Research & Insights

By Patrick Philips, February 26, 2011

Oscar Fever

With the most glamorous award ceremony of the year just around the corner, we asked 500 people from across the United States to help predict who the big winners are going to be. Below are their predictions, sorted in descending order of agreement.


Based on these early results, Pixar looks like a lock for yet another Best Animated Picture award and Natalie Portman had better start polishing her acceptance speech.

Anyone can make anonymous predictions, so we made things interesting by rewarding workers for answering correctly. We structured the job such that everyone receives 5 cents for completing the survey, plus an additional 2 cents for each correct answer.

To spice things up even more, we asked workers to guess how many predictions they would answer correctly (their “Magic Number,” with a minimum of 5), with the stipulation that we will pay bonuses only to those workers who answer at least their Magic Number of predictions correctly.

As you can see below, while quite a few workers played it safe by selecting the minimum number of correct responses (“5”), the most frequent choice was a Magic Number of 10. Also, more than a few brave souls thought they would get every prediction correct.

But the big question, apart from whether Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) can edge out David Fincher (The Social Network) for Best Director, is whether any correlation exists between worker confidence and actual performance. When workers have a cash incentive to estimate their own accuracy correctly, do the self-labeled “experts” perform any better than the “novices” at predicting Oscar winners?

Make some popcorn, grab your Kleenex and stay tuned. After they’ve rolled up the red carpet, we’ll come back and see who did a better job of predicting the winners.