Penélope Cruz's Oscar victory may have been a great moment for Spain, but it was a terrible tragedy for America because it has forced statistician Nate Silver to break up with his greatest love: numbers.
Silver rose to prominence by forecasting the results of the last election year with eerie accuracy (he even had the amount of angry Bill Clinton finger wags down to the decimal point during the primaries!), yet his foray into Oscar prognosticating was torpedoed with the very first award given out, Best Supporting Actress. Not only did his misguided pick, Taraji P. Henson, lose to Cruz, but he also blew the Best Actor category, choosing Mickey Rourke over eventual winner Sean Penn.
How did Silver take the news? With liveblogged profanities ("7:47 PM. Penelope Cruz? F*ck. I demand a recount") and a painful Ram Jam onto an already defeated Rourke ("Perhaps we [should have] had some way to quantify someone's jackassedness: Days spent at the Betty Ford Center?"). Then, saddest of all, Silver disowned his model for predictions today in a regretful Oscar postmortem which reads like Mom (numbers-based prognosticating) and Dad (Silver) have decided to see other people. Nate Silver will soon be moving into a pre-furnished apartment by himself, and it is all the fault of a Latina spitfire we have taught to speak English. For shame, Hollywood.
- Some Post-Oscar Thoughts on Forecasting [FiveThirtyEight]