Artificial Intelligence firm predicts results of 2017 Oscars

Posted: 12 January 2017 | By Darcie Thompson-Fields

A US company claims to already know the nominations and winner of Best Picture for next months annual Academy Awards – aka the Oscars, by using artificial intelligence.


The Massachusetts based start-up, Luminoso, unveiled its list (see below) almost two weeks before voting for the list of nominees officially closes (January 24) – and more than a month before the awards takes place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood (February 26).



The firm generated the results by first pulling together over 84,000 reviews written by movie goers (not critics) which have been published on the IMDB website over the past four years (2013-2016) .


It then used its Natural Language Processing software, ‘Luminoso Analytics’, to analyze the text and identify correlations between topics discussed in the reviews and the eventual Oscar nominees and winners.


It found that certain terms, including “narrative,” “cinematography,”  “plot,” “visuals,” “stunning,” “experience,” and “masterpiece,” were more prevalent in reviews of moves that later went on to be nominated and/or win the Oscars. Reviews which were more “detailed and sincere”, were more likely to win Best Picture.





“Whether you love the Oscars ceremony, love to hate-watch it, or prefer to pretend it doesn’t exist, one thing most of us can agree on is how fun it is to try and predict the winners,” Luminoso said in a statement.  “We’re a competitive bunch here at Luminoso, particularly when it comes to shamelessly using data to win.


“So in advance of the Oscar nominations announcement on January 24th, we decided to use our natural language understanding software to predict which film will win Best Picture and win this year’s Oscar pool.”


Oscars contenders, ranked in order of likelihood to receive a nomination according to the Luminoso algorithm:

  1. “Jackie”

  2. “Moonlight”

  3. “La La Land”

  4. “Fences”

  5. “Sully”

  6. “Hell or High Water”

  7. “Silence”

  8. “Snowden”

  9. “Hacksaw Ridge”

  10. “Jungle Book”

  11. “Arrival”

  12. “Nocturnal Animals”

  13. “Manchester by the Sea”


Using this information, the firm then developed an algorithm that could accurately predict the Best Picture winner of past Academy Award ceremonies – and then applying it to moves released in 2016.


Luminoso predicts Jackie, a film that follows the assassination of President John F Kennedy starring Natalie Portman will scoop Best Picture at this years ceremony.


It added that should the results differ to that of its predictions, it will be down to the quality of the eventual winners marketing efforts and not the quality of the actual film.


“Of course, our combined prediction methodology, while extremely scientific, cannot completely account for the whims of marketing efforts and the impact on voting,” said Luminoso in a statement. “ If Jackie does not win Best Picture, that will indicate that the winner’s marketing efforts outperformed the film’s actual virtues and may not have won on its own merit.


“Still, we’re pencilling “Jackie” into the slot for Best Picture in this year’s Oscars pool.”