

Instead of  going out on a limb as he did last year while still at The New York Times with his prognostications, Silver and fellow FiveThirtyEight.com editor Walter Hickey offered ABC News’ Lara Spencer a historical look at the elements common among the winningest Oscar movies of all time.

Among the gems Silver shared: about one-fifth of all Best Picture winners have stories set in New York; about 36% of the winners feature a relationship between husband and wife, and nearly a third of them have a scene in which someone gets slapped in the face. (For more of Silver’s history lesson, Vanity Fair has a lovely chart version).

Really, Nate? And how many of these movies feature people who are breathing?

Let’s put aside the fact that Silver didn’t do his picks this year; FiveThirtyEight has yet to relaunch at ESPN and he doesn’t always offer Oscar prognostication each year. That said, he did indicate when he was hired at ESPN that he would stay on the Oscar beat, and didn’t dodge making a Super Bowl prediction.

But the real bone to pick here is the inanity of finding common elements among all these Oscar movies as if they really have any predictive value. Sure, New York is a common setting for winning films; but isn’t it a common setting for ALL films?

“We’re not trying to predict too much here,” Silver told Spencer. You got that right, Silver, but maybe it’s better to just sit out the season than try this kind of half-measure. Give us the full Silver treatment or nothing at all.

More Film

  • Ava DuVernay Toby Emmerich Michael Douglas

    Ava DuVernay, Toby Emmerich, Michael Douglas to Speak at Produced By Conference

    Ava DuVernay, Toby Emmerich, and Michael Douglas will speak at the Producers Guild of America’s 11th Produced By Conference. The event will be held on June 8-9 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif. Other notable speakers include Netflix executive Cindy Holland; Blumhouse producer Marci Wiseman; “Homecoming” showrunners Micah Bloomberg and Eli Horowitz; Entertainment One [...]

  • Jean Francois Helene Etzi

    Disney's French Chief Jean-Francois Camilleri Exiting, Helene Etzi Upped

    Jean-Francois Camilleri is leaving Disney after more than 30 years and will replaced as the head of its French operation by Helene Etzi. Sources said Camilleri’s departure was his own decision. He announced his exit on Twitter, Tuesday, and paid tribute to his team and colleagues at Disney, thanking them for the “unique adventure.” In [...]

  • dumbo Tim Burton

    Film Review: Tim Burton's 'Dumbo'

    The key image in Walt Disney’s 1941 “Dumbo” is something out of a fairy-tale daydream: Dumbo, the baby elephant with long-lashed goo-goo eyes, a cuddly grin, and ears as long and floppy as wings, flapping those ears to soar around a circus big top, flying over the crowds with a freedom as touching as it [...]

  • Guys and Dolls

    'Guys and Dolls' Getting Remade at TriStar (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Guys and Dolls,” the venerable Broadway musical, is set to return to the big screen. TriStar Pictures has purchased remake rights to the original Damon Runyon short stories about gamblers and gangsters that inspired the shows, as well as the rights to the Broadway musical with its book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows and [...]

  • Captain America: Civil War

    'Black Widow,' 'Little Women,' 'Charlie's Angels' Among Most Tracked Female Directed Projects, IMDb Says (EXCLUSIVE)

    Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women,” Cate Shortland’s “Black Widow,” Patty Jenkins’s “Wonder Woman 2,” and Elizabeth Banks’s “Charlie’s Angles” are among the ten most tracked projects on IMDbPro. Ava DuVernay (“Selma”), Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”), Chloé Zhao (“The Rider”), and Susanne Bier (“After the Wedding”) rank among the most widely followed female directors on the [...]

  • European Union Placeholder

    European Parliament Gives Final Approval to Controversial Article 13 Copyright Directive

    The European Parliament on Tuesday gave final approval to Article 13, a controversial part of a wider directive that shakes up the rules around copyright in the European Union. The new rules will have ramifications for online platforms, content owners and creators, and the general public. The proposed new framework, now approved, has sparked widespread [...]

  • Fox Disney Layoffs

    Fox Studio Quickly Fades Away as Disney Starts Work on Integration

    In the waning days of 21st Century Fox, there was a run on the searchlight. As Disney neared the completion of its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox, employees on the Fox lot rushed into the studio’s gift shop to pick up mugs, shot glasses, sweatshirts, hats and T-shirts emblazoned with 20th Century Fox’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content