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3 predictions for the Best Picture Oscar winner grounded in foresight

3 predictions for the Best Picture Oscar winner grounded in foresight

As we look ahead to Sunday’s Academy Awards, our EmotionalDNA® team analyzed the emotional attributes consistently found in Best Picture Oscar winners to foretell who might come out on top this year.

In recent years, Best Picture Oscar winners have been perceived by audiences as being exceptionally strong in two emotional categories – Originality and Smarts. Originality is where audiences feel the content is original, fresh and imaginative; Smarts is when they feel the content is incredibly intelligent and informative.

Although Oscar nominees average a high Originality score (83), the winners all place above the 92nd percentile. (All scores are percentiles and range from 1-100). However, it’s in Smarts where the difference between the nominees (averaging 71) and the winners is stark. 

Spotlight and Green Book both hit top scores as audiences felt they came away from those movies learning something significant (as well as being entertained). High Smarts is fairly unusual for general entertainment movies – consider box office darlings Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: Way of the Water (scoring 25 and 27 respectively in Smarts). This is certainly one area where Oscar winners deviate from the rest of the landscape.

Bar chart of audience perceptions of Oscar Winners by eDNA dimensions Originality and Smarts used to make Oscar Winner predictions

Of course, Oscars are not decided by audiences but by Academy voters. Their tendency to choose original and intelligent movies may be expected, but it can still result in surprising winners. Last year, Netflix’s The Power of the Dog was many people’s favorite going in – but Coda won, and guess which movie had a stronger Smarts and Originality score? (The Power of the Dog only garnered 69 in Smarts and 87 in Originality). A similar story occurred with Moonlight, the year many projected (and Warren Beatty announced by mistake) La La Land to win.

So, what about this year? If the Best Picture winner is Everything Everywhere All at Once, it would be more of an outlier, like Parasite in 2019. It has a remarkable Originality score of 100 but a Smarts score of only 31. If Academy voters continue to tip the scales in favor of more brainy movies, then either dark horse All Quiet on the Western Front or Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans could win.

Bar chart of 2022 Best Picture Nominees with eDNA emotional attributes used to make Oscar Winner predictions

Magid’s EmotionalDNA has proven to have strong predictive power – whether ratings, box office, critical acclaim or part of larger valuation models – arming our clients with foresight to inform their decisions. Interested in using eDNA for your own prediction models? Let’s talk.

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