And the winner is...

Using AI to predict best picture, best director, and more at the 2020 Oscars

Struggling to fill out your Oscar ballot? Unanimous AI has a pretty good track record at the Academy Awards.

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The Oscars always come with a few surprises (remember Green Book?) and 2020 will likely be no different. For best picture, 1917 feels like the safe bet, but Parasite is a dark horse and Joker could steal the show. Other categories like best director, best actor, and best actress are just as competitive, with Hollywood icons and rising stars competing for praise and a shiny gold statue to put on their shelves at home.

So if you're filling out an Oscar ballot for the 2020 Academy Awards, you might be feeling a little stumped. Luckily, Unanimous AI is here with its annual Oscar predictions to help you win your office Oscar pool.

Unanimous AI, which also does sports predictions (it nailed the Super Bowl last weekend), uses a mix of human intuition and algorithms to create what the company called “Swarm A.I.” In practice, this means several dozen movie fans logging in simultaneously to make their predictions. As those predictions come in, a digital puck gets dragged between the various options in each category, giving participants the chance to rethink their picks based on group consensus. The result is a hivemind, similar to how bees work together to pick a location for a new home.

Here's how Swarm AI predicted the winner of Best Director at the 2020 Oscars.

Unanimous AI

And here's another image showing the overall pull of each nominated movie in that category. (Sorry, Scorcese fans.)

Unanimous AI

Before you rush to redo your ballot, it's worth noting that while Swarm AI got at least a few things wrong at last year's Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Lead Actress. That said, the company did remarkably well in 2018, and Unanimous AI CEO and Founder Dr. Louis Rosenberg tells Inverse he took additional steps this year to improve the results.

"This year, we recruited multiple swarms of people over a period of two weeks and combined their insight into a 'swarm of swarms' that functions as a super-intelligent hive mind," Rosenberg says via email. "We have seen this to be extremely effective in making accurate predictions in sporting events and financial markets. This is the first time we've applied this multi-swarm process to the Oscars."

With that in mind, here are Unanimous AI's Oscar 2020 predictions, broken down by category with the chosen winner in bold. (And before you ask, yes, some categories are missing. Unanimous AI omits several awards that it's participants might be less familiar with, including editing, shorts, and makeup.)

Best Picture

  • Ford v Ferrari (Disney/Fox)
  • The Irishman (Netflix)
  • Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight)
  • Joker (Warner Bros.)
  • Little Women (Sony)
  • Marriage Story (Netflix)
  • 1917 (Universal)
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony)
  • Parasite (Neon)

Best Director

  • Martin Scorsese (The Irishman)
  • Todd Phillips (Joker)
  • Sam Mendes (1917)
  • Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
  • Bong Joon Ho (Parasite)

Best Actor

  • Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
  • Adam Driver (Marriage Story)
  • Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
  • Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes)

Best Actress

  • Cynthia Erivo (Harriet)
  • Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story)
  • Saoirse Ronan (Little Women)
  • Charlize Theron (Bombshell)
  • Renee Zellweger (Judy)

Supporting Actor

  • Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)
  • Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes)
  • Al Pacino (The Irishman)
  • Joe Pesci (The Irishman)
  • Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)

Supporting Actress

  • Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell)
  • Laura Dern (Marriage Story)
  • Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit)
  • Florence Pugh (Little Women)
  • Margot Robbie (Bombshell)

Adapted Screenplay

  • Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit)
  • Steve Zaillian (The Irishman)
  • Anthony McCarten (The Two Popes)
  • Greta Gerwig (Little Women)
  • Todd Phillips and Scott Silver (Joker)

Best Original Screenplay

  • Rian Johnson (Knives Out)
  • Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story)
  • Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns (1917)
  • Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
  • Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won (Parasite)

Animated Feature

  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
  • I Lost My Body
  • Klaus
  • Missing Link
  • Toy Story 4

International Feature Film

  • Corpus Christi
  • Honeyland
  • Les Miserables
  • Pain and Glory
  • Parasite

Best Documentary

  • American Factory
  • The Cave
  • Edge of Democracy
  • For Sama
  • Honeyland

Best Cinematography

  • The Irishman
  • Joker
  • The Lighthouse
  • 1917
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Costume Design

  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Joker
  • Little Women
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Original Song

  • I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” Toy Story 4
  • “I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” Rocketman
  • “I’m Standing With You,” Breakthrough
  • “Into the Unknown,” Frozen 2
  • “Stand Up,” Harriet

Production Design

  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • 1917
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Parasite

Visual Effects

  • Avengers: Endgame
  • The Irishman
  • The Lion King
  • 1917
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

The Academy Awards air Sunday, February 9 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

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