When it comes to Best Picture, watch for a slap in the face

nate-silver-abc-grab.jpgABC analyst Nate Silver is better known for his politics and baseball stat work than his Oscar predictions, but he did share some interesting enough observations about the Academy Awards this morning on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos." His FiveThirtyEight team analyzed the most common elements of Best Picture nominees through the years. One is a slap in the face — "around 31% of best picture winners involve a scene where somebody is slapped in the face." Here are five other takeaways in Silver's estimation with FiveThirtyEight editor Walter Shirley:

1. It’s All About Adaptation

Silver and Hickey calculated that nearly 40% of best picture nominees originate from books, while about 18% originate from plays.

2. Oscar Hearts NYC

As seen in the DeNiro classic and best picture nominee, “Taxi Driver,” the Big Apple is an
Oscars favorite, with about 20% of nominees taking place there. Next in popularity are London and Paris, along with Washington D.C. and Los Angeles just barely making the top five.

3. 1930s or Bust

The 1930s turned out to be the most common decade to have a film set.

“Since 1939, about one in seven best picture nominees have involved World War II in some way, shape, or form,” Hickey pointed out....

4. Family Matters

Nearly 36% of nominees include plots featuring a familial relationship between a husband and a wife. Other commonly used stories include father-and-son and mother-and-son relationships. Silver and Hickey also found that relations between women don’t fare as well during Oscars season.

5. Is There a Doctor in the House?

Doctors are the most commonly portrayed profession in best picture nominees. Following those in medicine are those in the entertainment industry: singers and dancers.

No prediction! But when asked by the ABC reporter about "12 Years a Slave," Silver said, “A husband-and-wife relationship is a core element to the plot. There is loss. There is death. There is folks overcoming adversity. So it really does kind of have a very signature Oscar appeal package.”

ABC Entertainment News | ABC Business News

More by Kevin Roderick:
LA Observed Notes: 60 Minutes, selling the Coliseum and more
Gil Cedillo, Nick Melvoin win LA runoffs*
LA Observed Notes: Baca goes down, LAX shuffle, media moves
LA Observed Notes: Big TV news, media moves, obits and more
LA Observed Notes: Writers on the verge, Fox, the riots and more
Recent Hollywood stories on LA Observed:
Costume designer Mary Zophres moves on from 'La La Land'
Robert Osborne, 84, host on Turner Classic Movies
Oscars end on a surprise plot twist*
Westwood's Regent theatre to close, become restaurants
Richard Schickel, 84, film critic, director and author
Media notes: Nikki Finke going to Harvard, local Ellies and more
Janice Min leaving THR, Matthew Belloni upped
Tyrus Wong, legendary Disney artist, was 106


LA Observed on Twitter