Statistics guru Nate Silver predicted the presidential election with startling accuracy. Can the same methods be used to predict the Oscar race? "Twice before, in 2009 and 2011, I sought to predict the Academy Award winners in six major categories based on a mix of statistical factors. My track record? Nine correct picks in 12 tries, for a 75 percent success rate. Not bad, but also not good enough to suggest that there is any magic formula for this. So this year, I have sought to simplify the method, making the link to the FiveThirtyEight election forecasts more explicit. This approach won’t be foolproof either, but it should make the philosophy behind the method more apparent. The Oscars, in which the voting franchise is limited to the 6,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, are not exactly a democratic process. But they provide for plenty of parallels to political campaigns." New York Times
Live Tweeting has become a central aspect of the Oscars: "The second-screen experience is never better than on Oscar night, when a separate (and some might say superior) entertainment experience plays out on social media. The running commentary, in which comedians and others parody the glamorous stars and their sometimes laughable speeches, has become as central to the Academy Awards as the red carpet." Associated Press
Variety considers the lesser known stars competing against A-listers at this weekend's Spirit Awards, including Male Lead nominee Thure Lindhardt ("Keep the Lights On") and Female Lead nominee Emayatzy Corinealdi ("Middle of Nowhere").
Advertising time during the Oscars is in high demand, and companies are increasingly treating the event like the Super Bowl. New York Times
The BRIT Awards, the British equivalent of the Grammys, gets mixed reviews for its 2013 telecast. Entertainmentwise
The Oscars will feature sets by Tony-winner Derek McLane. Associated Press