Oscars 2023: This Mathematician is incredibly good at predicting winners

Last year, Ben Zauzmer accurately predicted 19 out of 20 categories.

ByAlicia Vitarelli WPVI logo
Sunday, March 12, 2023
This mathematician is incredibly good at predicting Oscar winners
Crunching the numbers for Oscar Sunday is now an actual job for an Upper Dublin, Pa. mathematician. Last year, Ben Zauzmer accurately predicted 19 out of 20 categories.

UPPER DUBLIN, Pennsylvania -- No one other than the Academy judges truly knows the names inside the envelopes.

But there's one Pennsylvania mathematician who is incredibly good at predicting the winners.

Ben Zauzmer, of Upper Dublin, Pa., is a baseball statistician and assistant general manager for the New York Mets.

He's also a major movie buff.

Crunching the numbers for Oscar Sunday is now an actual job for him, but Zauzmer says he got into it mostly for the mathematical thrill.

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"I think there are perhaps even more close races than a typical year," Zauzmer explains of this year's Oscars. "In particular, the acting races are thrillingly close. There isn't really a single one of them where you can say: 'It's in the bag.'"

For Best Actor, Zauzmer says his numbers favor Austin Butler, "but barely" over Brendan Fraser.

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"The model also likes Cate Blanchett for Best Actress," he says, "but Michelle Yeoh is very much in contention."

Rounding out the list: "It's Ke Huy Quan for Supporting Actor and Angela Bassett for Supporting Actress. But in that race, you've got both Jamie Lee Curtis and Kerry Condon and they are very strong."

In 2019, he wrote a book called Oscarmetrics. Now, Zauzmer is tasked with making the official picks for publications like the Hollywood Reporter.

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Best Picture, he says, proved to be a much easier equation this year.

"The model says for Best Picture and for Best Director that 'Everything Everywhere All at Once' is the front runner," Zauzmer says.

For Animated Feature Film, Zauzmer says 'Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio' looks like a lock.

"That one is actually perhaps the easiest category of the year," he says. "It's not always true, it just happens to be true this year. That seems to be the clear front runner."

Zauzmer says this is not personal - it's pure math, and sometimes the numbers are dead on. Last year, his Oscarmetrics accurately predicted 19 out of 20 categories.

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Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP, File

"Ninety-five percent of the favorites won their awards, which was shockingly good for the model," he says.

This year, he says, is proving to be a stickier numbers game.

"There are a lot of reasons to believe this could be an Oscar night with a lot of twists and turns," Zauzmer says.

Mark your calendar: March 12 is Oscar Sunday. The 2023 Oscars air live at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC. After the last award is handed out, stay with "On The Red Carpet" for continuing coverage. Be sure to follow @OnTheRedCarpet on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok for all your Oscar news and information. Click here to download our CTV apps to watch "On The Red Carpet" wherever you stream.