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Forecasting the Oscars with Revenue Science

By , Sr. Content Strategist

And the Oscar goes to…revenue science for powering predictive analytics and profitable decisions

As a lifelong movie geek, I look forward to the Academy Awards each year with eager anticipation. While some of the most deserving films rarely get enough Oscar cred, there’s no denying the star-studded grandeur, historical significance, and cinematic lovefest of Hollywood’s biggest night.

And, as an amateur technology enthusiast working for a cutting-edge data-analytics software company, I got to thinking: could I somehow leverage IDeaS’ revenue science solutions to forecast Sunday night’s results?

If you’ve ever been to an Oscar party, you know all the glory goes to he or she who accurately predicts the most winners—and I sure love being right. Unfortunately, I couldn’t persuade any of the brilliant developers and data scientists at IDeaS to indulge my repeated requests to recalibrate our systems for award-show forecasting. Apparently they’re “busy.”

Not to be deterred, I still have revenue science on my side. Pioneered by IDeaS’ founders and refined over decades of trailblazing leadership, revenue science infuses sophisticated mathematics with industry expertise to transform data into accurate, automated, and actionable revenue-enhancing decisions.

Now, you may be wondering, can I really apply this approach, designed to grow revenue, to my purposes? Well…no, not exactly. But, if I stay true to the principles of revenue science, I may at least improve my chances.

Lights, Camera, Revenue Science

The first key ingredient of revenue science is math. I’m talking PhD-level, blackboard-filling algorithms of brainy math, perfected over years of application and proven results. Lucky for me, the data I’m dealing with is far less numerical. I’m trying to arrive at a favorable winner, not an ideal rate. Instead of complex equations, I will make my own rudimentary decision tree webs to help me visually break down each award category and run the nominees through a range of scenario-based analysis. Easy peasy.

Aside from mathematical precision, revenue science also depends on a deep comprehension of the business model you’re applying it to. In the case of IDeaS, our many hospitality and travel vets imbue our systems with an immensity of industry knowledge and experience, from our intuitive, purpose-built features to our customized learning environment.

When it comes to predicting the Oscars, some film industry proficiency and an understanding of the Academy voting process can’t hurt. My years of trivial movie nerdom will come in handy, but alas, I’m no Hollywood insider—although I was once an extra in a Coen brothers movie. Does that count for something?

Finally, we arrive at decision empowerment. No gut feelings allowed. IDeaS is in the business of decisions, not recommendations. All the data is carefully analyzed and interpreted via automated machine learning and AI. All the user has to do is trust the results.

The data lake I’m diving into is fed by a wide range of sources: critics ratings, previous award show results, apparent Academy biases, box office performance, release date, film festival buzz, social media trending, demographics of voters, and on and on. And there’s a complicated relationship between all these factors to be weighed against each other and strategically ranked. Phew!

An intelligent computer program to process all this sure would have been nice, but I’ll have to make my predictions the old-fashioned way, using the wonderful principles or revenue science without the incredible software that really brings it to life. Hence, I declare any of these I get right equals bragging rights and any I miss is a clear sign that revenue science, while powerful in its own right, is unstoppable when integrated with advanced technology.

Cut to the Chase

From intimate foreign affairs to crowd-pleasing spectacles and magical realism to embellished true tales, here are the probable outcomes I’ve arrived at (click here for a full list of nominees):

  • Best Picture: Roma
  • Lead Actor: Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Lead Actress: Glenn Close, The Wife
  • Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Green Book
  • Supporting Actress: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
  • Animated Feature: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • Animated Short: Bao
  • Adapted Screenplay: BlacKkKlansman
  • Original Screenplay: The Favourite
  • Cinematography: Roma
  • Documentary Feature: RBG
  • Documentary Short: Period. End of Sentence.
  • Live Action Short: Marguerite
  • Foreign Film: Roma
  • Editing: Vice
  • Sound Editing: A Quiet Place
  • Sound Mixing: Bohemian Rhapsody
  • Production Design: The Favourite
  • Original Score: If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Original Song: “Shallow,” A Star Is Born
  • Makeup & Hair: Vice
  • Costume Design: Black Panther
  • Visual Effects: Avengers: Infinity War

So, there you have it. Not just best-guess predictions, but probable outcomes forecasted using (the loosely applied principles of) revenue science. The only other disadvantage is my lack of ability to make by-the-minute adjustments. With IDeaS’ systems, users can incorporate real-time factors like market-demand insights and alter their pricing decisions as needed.

But everyone knows you can’t change your Oscar answers once the show begins. Say for instance A Star Is Born starts sweeping up every statuette in sight and Academy voters go gaga for Gaga. Its best picture chances will go up significantly, but my forecast will be locked here, forever etched on the Internet, in all apparent splendor or utter defeat.

Chad Andycha
Sr. Content Strategist

As a writer in the tech industry, Chad Andycha has forged a career combining his love of storytelling with his endless curiosity about our ever-changing existence and technology-enhanced lives. He currently helps manage IDeaS’ global content strategy, including thought leadership, public relations, and brand development. When he’s not arranging words on pages, he may be found exploring the woods and waters of Minnesota with his wife and daughters or biking around the Twin Cities in search of the perfect sandwich.

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