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Predicting the Oscars (again)

It’s that time of the year again! The time to spend arguably more hours than anyone should on trying to guess who is going to win the VFX Oscar. First of all, a small warning. If you came here looking for solid rock statements, and I cannot understate this: you will be disappointed (hopefully you’ll understand why!)

This year we’ve seen some very solid VFX work on a multitude of features. From the battles of Dunkirk to the worlds of Valerian, going through the gore of Alien and (another!?!) Transformers bayhem.

But before we unveil the results of this year’s prediction, a quick look at how it was made!

A tiny bit of help from Google

This year things were done slightly differently. I was extremely fortunate to work with my friend and colleague Anton, who happens to have a computer science degree specialized in Artificial Intelligence. Thank you so much for your implication!

Google’s Tensorflow was used to create a neural network (you might now Google’s AI research from the deep dream images). The network was trained with plenty of data from previous years. To test if it was working for real, we tried to guess previous years and see how many we could get right.

After a few days of training, it could predict 90% of the previous years. It couldn’t predict, for instance, Ex Machina’s Oscar in 2015.

accuracy using a neural network to guess the result

Google’s Deep Dream. Fueling nightmares since 2015.

This 5 movies are competing for the VFX Oscar.

But who will win the golden statue?

And the 2018 winner is…

La La Land!

just kidding!

I know this might sound like an excuse, but there is a pretty close tie between Blade Runner and Planet of the Apes. The neural network gives a slight margin to Planet of the Apes but it is extremely easy to tweak the inputs slightly and give a wide margin to Blade Runner.

Since it looks like we need a tiebreaker, let’s look at what we learned last year: the movie with more nominations (almost) always win. Blade Runner 2049 has 5 nominations.

Sorry, Andy.

What it is for sure is that we won’t be seeing any giant apes, galactic heroes or porgs.

chance of War for the Planet of the Apes winning an Oscar (but it probably won't).

No, but seriously, it’s going to be La La Land.

 “Mere data makes a man. A and C and T and G. The alphabet of you. All from four symbols. I am only two: 1 and 0.”

Jai. Blade Runner: 2049