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February 21, 2015

Race for Best Picture is historically tight

Oscars 2015 Best Picture
02.21.15_Birdman User @AJ_Carlisle /Twitter

'Birdman' and 'Boyhood' are separated by less than a point in FiveThirtyEight's model for Best Picture

With coverage of the 87th Academy Awards set to begin Sunday night at 7 p.m., the frontrunner for Best Picture projects to be a narrow battle between 'Birdman' and 'Boyhood'. 

Just how close is it? FiveThirtyEight developed a model based on a 25-year accuracy rate for several award shows leading up to the Oscars that serve as possible predictors. 


The success of the model is about 63 percent in cases when the difference between the winner and runner-up was less than 1 polling point. The projected difference between this year's perceived leaders falls just outside the top five closest races of the past 25 years. 


Occasionally, there have been cases when neither of the top two frontrunners won Best Picture. 'Million Dollar Baby' (2004) and 'Braveheart' (1995) both pulled off upsets that defied the models, providing a reminder that the quirks and opinions of voting Academy members can sometimes be enough to throw the race. 

Read the full story here.