Oscars 2014 By The Numbers: 'Her' Won't Win, But 'Philomena' Might

Best Pictures nominees get some serious math thrown at them.

Now that the 2014 Oscar Nominations are finally announced, it's time to turn our attention to the next matter at hand: who's gonna win? To find out, we used a little thing called "mathematics;" and though we're not ready to declare an outright winner for the Best Picture, we do have some handy figures to help discover which nominee has the best chance to take home the gold... And which has the worst:

"American Hustle"

Two out of the three times a movie with the word "American" in the title has been nominated for Best Picture, that movie has won the award. "An American in Paris" and "American Beauty" both won, but "American Graffiti" lost to "The Sting."

"Captain Phillips"

Though 12 movies set primarily on a boat have been nominated for Best Picture since 1927, only two have ever taken home the award: "Titanic;" and "Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)."

Additionally, before you think Tom Hanks is this movie's good luck charm, five movies with Hanks in the lead have been nominated for Best Picture, but he hasn't brought home the award since he starred in "Forrest Gump" back in 1994.

"Dallas Buyers Club"

Despite "AIDS Drama" often being bandied around as a sure-fire Oscar winner, only "Forrest Gump" has ever dealt with the disease and won Best Picture.

No Matthew McConaughey movie has ever won Best Picture; though to be fair, no Matthew McConaughey movie has ever been nominated, and now he's in two! Take that, "Fool's Gold."


If "Gravity" does win Best Picture, it would be with the second smallest cast in the history of the Academy Awards, and the smallest on-screen cast. There are only two actors credited on-screen (George Clooney and Sandra Bullock), and five voices. "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" is the smallest overall cast to be nominated for an Oscar ever, with four main cast members and two uncredited cameos.


No science fiction film has ever won Best Picture.

No movie with less than four letters in the title has ever won Best Picture.

Good luck, "Her."


Before "The Artist" won in 2012, you'd have to go back to "The Apartment" in 1960 to find a Best Picture winner filmed in black and white, which is about when the industry had fully made the switch over to color film.


23.5% of all Best Picture winners have included the name of the main character in the title of the movie, while 16% were just the character's name with no other words or characters.

"12 Years a Slave"

There have been only five movies in Oscars history that have won with a non-white lead: "Slumdog Millionaire"; "Driving Miss Daisy"; "The Last Emperor"; "Gandhi"; and "In The Heat Of The Night." Of those, none have ever had a solo lead of African descent.

There have been only four movies in Oscars history that have won Best Picture with a number in the title: "Million Dollar Baby"; "The Godfather Part II"; "Around The World In 80 Days"; and "It Happened One Night."

"The Wolf of Wall Street"

17% of all nominees with animals mentioned in their titles go on to win Best Picture.

Conclusions: "Her" has virtually no chance to win Best Picture, while "Philomena" is in shockingly good position to take the award. "American Hustle" also looks like it has good chances, though the data set is much smaller than we'd like. Stay tuned.

The 86th Academy Awards will be broadcast on March 2.