Awards Tracking Section Frequently Asked Questions
Q: So what are these power rankings, anyway?
A: Each major category has a list of what we feel are the current top contenders for the Oscar in what we consider the predictable categories, ranked by order of chance.
Q: How did you come up with these rankings?
A: These lists are compiled by comparing the this year's contenders to Oscar history, factoring in the buzz surrounding them, their box office credentials and, of course, their overall quality. The end-of-year awards, when they start to roll in, will also play a large factor. Everyone's got his/her own biases regarding what's Oscar-worthy and what's not but with multiple people on the input side, this should keep objectivity at a
Q: How often will the rankings be updated?
A: Every other week. The categories will be rotated on the front page through the week and past rankings will be viewable in the archive.
Q: Why isn't (upcoming film/thespian/director/writer here) listed? They're a sure thing to win some awards!
A: It might very well be in the mix. There are five nominees in most major categories, Best Animated Feature excluded. Our power rankings evaluate the top ten as we see them at the time. Let's just presume your candidate is currently eleventh and leave it at that.
Q: What's does C/R stand for?
A: That stands for Candidacy Rating, which is our rough estimate of the percentage chance of a particular candidate getting a nomination, right now. This lets us show the depth of the fields. This isn't golf, so a higher number is obviously better.
Q: How can you list (insert film/thespian/director/writer here)? There's no way they'll win!
A: Check the contender's Candidacy Rating. It's possible we don't think too highly of its chances either. However, the purpose of the rankings is to list all the potential contenders. Films and performances have come up through the ranks in the past. Just last year, Juno was a film that had a questionable chance until December or so. It's also possible we just see something in the film or performance that you don't.
Q: What awards organizations are included in the awards database?
A: Going back to 1992 (when possible), we have included the awards given out by the Boston Film Critics Society, the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Chicago Film Critics Society, the Directors Guild of America, the Golden Globes, the Los Angeles Film Critics Society, the National Society of Film Critics, the Online Film Critics Association, the Screen Actors Guild, the Toronto Film Critics Society, the Writers Guild of America and, of course, the Academy Awards themselves. Eventually we may add additional years for these awards, but for the moment we've chosen to stick to the last fifteen years or so. This is, after all, the most relevant time frame for establishing which awards have a proven track record for forecasting Oscar success.
Q: Why did you choose the awards you did for the database?
A: We've chosen a list of award ceremonies that offer a mix of influence, relevance, available data and at least a few years of history. For instance, the AFI Awards, while televised and developing a prestige, only have one year of data and it's difficult to use them as a barometer. Certain critics' organizations, like Kansas City and Las Vegas, just don't have the exposure as ones like New York or Los Angeles, even though we may personally like and respect them.
Q: What constitutes a runner-up?
A: Any film, performance or other such nominee that was specifically mentioned by the awarding committee but did not win. Some committees specifically designate runners-up; some just name a list of five nominees and pick a winner. We don't really distinguish between the two situations, since our purpose is to examine how recognition from the various committees predicts and influences the Oscar race.