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Data Desk

How often do film critics predict Oscar winners?

The nominations for the 87th Academy Awards were announced this morning, but those looking to get a jump on the inevitable winners might look at what film critics groups have picked. And, if they’re looking for the best indicator of what film might win best picture of the year, their best bet would be to look at the Boston Society of Film Critics.

That group has had more success picking the Academy Award winner for best picture than other major critics guilds in the past 10 years. Their winner this year? “Boyhood.”

Out of seven critics associations, the Boston Society of Film Critics has lined up with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ selection for best picture most often. Their picks have coincided with those of the Academy Awards six times over the past 10 years.


Films picked as best picture by both the Boston Society of Film Critics and the Academy are “12 Years a Slave,” “Argo,” “The Artist,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “No Country For Old Men,” and “The Departed.”

In contrast, the New York Film Critics Circle’s picks for best picture only matched the Oscars three times over 10 years. The Los Angeles Film Critics Assocation only lined up with the Academy Awards once.

Best Picture
How many times in past 10 years the city critics' picks have aligned with Academy Award picks
Hollywood Foreign Press Association (Golden Globes)
Boston Society of Film Critics
New York Film Critics Circle
Los Angeles Film Critics Association
Chicago Film Critics Association
Washington DC Area Film Critics
Austin Film Critics Association
DATA: Sources
Globe Staff

The Boston Society of Film Critics is less predictive at other award categories. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has the best track record when it comes to lining up with the Academy’s pick for acting, with the exception of the Washington, D.C., Area Film Critics for Best Supporting Actress.

The New York Film Critics Circle has been the most predictive at honors for best director. This year, they chose Richard Linklater, the director of “Boyhood.”

Andrew Ba Tran can be reached at andrew.tran@globe.com or followed on Twitter at @abtran.