The Review/Podcast/

TIFF LONG TAKE Ep. 1: How to Hack Your Oscar Pool

FiveThirtyEight's Walt Hickey will use his numbers to destroy your friends and coworkers

Illustration by Selman Hoşgör for FiveThirtyEight

Feb 24, 2017 @ 8:30am

In the inaugural episode of TIFF Long Take, our hosts Rob and Geoff teach you how to hack your Oscar pool by talking to Walt Hickey, data journalist and Chief Culture Writer for FiveThirtyEight.

Walt explains how data journalism has expanded into the world of film and culture (2:35), breaks down which other award shows to watch if you want to make smart picks on your Oscar ballot (3:55), discusses the shadowy cabal that is the Hollywood Foreign Press (6:45), shares how the Academy's voting approach was stolen from Australian democracy (9:48), narrates the journey of La La Land from the "ghetto of music or comedy" to Best Picture contender (10:48), shoots down the notion that data journalism is affecting Oscar voting (12:49), discusses the importance of advertising campaigns to the Oscar race (14:08), shares his category most likely to give us an upset (17:00), talks about his (very surprising) go-to spot for odds on smaller categories (19:34), considers the relationship between cultural and box office consensus and the Oscars (21:50), how the increased number of Best Picture nominees has changed the game (24:20), and finally, gives his hot tips for Oscar ballot victory (27:15).

Want more of Walt's insights? Head over to FiveThirtyEight for Best Picture speculation, a beautiful video on who picks the Oscar winners, and the "engineering" that favours La La Land.